You did it! You planned and prepped; you posted up fliers and recruited judges; you made tough decisions and had a vision turn into reality… you’ve created your team! Congratulations on pulling off successful tryouts (pause to pat yourself on the back). Now that that is out of the way, you probably think that was the last task on a long tryout list. Wrong. Next season has officially started, but not before you take these crucial final steps to bridge the gap between choosing a team and building one. It’s more than just posting names of who made the cut! Obviously, alerting who made the team is step one, but here are three more steps to take in order to round the rest of your bases before you slide into next season’s home plate. Don’t judge the metaphor–it’s almost baseball season.

1. Meet the parents.
If you didn’t host a pre-tryout parent meeting, then you definitely need to host a briefing as soon as possible to get the cheer parents on the same page. Cheerleading is no small sport to sign up for, and new parents to cheer might not know everything that is about to be required of them! In this meeting, go over next season’s schedule, next season costs, and what’s expected as team decorum overall. Parents also need to know the best way to communicate with you, and the best mode to do so (text versus call versus email). You don’t want them all showing up with questions at practices or, worse, performances! By nipping the issue in the bud now, you'll strengthen relationships with team parents right off the bat, not to mention how it’ll save you a lot of back-and-forth communication later.

2. Meet your team.
Just like meeting with the parents, host a new team meet-and-greet before plunging right into practices! This way, the newly recruited cheerleaders to the squad have a chance to meet their teammates without the pressure to perform. And, along the lines of the parent meeting, outline what you expect out of your team: what you will and will not tolerate when it comes to attendance, digital devices, attitudes, etc. Tell your team members how you want them to treat each other, both on and off the mat or field, and let them know all the fun things you have in store for next season. However, their parents already have most of this information, so make this particular get-together fun! Plan some team-bonding games and activities that could break the ice between your squad members; make them step outside of their comfort zone, since they will anyway with stunts and tumbles soon!

3. Get the information you need. OK–everybody now knows each other and the overall agenda. Now you need to collect on some things, most notably SIZES. Team orders need to be done in advance no matter if you’re ordering in-stock or custom cheer items, so get that hammered out now and get gear on the way before your season even starts! Even fill-in orders can cause headaches if you’re scrambling for new cheerleader sizes. So, to avoid being unprepared if you see that your favorite cheer gear retailer announces a short-term sale, include a slot for sizing information right on the contact form as part of team initiation. Hand out these forms (with a strict deadline!!) to the parents when you first meet them, and make it known that it’s high priority paperwork.

What are other next steps that cheer coaches have to take once tryouts are over? What worked for your team? Tell us in the comments!