The evolution of cheerleading has been incredible to witness. With evolution comes change. Cheerleading seasons become longer. Instead of Starting in August and ending in November, almost all teams start in June and end in May.

 

Coaching a cheerleading team is hard enough as it is, but adding the summertime element creates more waves in the already rough seas.


 

1)    Vacations. It's no surprise that most people take their family vacations in the summer. School is out, and there's no need to worry about attendance issues (unless you missed a few too many days or you skipped studying and homework for Netflix). As coaches, we know running a practice without a full team is almost impossible.

 

Solutions:

·      At the beginning of the season request all vacation dates from your cheerleaders. This can help you plan practices accordingly. Use the days you are missing a good amount of your team to improve or add new tumbling skills. Your upcoming season is important, but so is family time.

 

·      Try not to overload your parents (and cheerleaders) with 5 mandatory practices each day of the week over the summer.


 

2) Mother Nature. Air conditioning is a luxury. It really is. Not every gym has it. If your weather is anything like it is where I live, you will need to be able to have an extreme heat or severe storm plan. You had a plan for your practices, but nature decided its plan was more important.


Solutions:

·      Please PLEASE consider safety first. This should be a no brainer. If it's too hot to practice, cancel. A free sports safety course can break it all down for you. Practice is not worth risking the safety of any athlete.

  

·      If you have to cancel practices often due to it being 1759 degrees in your gym--invest in an air conditioner.




3)    Drama. Ah, the one everyone forgets about. With summertime comes boredom for some kids, and even some adults. It’s easy for teammates to stir the pot when they do not have to see the person every single day in the hallway. Whether they crave the attention, are jealous over seeing everyone's fun summer posts, or are just a trouble-maker, this is not your call to make.


 

Solutions:

·      Create a cheerleader contract that outlines your team's policies. Have the cheerleaders sign it and list the disciplinary action that will follow if they choose to break a rule.

 

·      Have a sit down with whomever is necessary. Being civil is usually the best course of action. Understandably, it doesn’t always go that way. If the problem is going to be detrimental to team moral--sit down with whomever you have to and try to find the best solution, even if the best solution is to remove them from the team for the season.

 

 

4)    Summer Schedules. Although school is out, most parents still have to work. Whether it's shipping their kids off to camp or dealing with tourist traffic--a parent’s schedule can become a task to work around. Perhaps you are a parent who is lucky enough to have off from your job for the summer and you would like to get more practice time in during the day but can’t due to scheduling conflicts.

 

Solution:

·      Add a camp or clinic option. Instead of your cheerleader being shipped off or stuck inside with a sitter, let them come to you for the day. You can use this time to work on a bunch of drills and skills and create amazing team memories. Plus, it means some extra money for your time--and to pay off that dreaded electricity bill.

 


5)    Rule Changes. This one does not happen often, but I personally experienced this last season. You create the perfect routine. You begin practicing it, putting everything in its place and next thing you know, the rules change. That beautiful stunt you created is now illegal. What was considered an elite last year is now just a level appropriate this year.

 

Solutions:

·      Breathe. It happens. You created a masterpiece once, this little hiccup won’t stop you. Plus- they have the next 10 months to master it. Remain calm, I promise you it will work out.


Summertime is supposed to be a time where memories are made. Be flexible and understanding about everything that will come your way. Try to break the cycle of drilling them every practice and take 15 minutes to have a little fun. You don’t want them to regret cheering because they feel that they missed out on everything else.

 

Always remember: no matter what the weather is like, no matter what season it is, please keep all athletes hydrated. It’s crucial to a healthy cheerleader and to a healthy team.



[Source: Giphy]