When coaching or running a youth sports team, you end up spending a lot of time with your players over the course of the season, summer, or even year. Throughout that time, you’re seeing so much hard work, fun, and improvement that you want to reward each player at the end of the season.
And while a pizza party and participation trophy can go a long way, why not come up with some fun youth sports awards ideas instead?
To help inspire you, we’ve put together 50+ unique awards ideas you can hand out to your young athletes at that end-of-season awards ceremony.
On the field
The most common team awards you hand out will be due to their behavior and teamwork on the field—whether at practice or during the games. These awards ideas are perfect when you’re looking for something more custom to hand out to your players.
1. First to arrive/last to leave
Do you have a player who’s always putting in some extra work at practice? A player who is always first on the practice field and/or last to leave? Consider awarding them for their dedication to the sport.
2. Keeping it positive
Who has the overall best attitude on the team? Win or lose, they help to lift everyone’s spirits? This player award is perfect for someone who’s always helping keep the mood positive.
Award your player who is the loudest cheerleader, both when they’re on the field and on the bench. Someone who’s always giving high fives, congratulating teammates, and cheering everyone on.
4. Most improved
Or, you might stick to some more traditional awards. Award the most improved player on the team, the athlete who has really made strides throughout the season.
5. Best overall team member
Recognize your team’s best overall team player—the one who can hold down any position, who knows the sport like the back of their hand, gave their best effort, and was an exceptional teammate.
6. Most valuable player
Or, consider focusing more on an MVP award, recognizing a team player who might not be the best on the team but still brings a lot to the table, whether it’s through support, team spirit, being reliable on the field, and more.
7. Defensive Player of The Year
Give an award to the best defensive player on the team, the one blocking all the shots and not letting anyone on the other team get by.
8. Offensive Player of The Year
Or, award the best offensive player of the year, the one who won the most points or provided the most assists throughout the season.
9. Rookie Player of The Year
Did someone join your sport for the first time this year? Add a “Rookie of the Year” award to your awards ceremony to celebrate the newbie on the team.
10. Best sportsmanship
Who has shown the best sportsmanship throughout the sports season? Never getting upset when they’ve been subbed off the field, always cheering on the rest of their team, ensuring everything is fair. Recognize their kindness with this type of award.
11. Coach Jr.
Is there someone on the team who’s always willing to give advice and help a fellow teammate? Give them the Junior Coach award!
Who’s the fastest on your team? This fun award can be the result of their speed on the field, or the result of a race you have your athletes run.
13. Coming in clutch
Create an award for the player who always comes in at the end with a clutch play to pull off a win, tie-breaking point, or something else to save the day.
14. Biggest risk taker
Who’s been the biggest risk taker? Making wild plays that somehow work, helping your team get the win in the end. This is the perfect award for them.
15. Pregame tradition
Is there someone on the team with a unique pregame tradition? Something they do for luck? Like wearing their lucky socks, doing a cartwheel, or drinking a specific flavor of gatorade? Reward them with the pregame tradition award.
Off the field
If your team spends a lot of time together off the field—like for travel leagues or school sports—you might consider adding a few of these additional awards to keep your players guessing about who could end up winning what.
16. Best dressed
Does someone on your team have a flair for style? Brightly colored socks for practice? Snazzy workout outfits? Give them the best dressed award for their efforts.
17. Snack attack
This award is perfect for the team member who always has the best snacks—bonus points if they’re always ready to share.
18. Team DJ
Who mans the stereo during road trips to games or at the hotel? This team DJ award is perfect for them.
19. Team clown
Give the team clown award to the person who always has the entire team laughing. This award can often be just as important as those on the field. Who can have a great season without some comic relief?
Who’s always sleeping? Sleeping on the bus or van, going to sleep early, sleeping in as late as they possibly can before the game? This award was made just for them.
21. Most forgetful
This award is perfect for the teammate who’s always forgetting something. Whether it’s their water bottle at a game, ball at a practice, charger at a hotel, or bag on the bus, they deserve recognition for their commitment to the bit.
