End-of-season baseball awards for Little Leaguers should acknowledge social growth just as much as athleticism. Baseball can help to develop a child's natural abilities and give him skills to be proud of, but apart from that and just as important, it gives him a sense of belonging and teaches him to follow rules and play fair. When handing out awards at the end of the season, keep in mind that batting averages aren't as important as having fun and making new friends.
Store-bought trophies come in many shapes and designs and only cost a few bucks. You can show off a trophy on the mantel, but your young baseball player probably won't be able to appreciate its sleek look just yet. If you're getting store-bought trophies for your child and her team, go for those that will appeal to their sense of fun. Trophies with bobble-heads, cartoon figures, and oversized smiley-faced baseballs will surely be big hits. Not everyone on the team can be MVP or Best Hitter, so give out awards that acknowledge the less athletic kids as well. Best Attitude, Most Patient Hitter, Most Improved, Best Helper, Most Enthusiastic, Team Player, and Best Team Supporter are just some of the many awards you can give players. Give each child a trophy engraved with her name and a “super power" -- something specific in which she excelled, such as agility, speed or team spirit. Having her name on a trophy makes a child feel special, and receiving one at the end of the season will give her a sense of accomplishment.
Take inspiration from the team name to make a unique end-of-season award. If the team is called Cowboys, have plaques made in the shape of a cowboy hat. If the team is called Eagles, award medals engraved or painted with the silhouette of an eagle. Alternatively, give out certificates made to look like news articles or public announcements. Write the award as a headline, such as “Best Fastball by an 8-year-old Player," and compose a paragraph or two about the child. Include funny anecdotes, inspirational moments and sufficient praise. Print the “article” and frame it.
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Give baseball stadium tickets to your young baseball stars. Get in touch with the ticketing office and let them know what the tickets are for. Teams usually reserve seats for these purposes, and you might be able to get the tickets at a discounted price or even for free. Baseball memorabilia, such as signed baseballs, jerseys, bats, pictures and caps will impress children and parents alike and don't have to cost a bundle. Look for these in online auction sites or go to your local collegiate team and ask the players to sign a few items. A field trip to a baseball museum can be a memorable conclusion to the season. You can also take the team to a major or local baseball event or to the practice fields of the local collegiate or professional baseball team.
Making a baseball card of each player helps your youngsters feel like real sports stars. Look for trading card templates online and add the players' photos through photo-editing software. Add the name of the player, his award and the year, then print and laminate the cards. Team balls are classic souvenirs, and signing them is a team bonding activity for the season's close. Players and coaches sit in a circle and pass the ball to each other to sign as they recall the highlights and low-lights of their time together. Another nice memento is a collage of pictures of the team and individual players, using your photos and those from other parents. Add the team name and the year at the bottom, print and frame it, and give one to each child. Parents and coaches can also contribute video clips of hilarious or moving moments throughout the season. These are then combined into one movie reel, burned onto DVDs, and distributed at the closing ceremony.
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