I’ve just come back from cheerleading practice and it was the worst one of the season.
Last week, we had a great practice and I smiled all the way through their full out (full out: performing the whole routine with music as if it’s a competition), but tonight, it was like a different team walked into practice.
Flyers were being dropped, their attitude was horrific and no one listened when we made corrections.
I wanted to walk out.
The Head Coach messaged us, asking what we wanted to do because the practice was so bad. They wanted to cut people and drop it down an age group, rearrange the routine to make it easier.
Being a coach, you expect bad practices, for kids to be chatty and forget what they’re doing, to have a bad day, but today was something else. I’m one of those coaches that says “go and have a chat because your attitude stinks right now.” I want the kids to pull together as a team and be responsible for the routine they perform.
I have never had less faith in my team that I did today, and as a coach, that’s a terrifying feeling.
You know it’s bad when the coach loses faith in the team.
So where do I go from here?
I can focus on my career and follow the money, or I can fight for this team and get nothing in return.
What do I do? I fight for this team at every practice, push them to be better, and they repay me with eye rolls and half-arsed practices. So why should I bother?
After watching Cheer Squad on Netflix, I knew that I had to put the fun back into practice. No one likes being shouted at, and people rarely perform better after being shouted at. I and the other coach try not to shout but you can’t help it sometimes – kids are infuriating sometimes!
So I sat down and thought about how to bring the cheer back into cheerleading. My first thought was theme practices. So our first theme will be crazy socks, we also have PJ Day, superheroes and rainbow day. I’ll let you know how it affects the practices.
I want to make the kids responsible for their practices, hoping that they’ll put more effort into a section that they want to work on, so have decided to trial Pick a Section.
I’ve written the routine sections on a board and will let the team pick 3 things to work on.
I’d also like to trial a Review Session. Just a few minutes at the end of each practice to ask them to share how they thought practice went. I want them to realise that they’re in control of their practices. If they want to be proud of what they did, they have to work for it.
I’ll let you all know how it goes!