Organization & Communication
When coaching cheerleading, the most important things to keep in mind are organization and communication. Cheerleading coaching can be one of the most valuable experiences in both a coach’s and cheerleader’s lives. Many cheerleaders look up to their coaches as role models, so it is the coach’s job to live up to these expectations and conduct their practices in a safe, responsible and fun manner.
Put it Down in Writing
Without an organized coach, a cheerleading squad falls to pieces. Cheerleading coaching requires a well-thought out program and philosophy that all coaches and cheerleaders display at each practice and at each game. First of all, you have to think about whether you cheer for all sports or just certain ones. Also decide what types of community service your squad could perform for giving back to the community. Lastly, you must decide whether or not you will be taking the squad to any competitions, as that will define your practice structure and goals.
Once you’ve defined your program and the expectations that each cheerleader will bring to the team, write a description of it and give it to each person trying out. If someone is unable to commit to your program, then they do not belong on your team, no matter how skilled they are.
After you’ve outlined your cheerleading coaching program, you need to figure out your team’s trajectory throughout the season, including practices, games and competitions. Come up with a series of weekly and monthly goals for your squad and give a copy to each member so they know what’s expected of them. By putting everything in writing, it makes it easier to achieve since the goals become more real once the words hit the page.
One great tip for keeping your squad as organized as you are is to have each squad member bring a notebook to practice and games for them to take notes on jumps, stunts, tumbling, and upcoming practices and games. If someone forgets their notebook, impose a punishment such as twenty push-ups in front of everyone else or not allowing the player to participate in their favorite part of the practice.
The other main aspect of a successful cheerleading coaching program is communication. Communication skills are necessary for dealing not just with squad members but also parents, teachers, school administrators and other coaches.
When communicating with your squad, always remember that you are the role model and the way in which you address your cheerleaders will be mimicked in their responses to you. If you treat them with respect, you will receive respect in return. The communication skills you bring to the practices and games will help forge the team spirit necessary to any successful cheerleading squad. If cheerleaders are unable to cooperate, their cheers will come off looking sloppy and uncoordinated.
Also, keep in mind that what you say and how you say it has a huge impact on your cheerleader’s self image and self esteem. Always employ constructive criticism techniques, especially towards the beginning of the season when you are just gauging your relationships with your cheerleaders.
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