Coaching is like Christmas and Halloween wrapped up into April Fool’s Day! It doesn’t have to be Halloween to be scared, so here are the top most terrifying cheer coach moments.

10. First meeting your new team. You have no idea what you’re going to get–they could be incredible, lazy or mean! Then, you have to wait patiently for their true colors to come through because we all know that in the beginning, it’s all about giving the best impression.

9. The nightmares. Literally nightmares, like legit wake-you-up-from-your-sleep coachmares. You may not think this is a serious thing, but let me tell you, you are not a real coach unless you have had at least ONE competition or practice nightmare.

8. The lack of control over your own emotions. Here you are, thinking you have your life together and then BAM! You experience nerves, anxiety, stress, frustration, anger and depression all at one time. It’s terrifying when you cannot get yourself together. 

7. A cheerleader falling ill. Okay, so this isn’t my own experience, but a very close friend of mine experienced this as a coach. Her own child became extremely ill the night before a national competition. They kept a throw up bucket on the side of the mat–it was that bad. She was such a trooper; she still went out and performed.

6. The practice (and week) prior to competition. Is it just a Coach Brittany’s team tradition? The practice prior to competition is like rock bottom. Or, if rock bottom had a rock bottom–that’s what it would be. Everything falls: bows, shoes, flyers, tumblers, your hopes and dreams. It is a lingering terror, too. You cry, they cry. You go home on edge and on competition day, you replay that practice in your head a thousand times.

5. The Illegal Stunt. You worked hard to make it and teach it. The cheerleaders’ worked hard to perfect it, and make it all you hoped for. They hit, it’s glorious… and it’s also illegal. That deduction on the score sheets could cost your team everything, which is scary in itself, but it is downright gut wrenching knowing that it will all be your fault.

4. Something so small can be absolutely horrifying. The random object hitting the mat: a shoe, a bow, a pair of glasses… no matter how tiny that could realistically be, it looks magnified on the mat. Are they going to pick it up? Who tied that shoe in the first place? I knew I she should have double-checked her bow…

3. The dreaded stunt fall. It happens. We don’t know why. It could be the entire pyramid, shoulder sit or a thigh stand. It just doesn’t matter. The gasp from the crowd, the look on the cheerleaders’ faces, and the complete looks of disgust that you IMAGINE are on the judges’ faces (even though they’re actually not). There is no denial that stunt falls are every single coach’s and cheerleader’s worst nightmare.

2. Not being able to help calm your team prior to hitting the mat. Perhaps you didn’t even realize this as a terrifying moment, but it is. It kind of goes hand-in-hand with number one. You feel their nerves and they feel yours. As they stand in the circle with their heads bowed, sweaty hand in sweaty hand, all of your energy just mixing into a big pile of mush covered in glitter, hair spray and a fake smile. We seriously need to figure out a stress and nerve release that communicates, “You got this, go out there have fun and smile.” Right–pots meet kettle.

1. The loss. I am sure some of you are looking at this list going, “Her moments are not ordered right.” To you, they may not be. I’m emotional, so my terrifying moments are moments that can’t necessarily be forgotten. What comes along with that stunt fall, or that no-call, no-show? Most of the time, it’s a loss. Sometimes, they lose to a team that fell when they hit everything. It doesn’t matter the situations that lead up to it; those things happened, you dealt with it, and we are in the present. The look on their faces–so full of disappointment, confusion and heartache–is scary to even anticipate. It’s something you can’t help or solve with words. It takes time to mend those shattered hearts, time to regain confidence and bounce back from that loss. Time, in itself, is scary; the unknown is horrifying. It’s not as much as the loss that is scary, it’s them. Those beautiful faces looking to you for comfort, to be their strength and to smile, to offer a pep talk, but deep down, you realize it doesn’t hit home to them yet. You telling them how proud you are isn’t what they need right now, and honestly, it doesn’t matter to them in that moment of time.

We could go on and on about terrifying moments: personalized moments, specific moments, but for cheer coaches, it’s just best to outline the hardest hitting ones.

What gives you cheer coaching nightmares? Share us your spine-tingling coach moments in the comments!