Thursday, October 23, 2014

Swimmers Need Incentives Too!

Maybe it is the Kindergarten teacher in me that makes incentives so appealing. It was fun to see how exciting a simple sticker could be to a 5-year-old. But there is no age limit on rewards. Everyone appreciates recognition for hard work!

That’s why the “Motivational Reward Cones” from the Dollar Tree were totally irresistible. I knew they were just the thing to reward our high school swimmers who have made their cuts for our state’s “sectionals” meet. (See Alabama High School Swimming: Rule Changes Do Not Benefit Athletes.)  

The mini traffic cones come in a variety of colors with messages like, “Way to Go,” “Fabulous,” and “You Did It,” printed on them.

Our neighborhood Dollar Tree had only nine cones in stock which I quickly snatched. Unable to find more from other local stores, I began searching online and made the wonderful discovery that Dollar Tree merchandise can be ordered through their website. Woo-hoo! There was no minimum order so I was able to purchase the approximate number needed. A few minutes later, a dozen more mini traffic cones were on their way.

When the cones arrived, I used a Sharpie to write each swimmer’s name and the events in which he or she had made sectional times. 

As co-captain, Jackson handed out the cones at a big high school meet. I watched with apprehension to see if these high school kids would roll their eyes, look embarrassed, or mouth the dreaded word “lame” in response to receiving a $1 mini traffic cone. But they did not! Instead, they appeared honored that their hard work and accomplishments had been recognized. Of course, when it came time to take a group picture they did exactly what you would expect a group of teens to do!

Fairhope High School swimmer with Sectional cuts with traffic cone "trophies."
Best of all, two more swimmers made sectional cuts at that meet. Maybe the idea of receiving a Dollar Tree traffic cone was just the extra bit of incentive they needed to swim fast.

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