Cheerleading looks glamorous.
The impressive routines, the sparkly uniforms, the trophies. But behind all of that, are coaches who stayed up until 3am planning a routine and sacrificing their personal life.
This is what we want you to know.
I spend more time planning sessions than you realise
If I’m on a bus, I’ll be thinking about the routine. I’ll then think about how to get into the stunt without a standard set. I’ll then have to work out how to teach that new entry.
I listen to music in 8-counts
I can’t listen to a song without counting the 8-counts. I also can’t listen to a song without wondering if it’s best suited to a lib section or a pyramid section.
If I have cheer on the brain, I have to watch a routine so I’ll be able to focus on something else.
I’m mean to get the best out of the athletes
I’ve tried to be the friend who also coaches. I’ve tried to encourage them with promises of trophies.
Trust me, the kids will act up no matter how you coach them. So I’m the mean coach. I’m levelled out by the other coach and we make an amazing team.
I do it because I want the best out of these athletes and I know that they can be amazing, which is why I push them so hard.
Conditioning is the devil, but it’s worth it
As soon as I say conditioning, I know that the athletes hate me. They hate bear crawls, burpees, squats, but when they finish a competition routine, they understand that it was all worth it.
That’s the thing about cheerleading. You don’t understand until you finish your routine at competition.
It takes months to create a routine
I mean months. I’ve just started creating a routine for a competition that is 161 days away. 5 months is just long enough to create the routine, teach it and perfect it.
That doesn’t include finding music, making sure each sound effect is on a particular motion, choreographing the sassy movements that creates the ‘show experience’.
Just because we can’t do it ourselves, doesn’t mean we don’t know what we’re talking about
I retired from cheerleading aged 23 due to injury, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t know what I’m doing.
I competed for 4 years and have coached teams to National titles, so I know what I’m talking about. I’ve also watched enough cheerleading videos to last a lifetime (and will no doubt watch another 50 trying to finalise the routine).
I would take a bullet for the athletes
I’m not exaggerating, I would do anything for my team. Whether I’m coaching or competing, my team is my family.
If one of the athletes comes in upset, I will help the best that I can. It’s tough though. If their problems are taking up practice time, then there’s an internal struggle happening that I can’t even explain.
I’m happy that they feel they can trust me with their problems, but we only have a few hours to get this routine right. I can’t put the needs of one person above those of the team, so I have to ask them to sit out and focus on the rest of the team.
I will choose cheerleading over my social life
I had the opportunity to go to a beauty event that would have been perfect for the blog, but it was the same day as cheerleading practice.
There are also courses that I’d like to do, but they’re on the same day as practice. I have an interview for a job which may mean that I work late and miss part of practice. I would choose cheerleading every time because it makes my heart sing.