I have heard it said a thousand times, “I just wish a parent understood where
we are coming from.” It’s a true statement though. I believe I can safely say
that anyone who has coached any sport has had that thought at least once. Why
is it that we say that, but never actually take the time
to allow them to understand?
Have you ever attempted to break it down to them? If not, feel free to print
this out, leave my personal email address and let me take care of this.
Parents, you should know this sport requires dedication.
The majority of the athletes rely on you to get them where they need to be, to
pay for the things they need and to relay information that is valuable to them.
Cheerleading is a team sport and lucky for you, the moment you signed your offspring
up, you became part of the team
as well! Congratulations! Welcome to the team.Why are we so strict on lateness?
As I stated, cheerleading is a team sport. No,
it is NOT like any other sport. Each cheerleader is one piece of a giant
puzzle. Without that piece, the puzzle is not–and cannot be–complete. If
they’re late, time is being taken away from the people who showed up on time.
That could have been an additional 20 minutes that the stunt needed to finally
get it to work properly and beautifully. If you run late on an occasion, fine.
A heads-up can make a world of difference. If you are constantly running late,
well I just don’t know what to say. When I am late, it causes my entire day to
be ruined. Perhaps you should write a counter-piece explaining to me why and
how you are okay with always being late, because I just don’t get it. (Coaches,
you could always tell these parents an earlier time; I started doing it and it
works wonderfully.)Why are we so strict on absences?
We can’t just sub someone out and still have it
together. It just doesn’t work that way. We don’t have starters or others who
sit on the bench. We don’t have an understudy who learns each part of a two
minute and thirty second routine. If they are not there, well you just took away
a valuable puzzle piece. “Susie was sick though, Coach Brittany.” Listen. We
are not asking for them to tumble or to jump around and risk throwing up. We
are asking that they just show up
. Take some Tylenol, come in pajamas, bring a
blanket and a pillow and just be there. If your cheerleader can lay on the
couch, Snapchatting on their phone ‘#feelslikedeath #bingewatchingnetflix’, then
they can sit at practice and see what is being taught. Most coaches have a plan
of action. An unexpected absence throws a wrench into that. If the reason is
valid, it is valid and the coach will understand. Missing a competition. Ugh.
This literally just hurts my soul. It’s impossible. Unless it is an extreme
emergency, there is just no excuse for your cheerleader to ever miss a
competition without giving your coach ample notice to work around it.
Attendance policies are not just in place for our amusement; they’re meant for
the best of the team and your cheerleader. Lack of dedication and lack of
showing up can create some serious tension between the team. It’s something we
hate when it happens, but we unfortunately understand why it does. Most of us
coaches volunteer our time to be there with your cheerleader and their team.
Other parents volunteer their time to get their cheerleader to practices and
competitions. If you are serious about this sport, you will find a way.Why do you have to switch the routine when a cheerleader can’t
Again, cheerleading is not like other sports. We
don’t have back-ups to just throw in there for a one-time purpose. It wouldn’t
be fair to those girls who are there day in and day out hoping for a chance to
be on the team permanently. Is there a chance your cheerleader will lose their
spot? Honestly, yes. If we rework the routine because we have to, everything
falls into place better and they perform ridiculously better than your
cheerleader did, they can and will lose their spot. It’s not a sport for favoritism.
It’s not out of spite–it’s what is always best for the team. The show must go
on.Why do you constantly make changes?
Did you ever take notice to the table or stage
that the cheerleaders are facing when they are on the cheerleading mat? No? Take
a look. There are people there. Those people are called ‘judges’. They hold the
fate of our team in their hands. We cater to what they want, just as you would
do if you were to receive a quarterly review from your boss. If we were to
leave things in that were less than perfect, we aren’t doing our job. We aren’t
doing what is best for those girls to set them up for disappointment when it
could have been avoided. Plus, think on the bright side: it meant that your
cheerleader progressed, and is able to learn new and harder skills.What is on the score sheets? “But, those scores look good to me!”
HA HA! You want to learn about score sheets? How
to read and translate the cheer language that the judges speak? Great, do you
have a month for me to teach you? We are judged on so many different categories
and subcategories. Those categories have guidelines and rules. You need four different
skills, two elite in order to receive a ‘higher’ end score on that score sheet.
There’s just too much to teach, I am sorry. Those who glance and go, “oh, that
9.3 looks good to me.” You are not looking at it right. You see that 9.3 out of
10. In your head, it is 1-10. Your head is wrong. That 9.3 is honestly a .3 out
of a max score of 1. Not looking hot now is it, Nancy?
We aren’t mean–well, most of us aren’t. What you
see is being mean is us pushing: pushing your child out of their comfort zone
so that they can reach the potential we know they are able to reach. It is not
mean that I do not lie to them and tell them they looked absolutely amazing
when the truth is they were a 3 out of 10. That’s called honesty. It’s genuine.
Me not lying will have them knowing when they did do amazing, and trust me, it
will mean more to them than me saying “great job” when I did not mean it.
We, as coaches, wish parents understood. Yet, parents will never be able to
. You can’t explain your feelings, your bond or your emotions.
Saying and explaining certain areas of our world is hard, but can be done. Parents
actually grasping those words and fully understanding them is another thing. It
goes through one ear and flows out the other, because it’s not something they
deal with on an everyday basis. What we can do is try. Remember that parents
don’t know the ins and outs, and have a bit of patience with them. Be honest
Parents, please do the same. Take a moment and step outside of the
parent role, and put yourself in our shoes. If you don’t get it, ask. If you’re
mad at how we act or at something we do because you don’t fully understand, why
don’t you give yourself 24 hours to calm down and come to us? If you are just
going to nag and complain, expect the same treatment you give us. You know,
where it goes through one ear and right out the other? We may nod, but trust
me, it’s not sinking in.Cheer coaches, how do you break it down for parents? Let us know in the