As Holidays Approach, Here Are 7 Memorable and Meaningful Coaches’ Gift Ideas


7 Memorable and Meaningful Coaches’ Gift Ideas

With Thanksgiving behind us, shopping for the upcoming holidays will pick up. So, here are some considerations while out and about, or surfing online.

Our swim coaches give us so much during our swimming careers: inspiration, guidance, counseling, education, skill enhancement, planning. The list goes on and on. Sometimes, swimmers and parents fail to realize just how much time, expertise, dedication, and effort our coaches put in. It is easy to assume that coaches go in, effortlessly work their magic with the team, and then go home without a second thought. What can go unnoticed, though, is everything that goes on behind the scenes. Making effective workouts, putting lineups together, recruiting, planning various elements of meets, computer issues, figuring out travel logistics, etc. 

All of this work, by the way, is time spent away from family and friends. Talk about a commitment! Although coaches sometimes project a gruff exterior, they truly care about every individual on their team and are dedicated to helping you to achieve your highest potential both as a swimmer and as a person. This is why you want to get them the perfect gift. You want to show them that you recognize and appreciate their hard work, their long hours, and their ability to connect with kids and young adults with a wide range of personalities and abilities.

Here are some memorable gift ideas.

1. Team Signatures

What better way to show your coach appreciation than to present something that has every member of the team’s signature? Give your coach something that will commemorate the season for years to come. Anything from a kickboard, to a team swim cap, to a pull buoy works. This is a cheap, easy option that a coach can look at with a sense of pride, knowing their commitment made a difference for their swimmers, which is what coaching is all about. This gift includes a stamp of approval from every team member, reflecting their appreciation.

2. Photo Collage

Swim Ireland Collage

Photo Courtesy: Swim Ireland and Jon Rudd

Another personalized idea that can work great as a coach’s gift is a photo collage. The possibility of having a variety of photos printed on one page can make for a perfect opportunity to tell stories of all the months spent together as a team. Of course, this idea could require some planning in terms of getting the right photos captured throughout the season, but given the volume of photos taken on phones by the team and fans, you should have an ample selection of great shots. You can find great deals online for photo collages of various sizes and formats, from a poster that you can frame to canvas prints.

3. Photo Book

Along the same lines as the photo collage, a photo book can be a personalized and meaningful option for commemorating your coach’s work over the course of the season or several years. One creative idea for a photo book could be having one page dedicated to every swimmer, each of which includes a personalized message, photos, and anything else that is fitting. You can include a team photo on the cover, and have pages devoted to specific meets and team activities, but featuring each team member individually is effective in showing how much the coach is admired from every swimmer’s perspective. 

4. Team Video


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

A team video is a good digital option for showing appreciation for your coach. This is a pretty open-ended idea, as the video can include such a wide variety of things. Options could include a short segment from each swimmer thanking the coach for all they do. Sharing a fond memory can make any coach feel special. Additionally, any funny, powerful, or even ordinary moments captured on film throughout the season can make for a great video. Like with the photo collage and book, this will take some planning throughout the season to capture all the moments you want to include, but even a video including a clip of each swimmer offering their gratitude could go a long way to express the team’s appreciation.

5. Beverage Container With Gift Card

Every coach knows the importance of staying hydrated or even having coffee ready for all those early mornings. YETI and Polar Camel both offer tumblers that serve well to keep beverages hot and cold as they are both double-walled and vacuum-sealed. These brands both offer an option to have a personalized message etched on, which will be a special reminder for your coach of how great of a season it was. You can even include gift cards within them as an extra surprise that is always appreciated. A good idea to keep in mind with gift cards is to offer something that the coach can enjoy with his/her entire family, as an expression of appreciation for them as well. Coaches spend many hours away from their families over the course of the swim season, and a thoughtful gift card that can be used as a family is much appreciated by all.

6. Team Dinner

Just about every team has dinner together at certain points in the season. Whether it is the night before competition, following the competition, or another situation, meals together are a great way to build camaraderie and bring teams closer together. However, having one last surprise meal paid for by the team is an excellent way to make any coach feel appreciated.

7. Frequent Acts of Gratitude

You can tell your coaches how much you value them and their contribution to the team any day of the year. It is easy to “get by” on a day to day basis, doing what you’re supposed to be doing at all times, saving the appreciation for the end of the season for your coach or coaches. What can go a long way, though, are small surprises and tokens of your appreciation spread throughout the year. This helps coaches feel valued by you all year long and can brighten their day, which is something anyone can use. 

Among the most valuable parts of being a coach is making a difference in his/her athletes’ lives. Finding the best ways to show these coaches appreciation is a gesture that athletes should prioritize. Coaches make the sacrifices that they do not always as a financial necessity, but to work with their athletes through a sport they love. If they are willing to invest hours upon hours throughout the week, it’s the least an athlete can do to show their appreciation. As the old adage goes, it’s the thought that counts. It’s not about how much money you spend, the above options range from very affordable to as pricey as you want them to be. Use your imagination, there are many more ideas where these came from!

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Kathy Beckley O'Brien
3 years ago

Eric Dennis. Hmmm boat was not on the list. However the beverage cooler might be possible

Eric Dennis
3 years ago

Kathy Beckley O’Brien sure its the frequent acts of gratitude a fishing boat is a gift that keeps giving hahaha

Thomas Richner
3 years ago

Great pic! One of the best!! Gregg Parini

Gregg Parini
3 years ago
Reply to  Thomas Richner

Thomas Richner how ‘bout that?!

Tom Kiddoo
3 years ago

That’s awesome!

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