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Consider handing out some of these awards to your players based on how well they played basketball this year.
22. Best dunker
Who had the best slam dunk this year? Or the most dunks? This award is for them!
23. Best free throw shooter
Reward the best free throw shooter with this timeless award.
24. Best three-point shooter
Who’s your go-to three point shooter? Give them this award.
25. Best dribbler
Dribbling is an art form, and only one player has figured it out. Reward them with this team award.
26. Best layup
Reward the player on your team with the best layup, whether it was a great game-winning shot or they simply are the best at making layups in practice.
27. Nothing but net
Who’s your most reliable shooter? The teammate where, if they get the ball to the end of the court, it’s almost always going it. The “Nothing but Net” award is for them.
Award the teammate who’s best at stealing the ball from the other team with this “Swiper” award.
29. Most baskets
Who got the most baskets throughout the season? Let them know with this awesome award.
Coaching football this year? Here are a few custom awards ideas perfect for your football players.
30. Sticky fingers
Hand the “Sticky Fingers” award out to your most reliable catcher. If the ball is thrown to them—or even if it’s an interception—you know they’re going to grab it.
31. Best spiral
This is another award that can be given out based on work throughout the season or based on a contest. Who has the best spiral throw?
32. Longest throw
Better yet, who’s got the strongest arm, and the ability to make the longest throw?
33. Best playmaker
Highlight the best teammate at creating plays and seeing them through with the “Best Playmaker” award.
Who’s the best statue on the team? The most boulder-like player who’s best at blocking and won’t let the other team get past them.
Which of your players is best at avoiding tackles on the field? This award is perfect for them.
36. Most touchdowns
Who made the most touchdowns this season? Reward them with this accolade.
37. Most field goals
You can also create an award specifically for your kickers to see who made the most field goals throughout the season.
Soccer also has some of its own unique terms that can be turned into different awards. Use these examples for inspiration.
38. Golden leg
Give the “Golden Leg” award to the player who can make the farthest kick!
39. Best dribbling
Like basketball, soccer has its own version of dribbling. Award the player who has nailed dribbling across the field.
40. Endless energy
This award is perfect for the player who never tires. No matter how many times they run up and down the field, they can always run more.
41. Fancy footwork
Who’s got the fanciest feet on your team? Give this award to the player who performed the best trick with the ball.
42. Most goals
This award is meant for the player who scored the most goals across the entire season.
43. Most goals blocked
Conversely, give this award to the player who blocked the most goals, whether you decide amongst goalkeepers or defensive players.
44. Best ball control
Who has the best ball control on your team? Give them this award to recognize their hard work.
45. Best penalty kicker
Give this award to the player you can always rely on when it comes time for penalty kicks.
46. Most assists
And finally, for soccer awards, consider handing out an award to the player who may not have made the most goals, but created the most opportunities and assists.
Finally, whether you’re coaching baseball, softball, or even t-ball, these awards ideas can be useful for handing out to some of the MVPs on your team.
47. Home run hitter
Which player can hit the farthest? Award them with the “Home Run Hitter” prize.
48. Most steals
Give this award to the player who has stolen the most bases throughout the season.
49. Strong arm
Who’s got the strongest arm? Award the player with the farthest and/or fastest through with this prize.
50. Dive master
This award is perfect for the player who had the best dive to make it to a base throughout the season.
51. Most runs
Which team player scored the most runs this season? Recognize their achievement with this award.
52. Most pop flies caught
And last, but certainly not least, as we’re sure this list of 52 youth sports awards ideas is just the start of the inspiration you need, consider awarding the outfield player who caught the most pop flies this season.
Keep these youth sports awards ideas in mind this year
Put together a fun awards ceremony for your sports team so you can hand out fun and unique awards to each one of your players.
These 50+ youth sports awards ideas are the perfect starting point for your trophy or medal handouts. If you funding for your trophies and ceremony, find a company that sponsors youth sports to give a donation. It’ll help ensure everyone gets recognition, both your athletes and local businesses.