Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Is that what your head is screaming right now? That routine you created just isn’t working out how it should be, is it? The first thing you have to do is breathe. Don’t throw that temper tantrum. You can cry on the way home or in the shower, but that’s only because I believe in the power of a good cry. We have all been there and we will all be there again. It happens, but it is not the end of the world. Give yourself the night to rest, and then go back to the drawing board. What is it about the routine that isn’t working? How much time do you have left before you compete? There are many things to consider here. After you answer all the possible questions, try the following:

1. Ask for help. Sometimes you just need an outside perspective to make things click. Maybe a very simple change could bring about a huge impact. Multiple eyes are better than just two. Swallow the pride; if you don’t use the life preserver being thrown to you, you may just drown.

2. Look up ideas. In this wonderful world of technology, ideas are at your fingertips. I do ask that you use this tool just for ideas, not to steal routines. Put your own spin on everything you see. Use this as a stepping-stone to recreate that sequence that just doesn’t look like what you imagined it would.

3. Take a risk and ask the team. I do this often. One of two things happens: I love what they show me, or I take pieces of it and add my own in. They will feel important and valued that you want their input for their routine. After all, they are the ones performing it, and may get more into it because they helped contribute in the creation of the routine.

4. Don’t be afraid of change. Whether you scrap the entire routine and start from the beginning or just change out stunt groups, formations or entire sequences. Some of the best things in life came from someone not being afraid of change. If you are going to change something out, make sure your sequences before and after flow together. You don’t want to change out a stunt group, and have two of the cheerleaders running all the way across the mat to get to their next spot.

5. Look at past score sheets. If you have competed already this season, you have an amazing guideline to go off of. Pay attention to what the judges were looking for and incorporate that. Adjust to what you need and the rest will fall into place.

6. As my cheer guru always says, “remember, clean wins.” Time and time again, I sacrifice technique for something harder. It always hurts me in the end. It’s not playing it safe if you win. This not only gives you extra time to figure out creative entries or different motions, but it gives the cheerleaders time to learn the correct way of doing things. We all want a routine that will blow the judges and the crowd away. Just make sure you can blow them away without sacrificing key points on that score sheet.

7. If all else fails, bring in a professional. Maybe you don’t have helpful people that you can call on to diffuse the ticking time bomb inside of you. Choreographers are there to do what maybe you can’t do at that moment. It’s okay! If it takes one major stressor away from you to have someone create your entire routine or just parts of it, it’s a victory. If you’re an emotional mess, your cheerleaders are an emotional mess and–my goodness–that is just too much mess to clean up alone.

8. Remember to have fun with it! You may cry or get stressed out, but it comes and it goes. It won’t be the last time this happens to you. Breathe in, relax and work through it. Best of luck to all the cheerleading teams competing this season!

What fixed your routine? Tell us your coaching hacks in the comments!