Have you used token rewards?

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    Neil Martin

    Have you used token rewards? Were they effective? Would you use them again?


    I have used token rewards during basketball coaching sessions for 10-12 year olds. These rewards generally included choosing two players at the end of the session to be the coach for the last five minutes. They would have the chance to ask their peers what they learned during the session and give them high fives for good answers. I found that this was very effective for those that were chosen and the rest of the class.

    Peter Terry

    Nice example of using token rewards with children. I’d like to hear from others who are taking the course!


    I have used token rewards during tennis coaching sessions for 10-14 year olds.
    The activity in court is called “king of court”. The players must complete four balls. 2 block background balls, 1 volley and smash one.
    Hitting all he had seen the king of the court.
    At the end of class, you gain an isotonic. I use this strategy once a month.


    I have used token rewards with my athletes. Usually, when i see them making good effort in their training, i make them play games afterwards but then I dont spoil them on playing games every after practice. I also used food as a token reward once but i dont use them always. I want them to be motivated by the means of token rewards but using it once in a while might be nice.and besides it makes them happy.


    I have used token rewards with my athletes. Some time ago I was coaching children under 14 in basketball. Every day chose a boy who wore an armband as team captain. Everyone should follow the captain’s guidelines for matters related to discipline and compliance with the training tasks. I did not get indications of improvement in performance, but the fact that caught my attention was that at the base teams, mine was the best in frequency of training.

    Imman khash

    i’m planning on hosting a frisbee competition and planning on using the token reward because it is very effective on feeling satisfy of joining the competition which i felt for the last 5 games. Even though we did not win but we felt satisfied and enjoy the whole times and become a sweet memory of it. Token reward has the ability to hide the unworthy feelings of paying the fees due to the unconfident of winning the competition.

    George Morrison

    I have used token rewards when coaching an under 5 soccer team in Sydney. It worked well with the kids but the parents didn’t like it much.


    I used token reward in some of my sports psychology education classes with junior athletes. Since they were mostly under 12 years, I wanted the class to be fun and interactive. So I used the most simple reward form, where athletes who answered my questions got a present.

    There were also instances where I conducted group activities with older athletes and they had to compete against themselves. The winning group got some rewards.

    From these experience, I found that token reward was effective with junior athletes but not so much with the older ones. Older athletes preferred appreciative comments and criticism compared to tangible rewards.

    I think I will practice token reward in future if I feel the class is getting bored, but not as frequent because I want the athletes to attend the class or do the activities because they want to, and not because of external reward.

    Aline Olivio

    I used token reward with children. They received points for perform the expected actions and then they chose toys and others materials correspondent to total number conquested.

    I also used token reward with my judo athletes. At the end of the year, those who obtain important results are honored at the event and receive a trophy.


    I used token reward with children,effect is very good.

    Ong Chuan Leong

    While I have not actually coached athletes before, I was the team lead for the sports publications project during the recently concluded 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and had 2 co-workers supporting me (but not directly reporting to me). So in essence, I was the ‘coach’ and they were the ‘athletes’. The collaboration was for a period of 15 months.

    Examples of token rewards I have implemented were:

    1. Periodic acknowledgment and praise for their efforts and achievements. This is particularly important as since my project goals weren’t about winning competitions, I paid close attention to their work and acknowledge their efforts and any minor achievements that came along the way, to help keep them motivated.

    2. Souvenirs and meals – these complement my verbal acknowledgment and praises, so that my ‘athletes’ can have something physical/tangible to take away, as an affirmation and reminder of their efforts and achievements.

    However, I feel that it is also important not to give your ‘athletes’ an overdose of token awards as they may lose their motivational powers or lead to a sense of complacency among your ‘athletes’.

    Jason von Stietz

    During the beginning of some of my workshops, I have given Cliff Bars to athletes as a reward for participating. Its a good way to break the ice and get people talking. Especially if the workshop is right after they train and they are hungry.

    I haven’t given any other token reward, but I like the idea of naming an “Athlete of the Week.” I think it would motivate athletes if their picture were taken and posted in the locker room or somewhere everyone could see. It might work well if the Athlete of the Week were nominated by the team rather than chosen by the coach or consultant.

    Leonard K

    I have used token reward in my coaching sessions usually for boys from 13-16 soccer players. I get them to do drills and usually they compete among themselves with instructions given and it works well when they really need a drink. I reward them with Isotonic drinks. I’ve get feedbacks from parents telling me their sons are always looking forward to training days. I do get parents sponsoring drinks as well after i started the token reward.

    Lisa Rubin

    I have not specifically but have witnessed sports programs giving out rewards. For example, in American college football, there are special jersey traditions. At one institution, the defense is called “blackshirts” – top defensive players earned the black jersey to wear during practice on a weekly basis. At another institution, there was a jersey with a special number related to the state motto, and that went to one player each week (out of 105).

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