If you are just joining the conversation, you can read tips 1-4
Tip #5- Be a team player!- You have supported your coach all year, with every decision he/she has made. You have told them that you are proud of them for sitting little Susie out since she missed practice because that is what is best for the team. You have praised your coach all year long for how well he/she works with the kids and how amazing the team is looking, until it happens! The week before the competition the coach does the unthinkable; he pulls your child’s tumbling pass, or makes your child’s stunt easier, or even worse… he/she pulls your child out of the air and replaces her with someone from a different team. How could he/she? This is not fare! Then the Facebook posts start with the angry face emoticons, and the how could he/she tweets! You are so angry, that you storm into the gym and give the coach a peace of your mind. The one thing that you don’t realize is the fact that your child has pulled his/her head into their shirt like a turtle, and is now embarrassed and afraid of how your actions are going to impact his/her team. You are screaming so loud at the coach that you can’t even hear your own child say “MOM STOP! It doesn’t matter!”
As a parent, I can understand how this would upset you. By all means, you have every right to know exactly why your child’s coach made that decision. My suggestion is to schedule an appointment with your coach to find the answers you are looking for. This will allow for cooler heads to prevail; and instead of reacting, you will be able to act in a way that is not going to embarrass your child, or cloud a coaches decision on what is best for the team. Be prepared to hear the truth! It is often hard for a parent to hear that your child is not the best on the team, or they are not good enough or ready to perform the skills correctly that the coach is asking. Regardless of what you might think, good coaches are always going to do what is best for the team, which may not always be what you think is best for your child. Cheerleading is a TEAM sport and sometimes-hard decisions are made to help the team accomplish their goal. It is the coach’s job to make sure that every skill that is being preformed can be done with confidence and excellent technique. I will be honest, if your child has to get moved or changed in a routine, he/she will be upset and will probably cry; but after 19 years of working with kids, I can honestly say it bothers the parent a lot more than it does your child. A child that is not confident in a skill, will lead to doubt and fear in their head, resulting in multiple mistakes. Let’s say your child is nervous about a tumbling pass that is near the end of the routine. A child who is not confident in their tumbling pass will often only think ahead in the routine to that skill they are nervous about, causing them to make a mistake in the stunt or other skills that happen before tumbling. Even worse, if the tumbling is at the beginning of the routine, and your child touches down on their tumbling pass, and carries that mistake with them the whole routine, often causing other costly mistakes.
While I wrote this article to be somewhat entertaining, the information is valuable! Whether you are a coach or a parent, it is hard to see your child/athlete coming off the floor crying because they did not have the performance of a lifetime. While the easy thing to do is to blame others, reflect back on the 5 tips in this blog, and see what you could have done better. At the end of the day, your child, your coach, and even you will get over any bad performances that they may have. Use those mistakes to teach your child life lessons about self-evaluation and what they could have done better, instead of blaming those around you. Coaches and parents share a common bond of wanting to see your child/team smiling with pride when they come off that blue mat. Truth be told, all your child/cheerleader wants to know is that they are loved and that you are proud of them regardless of what a $5 trophy might say!
Special Note to Parent’s: We all want to win, we all want our kids to be successful, and we all want to be proud of the kids, coaches, and organization that we represent. This can only happen if we all do our part. It is the coach’s job to teach the skills, make the tough decision on what will help the team do their best, and to stay up to date on a constantly changing scoring system. It is the athlete’s job to do whatever it takes to help the team be successful. They must learn that the “name on front of their uniform is much more important than the name of the back of the uniform.” (Mia Hamm) The athlete must learn to put in the work that is required to be successful. Finally, it is the parent’s job to make sure they support the coaching staff on any decisions they have to make for the betterment of the team, as well as help manage their own athlete. You should know what is expected of you as a parent, and trust the staff to make your cheerleader not just a better athlete, but a better person. It is only when everyone does his or her own job that you will truly see the value of what competitive cheerleading has to offer your child. This blog was written to educate parents on what they can do to help your coach/team/program to be successful. If you found this blog to be offensive, then you might need a little self-reflection.