Tuesday, April 29, 2008


For some reason I just can't get motivated this year. I don't know why. Our family has a lot of stuff going on, but so does everyone and that's no excuse. I just have a blaa attitude right now and I need to snap out of it or my squad is going to suffer. Usually by this time I have music , a couple routines, and have had a couple of coaches meetings by now. I'm full of excuses, the weather in Chicago has been just been terrible, we all are freezing watching our kids play baseball. It's suppose to be spring and I woke up this morning and it was 34 degrees out and can someone remind me what the sun looks like. I need some motivation. While writing this I stopped and call one of my assistants, who is a long time Friend, and set up a coaches meeting for tomorrow, hopefully that while help. I feel better just talking to her. If your season starts in July too it's time to get to work!!!

We Coach Youth Sports

Friday, April 25, 2008

Coaching Staff

Having a coaches meeting with your coaching staff at least a few times prior to the season is so important. By doing this you can figure out who will have what responsibility and what role they will play. Everyone should bring something to the table. Having a diverse coaching staff is key to a successful season.
You and your coaching staff should become a team yourselves. Devise a practice plan and a season plan, always leaving room for adjustments. One of the most important things to discuss at these meetings is how you as the coaches will communicate. you need to agree that you will not contradict each other or talk over each other(argue) in front of your squad. Here are a few tips...
- arrive 5 to 15 minutes early to discuss each girls abilities, technique, and progression
- while the squad is on a run come together to discuss how you plan to execute the days practice
- while the squad takes a water break come together and discuss how the practice is going
-stay 5 to 15 minutes after practice to reflect on the practice
Remember not to dictate to your coaching staff, it won't help you. Let them help you, that's why the are there. Your assistants should be left alone to coach their specialty area as a part of your scheme.

We Coach Youth Sports

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Youth Cheerleading Fundraising Ideas

If you are a youth cheerleading coach then you know how expensive it is. Whether it's uniforms, shoes, bows, or competition fees, you always need money. Some ideas that have worked pretty well for us are:

- Have a Tag Day. You might need to get permission from your city or local alderman's office. You also will have to get some parents involved on this one to help monitor the girls. The girls can save some coffee cans and get together to decorate them with their team colors.

- Have a car wash. You can ask a local bank or park district for the use of their parking lot if you don't have access to one. The girls can get together, decorate posters, and put them around the neighborhood.

- One of my favorites is to have a haircut-a-thon. Ask around the local beauty shops if anyone would be willing to donate their time and service(you might be lucky and have 1 or 2 Moms that are beauticians). Have the girls make up some fliers at least a month in advance and find a location, whether in your gym or park house. Great money maker!!!

Selling candy and having raffles are great but I've found that these ideas help unite your squad and bring them together to work as a team. They work hard together and create a bond. You also are teaching them that if they work hard enough they can accomplish anything.

Here are a couple web sites that might help you also.

We Coach Youth Sports

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hosting Your Own Competition-Fundraiser

Hosting your own youth cheer competition can be a great fundraiser. If its done right it can generate a lot of money for your squad or organization. The only down side is it's sooo much work. You need to have a huge support system from your organization and parents. They need to be behind you 100%. They all are going to have to dedicate their time and energy and be committed 100%. If you have that support it is possible.
First thing you need to do is devise a plan and a time frame. In my experience you will need at least a year to get everything together. You will need to get the appropriate paper work, such as waivers, codes of conduct for squads and coaches, lunch forms(so you need to decide on a menu), rules and regulations, and age and/or grade forms(coaches need to collect birth certificates). Put it all in a packet for each squad participating and hand it out 2 to 3 months prior to the competition so all coaches have time to prepare. You will need to decide on maybe having some vendors to sell, teddy bears, jewelry, t-shirts, ect... You will also need to find some judges. I have found college cheerleaders are O.K. but prefer their dance instructors and coaches. If the college cheerleaders can put on a performance that would be great, It is inspiring for those young girls to watch what they could become with hard work and determination. You can enlist some H.S. cheerleaders to volunteer to keep the crowd and cheerleaders pumped up and be in charge of handing out the spirit stick to the squad with the most spirit.
One other thing to remember is you are only one person and you can't do everything. Accept as much help as you can. This can be a extremely stressful time and there will be many ups and downs. No body is perfect and GOOD LUCK!!!

