Odds are, you are around each
other enough that you have become a family. Families don’t always agree (they
may not even like each other!!), which can result in some inevitable fighting
and bickering. Don’t roll your eyes. A picture-perfect family is a lie, so
don’t even try to think you’re going to get that passed me.
If your family
(aka, team) has waged war with themselves, do not panic. Do not
bust out the riot gear. It is best to stay calm and try some of these tactics
to have a peaceful result. Think about when you’re at work–it’s stressful. The
same daily routine over and over is exhausting, and can put anyone on edge. A
cheer team is no different.1. Games.
Break it up!
Throw in some fun things, especially ones that rely on your
cheerleaders working as a team. ‘Ships and Sailors’ is always a favorite
amongst our cheerleaders. Team trivia, a dance off, or just turn on a random
song when they think they are about to do another run-through and just watch
them. Relay races, duck duck goose… I don’t care. All of these options are so
simple, and sometimes just what they need to ease the tension.
2. Team bonding nights.
cookies, have a movie night or a bonfire. We started a new tradition of a team
dinner the week of competitions. You know, the week where all anxieties are
sky-high. If you have a serious age gap on your team, this also helps. It
forces them to interact outside of cheerleading (what? There is a world outside??)
and to really get to know one another. Plus, it’s food. Come on, food solves
3. Life talks
. Sit those athletes down in a circle. Talk it out. Ask how
their day was; ask if there are things going on that you should be aware of.
Encourage them to talk it out in a safe and civil place. Explain that once they
get what they need to out, it’s done. Due to them not being adults, they can’t
properly express themselves. They have to know it is okay for them to say how
they feel as long as they do so in a respectful manner. It’s better to get it
out in the open than to hold it in for it to eventually blow up like a bomb.
For the record, we try to do weekly talks
followed by meditating in the most
4. Change it up!
Is the stunt group
the reason for the tension? Perhaps they don’t trust one another and don’t get
along. Perhaps it’s just not getting up. You, as a coach, need to be okay with
. Switch it out a few times and see if it works better. That adjustment
can save you an earful of teen drama in the long run. While you’re at it, break
up the cliques: have the girls form bonds with other teammates.
There are times where we could have, as coaches, taken steps to help the
situation and sometimes we just can’t. Recognize those moments that you see
tension and address it immediately. Unfortunately, as the pillars of the
family, we need to be incredibly observant and need to eliminate a problem
before it gets too serious. Here are some tips:
Have you had to mediate with a team at
war with themselves? Share your coaching tips in the comments!
- Do not allow
your athletes to individually call out another cheerleader. You are the coach, not them. No person on that team is
perfect and they need to understand that immediately. You can’t call someone
out when they are not perfect in every area themselves.
you can have favorites. It’s
inevitable. However, you need to hold them to a higher standard; push them
harder than you push the other ones. Discipline them when they deserve it. Just
remember to make sure each member of the team realizes you love them all
encourage open and honest discussions.
It works for me, but it may not for you. You won’t know until you try. We treat
our athletes like young adults. They are all held responsible for their own
actions. In the beginning, we talk to them about bullying and peer pressure.
After competitions, we discuss their score sheets and problem areas. It shows
them respect. Most arguments stem from lack of respect towards another team
member, a coach or a parent. When they realize what respect entails, you don’t
have an excuse as to why they aren’t respecting another.
- Find what works for your team.They’re yours. Only you know what is best for the
team as a whole. Do what you need to do to keep that family civil and happy. Do
not let anyone convince you that your tactics are wrong. Who knows… if you
listen to them, you may not find yourself on the brink of cheer World War I!