Have you used token rewards?

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    Sunday Dickson

    I normally use token reward in my coaching sessions for 10 & Under Tennis Category. Every session, the best performing Kid gets to take my Ipad home which contains a lot of educational Videos from the class room and Tennis Court. They look forward to completing on who get to keep it!


    I have not specifically but i think token rewards should be effective. I will use it in the future.

    Lin Chien Hsun

    I haven’t use the token rewards before, although i knew that’s a good way for child with ADHD. In the future, i will try to use it on my collegeate-athletes, I believe that a good way for them.

    Alexander Oshinsky

    I teach inner city elementary school kids to play soccer for DC Scores and DC United. Since it is a nonprofit after school program many parents sign their kids up even if their kids have no interest in playing which ends up causing issues with kids fighting and misbehaving since they do not want to be there. It got so bad a couple seasons ago that I started a “player of the week” award, where the most well behaved player every week would win a mini-soccer ball and the player at the end of the season that had won the most would win a larger prize. This way even if a player wins once they will be motivated to continue behaving and winning in the hopes of winning the larger prize. It ended up working extremely well and we were able to not only learn and focus during practice but we became competitive during games.

    Peter Terry

    Great example Oshinsa!

    Ayan Chatterjee

    Token rewards kind of threw me off. The previous section talks about intrinsic motivation and how that’s better than extrinsic, however the token rewards seems to me like we are using extrinsic rewards to foster intrinsic motivation. I’d rather use constructive feedback with an athlete as a reward and always follow the mantra: “i can always get better” accepting this fundamental idea and fostering self improvement might be a better idea according to me.


    With my 9/10 year olds, I used to pick out those who are successful in doing in the drill to be demonstrators – so they have a moment of pride there. I don’t usually get the same people, because there are the outstanding ones who would usually do better than the rest. This helps motivate the rest to want to do better.
    With my 11/12 year olds, many times when we do a drill or play a game, I’d tell them that they would get to leave training 7 minutes earlier than the rest if they “win”. This motivates them as groups to complete the task, or score more goals, in order to “win the challenge”.


    Never used in sport contexts before. In my opinion, it’s a great way to make transition between extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation. Some athletes may be mainly driven by extrinsic motivation. It’s difficult to suddenly switch them to be intrinsically motivated. However, if the token reward is used with feedback and reflection, the transition can be learned and achieved.


    If you use them with the right way, rewaring the effort and not only the result, then rewards are acceptable. That minimize the error to decrease the intrinsic motivation of the individual.


    I’ve used token rewards with students and athletes that I’ve coached. I believe a lot of it was used for motivation, but I found that this was not always the outcome. Only a certain number of athletes would be motivated – most likely those who knew that they could achieve the outcome. When token rewards were used given out without the students awareness that they were working for something it would create an atmosphere of constant competition because they never knew when they’d be rewarded. In my personal, professional opinion these should be used very carefully and diligently as well as only at a certain age of maturity.

    Chia Stella Xinying

    I have not used token of rewards with my teams, but I like others’ suggestion, will include in future.

    But I did allow my players to have their own fun time etc playing another sport rather than the sport we are training for. They do get all excited and happy.

    I believe this is a short term kind of motivation, will use it to create more fun during training in order to hit a certain goal.


    I’ll use token reward during basic training. Let the uninteresting drill become more fun. But this way must be careful. If athlete used to satisfy with the external reward, it could decrease their internal motivation .


    Human have to be motivated. Carrots and stick is commonly use to help performance of the students.


    Thinking back to coaching tennis, I am unsure as to whether I used token rewards directly. Some of the games in tennis I played with kids (7-11 years old) involved the others being in a “jail” due to being unsuccessful at something, and one of them having to complete a particular task (e.g. hit 3 out of 3 balls over the net) to rescue the others. The joy kids had when rescuing their peers was something much more powerful than any reward I have seen. It is something intangible, yet real. Meaningless to life, yet meaningful to them.

    On the other hand, before I knew what extrinsic and intrinsic rewards were, I thought it was a good idea to reward the winners of a game with a chocolate bar (yes I know, not the best diet for tennis, but kids looooove this). After doing this a few times, I noticed that the kids would always ask “If I do this, do I get a chocolate bar?” The rewards seemed to shift their intrinsic motivation to extrinsic, and this is not a good thing for the wll-being of the kids. Use rewards wisely…

    Peter Terry

    Great examples Zoran. The potential negative effect of extrinsic reward on intrinsic motivation has been well documented in the literature.

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