Celebrating Success: Awards Nights

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We spoke to MAN v FAT Carlisle coach Beverley Young about their fantastic awards nights and why they work so well for the lads in the club.

Why is celebrating success so important at your club?
Everyone needs to feel proud/be both celebrated for what they have personally achieved and see how this has played a part in their team/club story. They sometimes don’t know how well they have done until they see it in context with other players/teams or when compared with their own early weeks.

To do this better, we needed to identify other hidden nuggets that are not necessarily covered in MAN v FAT standard pitch and off the pitch successes.

I believe one of our valuable ways to celebrate across the club is through storytelling, the end of season awards is one of the bigger ways where we do this well.

What are the key steps involved when sharing players successes?

1. Don’t just focus on the league and cup winners-identify other wins to celebrate.

2. Check that players are happy for photos/story to be shared before we go ‘public’.

3. It helps to understand early on what a player is looking for themselves, so outside of weight loss for some that could be length of playing i.e. ‘more puff’, better fitness, improving football skills, or being able to move fast enough to keep up with their children. I encourage the Captains to cheerlead this goal setting/’accountability’ within their team chat.

4. Great to use their own words where you can, and we have just started capturing individual stories of ‘What has being a part of MAN v FAT Carlisle done for you’? I used this as a Golden Goal type incentivise for the final 2 cup weeks and some very moving testimonies were created/shared and we are just working out the best way to share these.

5. When we share a winning story, I always ensure the runners up are applauded/celebrated too. After Season 2 I added into the end of season awards evening both Cup and League Runners up trophies and tell their stories as worthy runners up.

6. It’s especially important to be able to celebrate success when a team have not performed well in terms of league or cup performance, so we find other things to celebrate for their team across the club to keep up their morale and get them aiming high again for the next season.

7. I also keep a note of personal landmarks such as weddings, engagements, graduations, new babies and share these at the awards evening as part of the looking back at other successes from that season.

How did you get the community at your club to buy into celebrating their successes?

I am very vocal about insisting I want a club player first and a team player second and I’m always keen to show there are many routes to success.

As a club early on we identified other things to measure that means we have far more (including many more of the players) that we can celebrate at the end of the season (and at our awards evening) such as:

• Golden Boot – for highest goal scorer for own team and recognise the runner up!

• Biggest Waist Loss – identified from 1st measure against Week 14, we also add all players losses together to celebrate the total club loss.

• Hattrick King – we all know that a max 4 can be scored but look at best performer e.g. who got the first one, who was first to 3 or even 4 and did they track and lose every week.

• Players’ Player – aka Man of the Match weekly nomination with 84 opportunities spread across the club from asking each team to nominate their opposition MOTM and explaining why. This helps us build a story of individual players, based on what others say about them across the season and is shared at the awards. 

• Goalie of the Season – nominated by all the players.

• Going The Extra Mile –This has evolved over 28 months. I started this award in Season 2 to be able to recognise unsung heroes who do things in the background for the club. 

I’ve had players vote for their chosen player by name – most votes win and we ask the payers why they voted for that player.  

In what ways does this celebration aid the community at your club?

It gives them hope that next season may be theirs to win as they see how the Champions got there. You can see/hear the strategies being formulated!

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to put on an amazing awards night?

Take a week off regular fixtures or see if you can do it on a weekend, make it an attractive social opportunity, provide tasty supper, see if any local football heroes will help talk/give out awards. Use the opportunity to share some of the new things for the upcoming season.

Get the players involved, work out how to celebrate the guys who didn’t win a trophy.

Previously I invited a local Mental Health Charity to present at the awards. The charity was interested in how physical activity can improve mental health and the guys really appreciated the opportunity to be ‘listened to’.


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