When my husband was a Graduate Assistant, he heard from our Defensive Coordinator that his wife made brownies for takeaways, "Because takeaways are sweet." (lol)
At that time we decided we LOVED that idea and wanted to take it with us for whenever my husband had his own position group. So four years ago when we came to Evangel, we decided to take it a step further and implement "The Cookie System."
My husband coaches Defensive Line, so I make cookies for sacks, tackles for loss (TFL), and Scout Team Player of the Week, and then I make brownies for takeaways! Our players absolutely LOVE it! So much so that it's usually the first thing they mention when they come up from making one of those plays! It's our way of rewarding the behavior we want to see- and it works! This weekend I ended up making 37 cookies and two plates of brownies for our guys. And this is just for D-line- not even our whole defense!
The system WORKS! And it's also my way of showing love to them. It makes me feel like I'm a part of what's going on at practice and on the field during the game. It gives a point of conversation to the guys who can be a little more on the quiet side. It's my own personal "cookie ministry" to the mission field that we are called to.
I shared about this system in my Instagram stories and I got such a positive response about what a great idea people thought it was, how they wanted to implement it as well, and ideas for how to reward other position groups, so I wanted to put together a post to share how I do it and some ideas for other position groups. And if your sport isn't football, I will come up with some other ways to do the cookie system upon request!
What we do for Defensive Line:
Tackle for Loss= 3 cookies
Sack= 5 cookies
Takeaway= plate of brownies
Scout Team Player of the Week= 10 cookies
Other things to reward within the sport of football:
For Offense: to use the cookie system for offensive plays, you can reward for touchdowns, pancakes, 100 yards rushing, and 100 yards receiving.
For Defense: to use the cookie system for defensive plays, you can reward sacks, tackles for loss, Interceptions/takeaways, and maybe 10 tackles earn so many cookies.
And then of course rewarding Scout Team Player of the week for those who aren't quite playing yet, but you want to reward their effort during practice.
I will say that if you are a coach (and not the partner of the coach) reading this, it needs to be something that your partner wants to do, since they are the ones who will be putting the work in. If they aren't on board, it just adds more to their plate and makes for an unhappy partnership, which isn't fun. So try not to push this if they are not on board. I know I can be really resistant when I'm having to do something that wasn't my idea, so I can only imagine it would be the same for others.
Another thing to note is that I buy the dough and do not make these from scratch. But I don't think our players know this, so please don't tell them my secrets! ;)
Do you have any "best practices" like this that your players love? Please share in the comments below! And if your sport is not football, I will help you brainstorm different things to reward upon request!