Recognition & Reward

Back at it after a week’s break.  I hope you and yours enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving. I know my family and I are so extraordinarily grateful for all the blessings we enjoy.

This weekend we will gather for our annual football team banquet.  We will recognize our seniors, letter winners, and all-conference players.  Then we will turn our focus on our superlatives.  While on the surface, it may appear we just recognize the recipients, most of whom are seniors moving on from our program. We are simultaneously laying the groundwork for the development of our returning players and the years to come.  

We incorporate one of the basic rules of psychology; rewarding the behaviors you want repeated.  Each reward is designed to encourage returning players to achieve peak performance and reinforce cohesion and commitment.  Communicating these behaviors that everyone needs to demonstrate helps the team to achieve success, not just the individual.   The following rewards provide an effective and uncomplicated means for reinforcing quality behaviors: Scout Team Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, Most Valuable Lineman, Most Valuable Ball Carrier, Most Valuable Player, Coaches’ Award, and Hilltopper Award.  While the first five are self-explanatory, the last two allow us to showcase those behaviors we most covet. The Coaches’ Award goes to the student-athlete we feel is one of the most coachable and selfless members of the team. The Hilltopper Award recognizes the student-athlete who we think most embodies the attributes of our culture while bringing energy, effort, and enthusiasm to every event.

Although not specifically called out during the banquet, it’s important to note we do not omit awards for scholastic achievement.  The National Football Foundation banquet later in the year honors the combined academic and athletic best of the best from schools throughout the state.  

The vision, values, commitment, and courage we cultivate directly reflect who we hope to be as both individuals and as a team. Recognizing and rewarding those who best represent the Hilltopper culture reinforces the very best of our aspirations on the field, on our campus, and in our community. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, when you reward the right behaviors, you guarantee repeat performance. 

Coach Rich Alercio is available to discuss coaching philosophy, X’s & O’s, or teach his O-Line “techniques in the trenches.” Contact Coach at and share with your colleagues and friends. Thanks for supporting this blog and joining our conversations, and as always, thanks for your time! 

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