It’s graduation month! There are a few things coaching families never move past, and graduations is one of them. Every year we say goodbye to a group of Seniors and hello to a new group of Freshman.
Coaches living on tight budgets can often feel stressed about giving graduation gifts, especially when it’s not something that an athletic program will cover. Today I’m going to highlight gifts for graduates for every budget size, but I also want to say that you shouldn’t feel pressure to give any gifts. Many teams are graduating 20 or more players each year. So, consider this list a compilation of ideas to consider, but certainly not some standard to follow. I know it can feel like there are unwritten rules in the coaching world, this isn’t one of them.
Graduation Gift Ideas
- Gift cards are always a great way to make sure your graduates get exactly what they need. Gas cards, Walmart or Target are helpful for Seniors who will be needing clothes for new jobs or items for a new apartment.
- If you include graduation gifts in with end of the season celebrations consider a framed team photo, photo book, or replica jersey.
- An engraved Tervis or Keychain with a team phrase is also a great way to let your alumni know they will always be a part of your program.
- A book on leadership is always a great way to reinforce principles. The Seven Decisions by Andy Andrews, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, The Mentor Leader by Tony Dungy are all great options.
- A great blank journal and pen with a note enclosed encouraging the discipline of journaling prayers.
- A football (or soccer ball) signed by the team
- Something fun for the dorms. One of my most memorable gifts was a super soaker squirt gun.
I think this is the most valuable gift a coach can give a player. Whether you buy a card, which could cost a few dollars, or write something on team stationary, words of encouragement are the most personal and genuine gift a coach can gift his graduating senior.
Of course, this takes time, but by writing a letter your coach reminds their players that they were seen and heard in their time together. They can also remind each player that they have unique leadership abilities that will help them in their next life adventure.
Regardless of how you celebrate graduation season, I think it’s important to take time to send off your seniors well. They have invested in your athletic program for better or worse and it’s always better to allow people to leave without bridges burned whenever possible.
Your presence at graduation, a note, or a gift are all great ways to say happy graduation, and thanks for your committment to our program.