Coaching is no easy feat, especially when things don’t go your way throughout the season. As a coach, you’re the one making the tough calls; the one that has to motivate the team to bounce back after a big loss; the one that has to make perfect arrangements for travel, ordering, etc. You have to be on your game at all times, with a whole team of kids and their parents depending on you, and that pressure compounds with whatever is going on in your personal life. Sometimes, you wish you could break down and cry, crumpled up into a ball on the floor, and swear off this whole coaching thing for good. But, there is something inside you that won’t let that happen. That little voice in your head saying that you can and WILL get through this isn’t you losing your mind–it’s you being a natural born leader.

Whether you believe it or not, you have led the team even before you met your squad. The minute that you signed up to coach cheer, you started making decisions to better your chances at winning those competition trophies, or wowing the crowd at halftime performances. Schools and organizations don’t fund your sport–your efforts do. Sure, the parents foot the bill, but you have to convince them that their money is being invested into the success of their child. You also have to fundraise strategically anywhere money falls short throughout the year. You balance budgets, you work within time constraints, and you jump through hoops to get the best deals on cheer gear. You are the one truly building the team’s foundation!

If that’s not enough, you’re also the go-to problem solver. Your team looks to you for not only guidance, but clarification on rules, routines, and more! You put in the hours to mold your athletes into competitors–both physically and mentally. As the coach, you set the tone for the team: you spell out squad decorum, and what will and will not be tolerated, both on and off the mat. You also let your cheerleaders know the repercussions that happen when they step out of line, and unfortunately, have to stick to punishments! The last thing you want to do is crack down a whip in an already overly demanding sport, but as a leader, you have to set the standard. Somebody has to wear the black hat, and that’s just ONE hat coaches have to wear.

To recap, you lead your team in finances, decisions, and demeanor, but that’s not all–you have to consistently come up with creative solutions. If you went into coaching not thinking outside the box, you sure do now! Routines aren’t just motions and stunts all thrown together; you have to consider what you’re team is capable of, how it can fit to music, and above all, throw in a wow-factor that either is rare, new, or straight unthinkable… without putting your cheerleaders at risk of injury, of course! That’s a tall order all in itself, let alone everything else you have to do.

So, when a bad score comes in, or anything else unexpected takes the wind out of your sails, cheer coaches have to remember that no matter what–win or lose–they are still leaders. There’s no easy way to go about a season, but you seem to do it year after year, and that is commendable. Keep your chin up, you’ve got this!

Are you a cheer coach? Share how you remain motivated and more in the comments!