10 Key Steps for Cheer Coaches to Ignite the Season

Start your season off right with these 10 key steps to ignite your season!

1. Set Expectations

Being clear about your expectations as a coach is crucial. Communicate them to your team and parents, and stick to them consistently throughout the season. This sets the tone for a successful and disciplined program.

2. Establish a Detailed Schedule

Having a comprehensive schedule of practices and competitions laid out well in advance is a game-changer. Plan for more than you think you'll need - it's always easier to cancel or shorten practices than to add them last minute. Share this schedule with your team and parents so everyone is on the same page.

3. Outline the Financial Commitment

Be upfront about the costs involved in being part of your cheer program. Overestimate when needed - it's better to pleasantly surprise parents by coming in under budget than to have to go back and ask for more money. Provide a detailed breakdown of fees for uniforms, competition fees, travel costs, etc.

4. Over-Communicate

You can never go wrong with over-communicating. Whether it's scheduling, costs, or expectations, it's better to provide too much information than not enough. Overcommunicate through team meetings, emails, texts, and a team app or website.

5. Prioritize Safety

Safety should always be the top priority. Ensure you have proper safety protocols in place, like spotting techniques and conditioning programs. Require athletes to complete physical exams and waivers. Invest in safety equipment like mats and first aid kits. Put an emergency plan into place. Prioritizing safety will give your athletes peace of mind to perform at their best.

6. Assess Skills and Set Goals

Evaluate your athletes' skills and abilities early on. This will help you place them in the right positions and design routines that showcase their strengths. Have each athlete set individual goals for the season. Revisit these goals periodically and provide feedback and encouragement.

7. Establish a Team Culture

From day one, start shaping the culture you want to cultivate. Decide on team values, traditions, and expectations. Communicate these clearly and consistently. Lead by example and hold your athletes accountable. A strong team culture will unite your squad and drive success.

8. Facilitate Team Bonding

Kick off the season with a fun team bonding activity. This is a great way for new cheerleaders to get to know the returning athletes in a relaxed setting. As the coach, you can facilitate icebreakers and group challenges to build camaraderie and team spirit right from the start.

9. Connect with Parents

Find a way to bring parents together early on, like a meet-and-greet event. Attend yourself so parents can put a face to your name and learn a bit about you. The goal is to start building relationships and open lines of communication. Set boundaries as needed, but aim to create an environment of trust and collaboration.

10. Have Fun!

While cheer is a competitive sport, don't forget to keep it fun. Incorporate games, music, and laughter into practices. Celebrate small wins and milestones. Encourage your athletes to enjoy the journey and the camaraderie of being part of a team. When the fun factor is high, the performance level will follow.

By implementing these 10 must-do's, you'll be well on your way to kicking off your cheer season with energy, organization, and excitement. Your athletes and parents will appreciate your proactive approach, and you'll set the stage for an unforgettable season ahead.


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