If you’re like me, you’ve had the experience of searching online across shopping sites for something unique to gift someone (or yourself) and been disappointed.
A search for “best football coach gift,” for example, turns up a whole bunch of lists with the aim of being helpful.
The problem is, they’re anything but. These lists are mostly cliched, and some are downright wacky.
So, let’s have some fun, reverse the formula, and create a best-of list of the Worst Football Coach Gifts.
Table of Contents
What do Football Coaches Actually Want?
List of Worst Football Coach Gifts
The Best Alternative to Bad Coach Gifts
First: What Football Coach Gifts Do They Actually Want?
First, a serious note. We’ve conducted research at my company speaking to coaches from sports across the board and they give consistent feedback on the best and worst forms of appreciation they have received.
The truly worst appreciation, according to these coaches?
“Nothing” – not a note, not a“thank you”, no appreciation at all. Coaches (and most are volunteers, by the way) pour their love of the game and passion for teaching into our youth. They deserve to know they are appreciated.
The next worst gift is the gift someone wants to give, but the recipient doesn’t want to receive. Feedback, anyone? Get it… the gift of feedback. 😂
Want to skip straight to hearing about the best football coach gift – ever? Read our guide.
As you read this, ask yourself – Why is there so much tacky cheap stuff in the world?? Because people buy it. And I admit, I have made purchases that I just shouldn’t have.
So, in the spirit of being helpful and fun, below is a curated list of the worst, most terrible football coach gifts I can find on the web and an explanation why. Please know this: no coach will ever make fun of an appreciation gift (and why would they?), this is more of a collective making fun of ourselves.
Three Important Disclaimers About Bad Gifts
- First, I hope to not offend. If you scour this list and (SURPRISE!) find that you have purchased one of these items, please don’t be upset with me for listing it here. Instead, let us know why this item called to your heart and the context so we can learn and be enlightened.
- Second, if a link is broken, if you have received such a gift and had an experience, or given such a gift, please leave a comment and tell us about the experience.
- Finally, if you know of a doozy of an item that should be on this list, please let us know.
The assumption here is that the gifts below would be bad if they are meant as a sincere show of appreciation and not as a gag. Gag gifts either require a deeper relationship with Coach or the giver has an outlook on life that allows for such things. Without further delay…
Worst Football Coach Gift #1
Turf, Yardline Drink Coasters
I had to put this one on top for several reasons. First, there is a whole category of sports-themed drink coasters. They scream, “Gee thanks,” from Coach when the gift is opened.
Technically, these are listed as Astro Turf Grass Coasters, Beer Coasters, Velvet Backing, set of 5. I wonder about trademark infringement and won’t be surprised if there is a broken link here, someday. On the flip side, total props for the person who busts these out for the tailgate, poker night, or the dinner table. Therefore, these make first on the list because, well, they are kinda awesome, too.
Worst Football Coach Gift #2
Custom “Coach” Sandals
Yeah, “custom”! Because if there’s a service with a business model around selling a particular gift, it’s totally an original gift.
What gets these particular sandals on the list is a special detail: the custom wording here is a velcro-style fabric strip attached over the top of the actual sandal. The wording can be peeled off and reapplied. Likely, this design reduces the cost of customization since you can simply purchase the custom color and printing to apply it on standard sandal sizes.
Consider the versatility here. Coach has options: face “Coach” outward so others know who is the coach, or face the wording towards themself as a reminder – “Yah, I’m the Coach”. Mix and match as you like. There is a whole ecosystem of sandal covers I’d like to introduce you to.
Worst Football Coach Gift #3
Agility Cone Set
Nothing says “We’ll see you next year, coach” like a set of cones. This one comes with a carrying stand to keep them organized, which is super handy. I use a bungee cord looped through the center to keep everything together in my bag.
Worst Football Coach Gift #4
Coach Appreciation All Around
The picture says it all, except the actual contents of this gift.
We did our research so you don’t have to: One keychain with an inspiring quote: “Behind every player who believes in themselves is a coach who believed in them first.” One whistle with an inspiring quote: “A great coach is hard to find and impossible to forget.” A lanyard (for the whistle), a coach “word” sign (lowercase) in blackboard paint, and, finally, a blackboard pen (for writing on the coach blackboard word).
But wait, there’s more…
The best part of this isn’t the actual gift, but rather the staging of the books in this product photo.
How do I best explain to my kids that INEDIA or breatharianism (yup, that’s a real thing) is the claimed ability for a person to live without consuming food, and, in some cases, water? It is a deadly pseudoscience and several adherents of these practices have died from starvation or dehydration. Look it up. Fascinating, really.
The other book is by Mennlay Golokeh Aggrey. I’m not going to say anything beyond: when selecting books and authors for a photoshoot, know your audience.
Worst Football Coach Gift #5
Football-Themed Home Decor
I personally am uncomfortable with suggesting what someone else’s home should include, even when I’ve been to that person’s home. I’m not a designer and my own decor is more about being practical on the level of IKEA Kullen.
Worst Football Coach Gift #6
A Retirement Gift – The Timing is Key
This “Retired Since [date]” could be a subtle dig if the team didn’t do so well this season. Be sure to specify an appropriate back-date if there have been several losing seasons in a row to drive the point home.
Worst Football Coach Gift #7
Personalized ‘Cooling’ Towel
While this picture is of a soccer coach where the ‘o’ is a soccer ball, there is a whole line of these with the clever use of the letter ‘o’ replaced with footballs, golf balls, tennis balls… you get the idea.
Worst Football Coach Gift #8
Anything Alcohol/Bar Related
Disclaimer: I’m not joking when I say that you should be thoughtful before suggesting an alcohol related gift for Coach – the topic of drinking is a personal one and must be responsibly considered. There are a ton of alcohol “Coach” items on major purchase sites like Amazon, Etsy and Pinterest. Please be thoughtful. If people weren’t buying these items, they wouldn’t be sold.
Now, that said, here is a doozy of a gift that’s so bad, it’s good. It gets two photos to close out this list.
This Koozball is clearly NOT a way to throw a full 12 oz. beverage with football-like precision. It is a drink koozie to keep your beverage cold and a throwing device – as Kevin Harrington (the original Shark from Shark Tank) tells us. The name works so well: a Koozie + a ball = Koozball. The next photo explains how it works.
This photo is instructional and in a very specific order. By reading left to right and following the arrows and words: First, you “Throw It,” THEN you “Chug It.” The drink is in-hand during the throw portion.
Worst Gift Honorable Mentions:
The Best Alternative to Bad Coach Gifts
Finally, if you’d like to know what our research tells us is the best alternative to the typical Football Coach Gift, then read our guide right now.
At The Appreciation Company, we have an easy and thoughtful alternative to bad, cliched, and wacky gifts that no one wants except as a joke.
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