Finding motivation can be very difficult for even the most
driven person. Look at New Year’s resolutions–less than 10% of people actually
keep their resolutions a year. That means that over 90% of people lose their
motivation to keep doing something they really want to do, or change. If over
90% of adults cannot stay motivated, how are you going to keep your
cheerleading team motivated throughout the year? Here are a few ideas on how to
keep your team motivated throughout the year.
1. Use the New Year as a motivational tool.
Most people make New Year’s resolutions, but fail to achieve them because their
resolutions are too much too fast. Sit down with each member of your squad, and
help them make obtainable individual goals for the year. Then, go the extra step
by mapping out a coarse for them to obtain those goals! In doing so, it helps
your individual cheerleaders grow, and your team expand their skill set. You
can also create one team goal. This is great for new squads: it helps the team
come together, and encourages teamwork and team-building.
2. Use the buddy system for accountability.
Some of your squad members may have similar goals, which is great! Having a
‘buddy’ helps you stay accountable and motivated. If one member of the team
loses motivation, their buddy can bring them back up, and keep them on track to
achieve their goal. Your rate of success increases by having a buddy, and plus,
you are having fun hanging out with your friend, so it does not feel like work!
3. Use incentives as recognition. This
can be a bit controversial, for some studies
out there say that incentives don’t always work. Personally, I think all of us
like to be at least acknowledged for
our accomplishments! It makes you feel special, proud of the work you have
done, and happy that someone took the time to notice. Incentives don’t have to
be money; they can be anything you want them to be! You can create awards for
squad members who have completed their individual goals, and if you have a gym,
create a ‘Super Star wall’. Some gyms ring a bell for cheerleaders who just
accomplished something, and have them perform their new stunt in front of the
entire squad as their teammates cheer them on. Incentives can be big or small: just
keep in mind that incentives are to make your team members feel good about
themselves, and what they have accomplished.
4. Use friendly competition to stay on
track. Tread lightly here: if your team gets a little too competitive, this
may not be the route for you. Friendly competition can quickly turn mean, and
you do not want your team divided! But, if you think your team works well with
a little competition, you can split your squad into two teams, and have the
teams race to complete their goals first. Again, this really depends on your
squad–you do not want your team doing risky moves, or trying stunts too quickly
that can cause injury. Instead, team some of your new members up with team
veterans to compete on who can come up with a new cheer routine, or new chant
first. This can be a way to have new squad members meet returning cheerleaders,
and in turn, learn new skills and make new friends by working with them.
5. Use a change of scenery to revamp. If
you practice inside a gym all year round, take your cheerleaders outside on a
nice summer day, or to the beach for a cardio day. A change of scenery can
really pick up the team morale and motivation. Plus, doing something fun and
new with your team is a simple way to keep them happy.
Staying motivated is difficult, but making simple changes to your normal cheer
practice can keep your cheerleaders on their toes, and excited about coming to
practice. Cheers to having a great year, and keeping your team on track!
What else can cheer coaches do to achieve
team goals? What worked for your squad? Share your experience in the comments!