Role models come in all packages: coaches, parents, teachers, friends, siblings, and celebrities. Without people emulating the right kind of lifestyle, young athletes can easily be led off-track from their short-term goals and lifelong ambitions. Motivation is the key to success, and having a personal source of guidance is invaluable. 

But what happens when you need a little extra help? Life has a way of throwing obstacles in your path, time and time again, delaying or even canceling your plans from moving forward. At these crossroads, it’s reassuring to have someone to talk to and help assist in any critical decision-making. For high school cheerleaders, this could be applying for college, transitioning into competitive cheer, moving away, or balancing schoolwork with sport. You may be surprised to learn that it is likely that your mentor has gone through a very similar situation, and can give you advice to help you through your situation!

Even if you are not currently experiencing a difficult situation, you can still ask your role model some questions to gain insight about their experiences. Here are some questions that can benefit any cheerleader:

1. How did you get into the sport? Every cheerleader has a turning-point: whether born with a bow in place doing a right punch-up or a curious starter that waited for that lightbulb to go off in her brain–a decision to get into cheer was made. Learn what made your role model commit to cheer and compare it to your initial moment of cheer clarity.

2. How do I keep cheering for myself? Role models are generally older and thus, have gone through more roadblocks than you have. When it rains, it pours, and sometimes life just gets too hard. You probably utilize your innate spirit to brighten the bad days of people around you, but you must also remember to do that for yourself! Ask your cheer role model what uplifts them when times get tough and remember these specific tips when life goes awry.

3. How can I become a positive role model for others? Just like in Disney’s The Lion King, the circle of life goes on; it is certain that if you have a cheer role model now, you will be destined to be one later for someone else. Great leaders often have certain characteristics, like compassion, modesty, honesty, respect, and so many more. Before you make the transition to being a role model yourself, find out what core values your role model most treasures to discover which traits you can sharpen.

What other questions come to mind that you would ask your cheer role model? What qualities does it take to be a good role model? Let us know how you set the standard for yourself and your team!