Monday, June 23, 2008

Before Teaching The Basics - Youth Cheerleading

When You first start you don't want to jump right into jumps and stunts. What I do is get the girls to line up. Have each girl step forward and show me what they can do. While they do so I have my roster in hand and mark what they know, what they can do, and what each girl needs to work on. This is a great way to start out the season and avoids injuries. Once you evaluate your team you know what strengths and weaknesses you have and what you need to work on. some examples you should evaluate:

1. Basic understanding

2. Coordination

3. Flexibility

4. attitude

5. gymnastics

You can score them 1 through 10 or give them a check or minus. I usually score them and have a goal for each girl. I'll reevaluate every 2 weeks or so, to show improvement.

We Coach Youth Sports

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Coaching Recreational Sports

Most of this blog is geared toward recreational youth cheer. Meaning NO tryouts. Anyone can join and as the coach you have to make do. I'm not saying that is a bad thing . To me it is that much more rewarding. However at the same time some coaches are new at this whole experience also, and that's why I created this blog and why We Coach Youth Sports started a website and Coaching Youth Sports Forum. To help new coaches . It is not about coaching boys or girls, It's not about coaching a certain sport. It's about coaching kids and how to make it an enjoyable experience for you, the parents, and your team. I'm always open for a comment or question, So don't hesitate.

We Coach Youth Sports

Friday, June 13, 2008

Youth Cheerleading Fundamentals

When coaching youth cheerleading it is important to start with the basics first. Before teaching any cheers, chants, or stunts the girls should learn the fundamentals. I have a simple drill to use and I use it every practice. I set the girls up in 2 straight lines.

front (shortest to tallest)


O.K. now I simply call out high V. All girls go in a high V they should all be even and big donuts showing(when you make a fist your index finger and thumb make a big donut and your pinkie makes a little donut- makes it easy for the girls to remember). Everyone stays in position until everyone has it right. Then I let them shake it out, in the beginning it takes awhile for everyone to be together and in the right position so their arms do get tired but strong. While the girls are in position I will go down the middle and push on their arm to see if they are strong and stiff not loose. Once every girl has the high V down I move on to low V, T, Right L, Left L, Touch Down, and so on. As they get better I mix it up and move faster and faster. For more discussion on coaching youth cheerleading or any questions come join our Coaching Youth Sports Forum

We Coach Youth Sports

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Dealing With Problem Parents As A Youth Sports Coach

I've been a cheerleading coach for a while now and this can sometimes be a touchy subject, but I'm not going to beat around the bush. As a volunteer you put in so much time, on and off the field. You are dedicated, you want what's best for your team and every individual child, you try your best and expect to be appreciated and respected as a coach, by your team and the parents. I've found that 99% of parent are behind you 100% but you always have 1 or 2 that are going to try your patience.

I have not and will not ever let a problem parent get to me in a way that there would be a confrontation in front of my team. Not saying that I didn't want to put them in their place right there and then, but that is not good for the child, and that is who you are there for(every individual child). Never let a parent discourage you, but by all means you must stick up for yourself, away from the team. Also let your organization know of the complaint, just in case it gets out of hand. Some parents can be kind of crazy and you never know what they are going to do so be prepared. The best thing to do to help avoid any problems is have them sign a code of conduct. Here is a link for some other ideas: Parents Behaving Badly


We Coach Youth Sports

Monday, June 2, 2008

Voices And Facials

When you are coaching cheerleading to young girls it can be difficult to get them to cheer and not sing or look like a scared or surprised bobble head.

Some tips I use for my girls:


-Do not sing the words
-Make sure each word is load and clear
-Keep back and shoulders straight
-You shouldn't feel any strain in your throat
-Your voice should not squeak or crack(use your diaphragm) some girls will not understand what their diaphragm is being so young. It is your job to help them find it. I use a simple exercise called, I burnt the toast, it sounds silly but it does work.

-Have your girls lay on their backs
-Position their hands above their stomachs, below their ribs
-You chant, I burnt the toast, and they repeat
-Do this as many times you need to until they are all in sink, load, and clear
-Emphasize- use your diaphragm- and feel your muscles working


-Practice in the mirror, try a few different expressions
-Use different facials for different cheers, parts of dance, etc...
-Tilt your head to emphasize words and motions but don't over do it

We Coach Youth Sports

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Transitions In Formations

When you are teaching your girls different formations it is extremely important that the transition from one formation to another is smooth. The girls shouldn't be bumping into each other or have too far to go. For example, one girl shouldn't have to go completely across to the other side and another girl only take one step.

When I'm working on different formations I get a list of my girls get a few pieces of paper and mark them as X's like below. I also write the girls name below the x. This way at practice I have it all drawn out for me. Using the X's also helps with transitions. If you can draw a line from one position to the next without hitting another x the transition should be smooth.

We Coach Youth Sports

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Formations - Beginner

Walk Out - 20 girl squad


__ 1____2____3____4____5



Change formation to lift

The last girl in the 2nd row steps out to back spot the 1st lift. The last girl in 4th row steps out to back spot the 5th lift. That leaves 5 groups of 4 for 5 easy halves or 1, 3, and 5 can be fulls or 2 and 4 can be fulls depending on your difficulty level. You can start out your season in halves and at the end you can all be in fulls with practice. I usually have all flyers lead the lines.


Lifting groups


We Coach Youth Sports

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Over Coaching

Coaching youth cheerleading is fun for me or else I wouldn't do it. I love spending time with my kids and I appreciate the hard work everyone on my squad puts out every practice, game, and competition. Of course there is always discipline and correction that needs to take place but NOTHING like what I seen the other day at my girls softball game. I was embarrassed for the team. The coach was so negative towards the girls, mind you they are 8 and 9 year olds. They are already nervous and when you have a coach yelling at every pitch or every at bat its putting it way over the top! Coach I would just like to say, if you do not like what you are doing then do not do it. The girls were so worked up they didn't even know what to do. If you have a problem with a call, you can't start yelling at the umpire in front of those kids! You can't start an argument with the other coach! And then expect your players to go out and do their best. Wake up coach! What does it say about how you feel about your team, when during the last 2 innings you coaches are sitting in the dugout yelling and dictating to your team? That you gave up on them. One of the worst things you can do. You need to be confident in your team and show them that. Maybe, they just might surprise you.

We Coach Youth Sports

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cheerleading Competitions

If you are a youth cheerleading coach turn on ESPN tomorrow at noon. The USASF Cheerleading Worlds is on. Like I have said before this is a great resource. Get a notepad and if you want, call up your assistants, and get some great ideas!!! Make them your own by changing a few things. I know the difficulty level is way out of reach but that shouldn't matter if you have alittle imagination you can make adjustments. Watch the formations and transitions, listen to the music, and see whats new, there is always something you can come away with. Have fun with it and be creative for your age group. It would be a good idea to tape it so if you missed something, also because it seems to go by pretty quick.

We Coach Youth Sports

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Perfect Squad

First of all there is never a perfect squad, especially in recreational cheer. There are no tryouts, we take everyone and I wouldn't have it any other way! I love to coach kids and coaching means teaching. At my level, 3rd and 4th grade, at first it is about learning how to control their bodies, which is definitely more difficult to teach to a girl who is not well coordinated. But that is the reason why you are there. If you can help just one girl on your squad become better coordinated you have done a great job.

We Coach Youth Sports