School is over, and summer is here to stay! Keeping a team focused during those lazy summer days can be difficult. People go on vacation, or sometimes team members stop showing up to practice. Even when your whole team happens to show, they aren’t too motivated to be there. In a sport like cheerleading, it can be dangerous if your team is not focused. Here are a few ways to keep your team focused during those dog days of summer.

Change it up.
Change up the location, the practice routine, have a themed practice day, or even split your team up and have a friendly competition.

1. Beach day.

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You're probably scratching your head, thinking that you're trying to keep your cheerleaders off the beach instead of at it. But, instead of day in and out cheering at your gym, have a practice at the beach or at your local park. It is summertime–everyone wants to be outside! So, hold one practice a week at a different location. Be sure to bring plenty of water!

2. Take your team to a water park.
  

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You might be thinking, “A water park? Why?” Swimming and walking around all day is a good way to get into shape, and helps you work out different muscles. It also lets your team have a little fun while they work out without even knowing it. You can also substitute yoga for a regular practice, do a boot camp, have a strength-training day, or take your entire team hiking. Sometimes, it is just nice to do something different; it does not have to be too complicated, just something new.

3. Alter the routine.

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Your team usually practices a routine over and over to get it down… why not switch it up a bit? Take elements of your current routine that the team needs to work on, and mix it up. That way, you are still working on what your team struggles with, but they won’t get bored with the some ol’ routine they have been working on for months. Change up the music to something fun and current, or have a ‘cheer off’. You want to keep your team excited, so why not experiment with your routine in a new way?

4. Themed days.

  

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Why not have your team dress up for an 80’s day, or a superhero theme? Break out one of those old 80’s workout videos and have an unconventional conditioning day. It may seem silly, but if it gets your team excited to come to practice, it is worth it! Plus, you might get some nostalgia creep up on you in the process. Cue an awesome practice mixtape.

5. Divide your team up into two groups and have a summer competition.

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Usually during summer, you are trying to get into shape: working on conditioning, and brushing up on skills before you get into season. Split up your team, and have each team work on skills they need to improve on. Then, right before the fall season starts, have each team show off their skills and the team who has improved the most wins a gift card, a trophy, or maybe a pizza lunch.  Anytime you can make conditioning or working on skills a fun endeavor is a win!

It is summer, so get out there and have some fun! Be sure to remind your cheerleaders to stay hydrated, and take plenty of breaks in the shade.

How else have you kept your team focused during the off-season? Share your coaching tips in the comments!