Thank you for appreciating your soccer coach at the end of the season. As a former and current coach, I can tell you that being recognized and appreciated is, well… appreciated.
You’d be surprised to know that this doesn’t happen often. I volunteer to coach soccer for more than 25 weeks of the year for my boy/girl twins, and while the true joy comes from seeing all of the kids have fun, grow, and gain experiences – it can be a grind at times.
So, let me first thank you for making this ‘thank you’ to your coach a special moment – it will make an impact.
That said, plenty of people scratch their heads when they consider what’s the best soccer coach gift idea for THEIR coach.
The next few minutes and 5 keys to consider could change the way you approach gifting now and in the future. We’ve done the research, conducted interviews, and have been told exactly what your soccer coaches truly want.
Key #1: What’s the best soccer coach gift idea? Choice.
The best soccer coach gift, the only gift that your coach wants, is choice.
We know this because we have interviewed hundreds of coaches, not to mention teachers, nurses, first responders, camp counselors, and others on their gift preferences, and they consistently say the same thing – in two parts:
- They love being recognized with a personal note, in writing (digital or paper notes), with a message about how they made a unique impact, AND
- Having the choice of their gift.
These are what they really love. LOVE.
Over and over, soccer coaches tell us what they don’t need: another dry-erase clipboard with the field layout, an engraved whistle, a jersey, hat, or rain jacket. BTW, Teachers tell us they don’t want another scented candle or lotion, apple-related [anything], coffee mug, desk decoration, coffee, or chocolate. Coaches and Teachers are almost always parents and spouses themselves with their own needs that are as varied as the days are long.
So, what’s the best soccer coach gift idea?
A gift card, but not just any gift card…
The ability to choose their gift card.
But wait, there is a catch…
Key #2: A group gift that includes the other parents is powerful and has lasting meaning.
The obvious thinking here is “more is better,” but that isn’t really the case. Your coach doesn’t care as much about the gift card amount, not really. Going back to Key #1… Being recognized with a personal note is the emphasis here.
Coach wants to read how they impacted and made a difference for the team. There are few experiences more fulfilling than impacting the lives of a cohort around a shared experience like soccer. A personal note, hopefully with the player’s input, is what matters. The reason this is important is multifaceted and nuanced.
This shows that the children are talking about their experience with their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or others. It means that soccer is more to the player than just time on the field. It is also a reflection of what the coach is teaching the soccer players.
If just one note is impactful, then a group of notes from other players is EXTREMELY meaningful.
Since coaches bond with the team and the players, seeing the messages from the group is what creates a collective emotion. This is exactly what coaches teach players in practice. The team wins and loses together.
A gift that is about the team, and from the team, mirrors how your coach thinks about the soccer season. When Coach makes decisions about which players to put into forward, midfield, defense, sweeper, striker, and goalie, and when to make substitutions it is both a consideration of the individual players and a consideration of how the team will perform.
Now, you might be thinking… “Great, a group gift, who has time to organize that?” Not to worry: there’s an exact solution for that. Check out our group gifting solution here.
Key #3: How the appreciation is presented matters!
The low point of the season for Coach is when the last game is wrapped, the players are gone, and you are driving home. What is rare these days is the post-season pizza party, where trophies are handed out like when we were kids. (Rusty’s Pizza was our place of choice, and Round Table was great, too). High school teams typically still have an awards party.
So, let’s present an appreciation to Coach. At the end of the last, round up the parents and ask them to take a moment to pause and thank the coach. Do that silly “2, 4, 6, 8, who do we appreciate?…” cheer and shake hands with Coach or give her a hug. Ideally, hand her something (see Key #5 below) to be opened later – after that car ride when the adrenaline has worn off and the emotions of everything the season stood for are still swirling.
Key #4: You are HELPING the other parents out.
Look, we get how busy life is (I have four kids). The end of football season seems to fall at the busiest time of year. (There are only about 5 days of the year that AREN’T busy, right??) By organizing a group gift, you, yourself, are a real hero to other parents that are also busy!
Parents have told us that the idea to appreciate Coach usually arises at the last minute and they feel it is too late to do something that is meaningful and genuine. More than half have this thought crossed their mind the day before or the day of the last game. So, if you are reading this and you are EARLY — and by early, we mean the day or two before or even just a few hours before the end of the last game — there is something AMAZING you can do in the next few minutes: send a message to all of the other parents on the team and lend them a hand using Key #5.
Key #5: There is an easy group gift solution that ties all of this together.
The Appreciation Company was founded to solve gift-giving quandaries for busy parents – both the organizers and contributors. And, we address exactly what coaches have told us is the most meaningful to them: notes of appreciation from the group and choice.
Here’s how it works:
- Organizing a group gift is as easy as a few clicks. Set up a group gift, assign Coach as the recipient, and invite other contributing parents.
- Each parent can write Coach a personalized note and contribute to a gift card balance – a parent can even contribute after the deadline as notes and gift balances are collected in a permanent album.
- Coach can see all of those personalized notes as albums AND convert that balance into gift cards from merchants of her choosing (she makes the choice).
By the way, there is no cost to organize an appreciation event. You can use The Appreciation Company to recognize coaches, teachers, instructors – anyone that leads a group experience.
Sign up in just a few clicks, and get to group-gifting — and sincerely appreciating! — your coaches with ease the way they want to be appreciated.
This post is dedicated to Paul Belzer – my high school varsity soccer coach from Bakersfield’s West High School. Thanks, Coach Belzer – I appreciated you then and I appreciate you still for the lessons and skills you taught and the opportunities you gave me.