We Coach Youth Sports

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's That Time

Our season starts in July, that's only 3 months away. Its time to start preparing for the for the up and coming season. I'm always thinking of new stuff we can do, but now its time to get all those ideas together. It is definitely hard getting started again when you have kids in other sports. My girls are in karate, baseball, and gymnastics right now. One thing that helps me is watching cheer competitions on ESPN, great motivation. Watching H.S competitions or even college competitions really inspire me. You see what's new and get some unique idea's. Here is a link to get some air dates. http://cheerleading.about.com/od/wheretolearn/l/blairdates.htm
GOOD LUCK to all those going to any competitions this year!!!

We Coach Youth Sports

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Parents Do Appreciate You

Did I just say that? WOW! As funny as that title sounds it is true(sometimes). Discipline. Some youth sport coaches are afraid of that word. I definitely am not. Maybe its because of the coaches I had growing up or from my Dad who has coached youth sports for over 30 years with an "old school" style. Whatever it is, I probably will never change. I have come to realize that most parents actually appreciate it and will thank you for it. The way you discipline your team or squad sets the tone for practices and games. It teaches them respect for themselves and others. It also builds their confidence in themselves and you. When I have a parent at the end of the year come to me and thank me, it just makes all the time, dedication, and hard work worth while.

We Coach Youth Sports

Monday, April 7, 2008


It happens every year at least a few times to me. As I said before I coach young girls., 3rd and 4th graders. Even at this age these girls can be vicious. Some are just always in trouble for disrespecting girls on the other teams. Making fun of them , calling them fat, telling them they stink, and using language that I didn't even think they knew yet. When the coach from the opposing side walks towards me after a Sunday game I think to myself, "here we go again". I'm always embarrassed and feel absolutely terrible. However I have come to realize that some girls make stuff up, too. So what I try to do, and it usually works out pretty good, is from the beginning of the season I put my rules right out there(there are quite a few). One is to respect the other team. Break any of the rules and you suffer the consequences, whether it be run a lap, or they are out of the next half time. If they encounter any problems with anyone from the other team tell me immediately. Always smile and tell them they did a good job. Kill them with kindness.

We Coach Youth Sports

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Avoiding Injuries

In youth cheerleading as in any sport there are some unavoidable risks and no amount of preparation can stop every injury. However there are some things you as a coach can do to limit them. Conditioning is very important. A well conditioned athlete is less likely to get hurt. So try to gradually increase flexibility exercises and strengthening exercises. Gradually increasing the intensity of conditioning each week will help also. Having a risk taking attitude, such as attempting difficult stunts before being ready, is another problem. When trying out a new stunt, review, review, review. Make sure you have ample spotting and use proper technique. Also make sure the girls are properly dressed.
As a coach you are responsible for your team. To protect them and yourself you should be prepared to handle an injury. Become educated in first aid and CPR. Treat every injury as soon as they happen. If your organization or school doesn't supply you with an injury report get one yourself and keep it on hand. I came across this the other day, take a look. http://www.aboutcolonblank.com/2008/02/28/back-breaking-cheerleading-accidents/

We Coach Youth Sports

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Cheer Music

Quality cheer music isn't that had to come by. As a coach you are always worried about originality and getting music that is new and fresh. I've tried using music that the judges and fans can relate to which doesn't always mean new. There are many ways you can get the music you want. I would advise against buying a premade cheer mix, you don't want to ever risk the chance of having the same music as some other squad. You can get together a list of songs you want and have a local D.J. compile the music for you. Another way is to search the internet, but that can get extremely expensive. I've seen companies charging $1,000, that's outrageous to me. I did come across cheercd.com which seemed pretty reasonable. You can personalize your own cheer mixes, you can pick how long you want your mix (1:30sec, 2:30sec., or whatever you want), and you can preview your music before you buy. Their prices seemed pretty reasonable also.

We Coach Youth Sports

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Age Appropriate Music

As a youth sports coach you are suppose to be responsible for your young athletes, RIGHT? I have been coaching youth cheerleading for 7 years now. I have coached 1st & 2nd graders, and now 3rd & 4th graders, and brought them both to many competitions. I am amazed at the total disregard of inappropriate music chosen by some coaches. Don't these coaches understand how impressionable young girls are? Some have there girls doing dance moves that I wouldn't do on a dance floor at a nightclub. And shame on the judges for allowing it! Even the parents, sitting in the stands, are cheering their young girls on. I have 2 girls of my own in youth cheerleading and I wouldn't allow it let alone cheer them on!

Music is a huge part of a routine. The selection of your music can take weeks and is usually chosen in the off season. To get professional music can be expensive. You should always be aware of the lyrics in the music you pick, listen to it over and over to make sure there is no offensive language or crude suggestion. Some lyrics can mean one thing to you but in "slang" can mean something entirely different. In other words your girls can be out on the floor performing their routine to some song you thought was cute, but is actually suggesting something else.

We Coach Youth Sports