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!