Woah, who hit the fast-forward button on the school semester?? One second,
sideline season was just starting, and then–BAM–your cheer team is ramping up
to go to the playoffs. No matter if your school basketball and football teams
are making the cut or not, a cheer team has to be prepared for anything. And,
as a coach, it’s your job to make sure the transition from the regular season
into overtime goes smoothly if the time comes. This is no easy task,
considering that you have a million other cheer-related activities to take care
of, so we’ve made a checklist for cheer coaches to follow in order to avoid
letting anything fall through the cracks!
1. Change-up the routine. You’ve
been performing the routines you planned back in the beginning of the season,
so halftime routines (as well as a good chunk of the cheers and chants) have
gotten a little stale. If your school’s basketball or football team has secured
a playoff spot, why not act like your cheerleaders did, too? Shake up the
halftime show by pumping up the spectacle: add sparkly poms, trickier tumble
passes, or more personalized signage. Make the playoff games opportunities to
communicate the dedication your team takes to their sport and their school.
And, you better believe the players are going to notice the difference… and up
their game as a result!
2. Make an effort around the school.
Your school is in the running to grab a state or national trophy–make it known
that your cheer team is proud! Not all kids are athletic-oriented at school,
and championship games–although usually bolstering higher attendance–aren’t on
every student’s radar. You can get outlying students interested in the playoffs
by posting supportive signs around school, adding some fun blurbs to the
school’s morning announcements, or having your JV or freshman cheerleaders set
up something fun at the games–like a school spirit photo booth! Even if you
can’t get the whole student body to show up to the playoff games, the school
athletes will appreciate how your team is showing love off the field.
3. Mentally prep your
team. Your cheerleaders have had a fun season, and there’s nothing like
ending the season with a title! However, your cheerleaders need to be prepared
for a big loss just as much as a big win. If you have new cheerleaders on the
team, they might not understand the pressure these athletes are under until
it’s too late; if the basketball or football players end their senior season on
a loss, there will be tears. Seeing the athletes that you’ve cheered for all
season break down like that can be more than disheartening, and cheerleaders
can feel that they played a part in the loss–like they didn’t pep them up
enough. It may seem petty to assure your cheerleaders that, win or lose, they
did a great job, but it might be necessary in order to keep your team uplifted
for next season.
4. Fit in some fun. Your
cheerleaders are ready to buckle down and get serious about their sideline
cheering, now that it’s being taken to the next level with playoffs. And,
playoffs are not the time and place to have your cheerleaders slack off.
However, it is necessary to fit fun into the mix as you go, whether that be
with silly games in between quarters or off the field with a team slumber party
or pizza night. Whatever you think is best for your cheer schedule, make sure
your team bonds in a festive end-of-season way!
How else can cheer coaches prep for
playoffs? Share your playoff experiences with us in the comments!