Make sure your team has a bond!
Do simple thing to build it throughout the season, like holding a monthly team-bonding event. It doesn’t have to be elaborate and it doesn’t have to always be super fun. Host a team dinner- something sentimental where everyone can get to know each other. It helps them create memories and helps you understand the athlete better. The best way to avoid team burnouts is to be able to read your cheerleaders and to see their limits. Bonding will allow them to feel more comfortable with one another and to feel like they have that team support if they needed it—which they will!
At practice, take the last 5 minutes once a week or every other week to talk to your team. Sit in a circle and ask how their week went. It’s like prying without even having to pry. Having the ability to actually be heard is going to make a HUGE difference. Allow them the opportunity to unload some of the weight off of their shoulders.
Switch it up
Having to do the same exact thing every single day is maddening. It’s a sure fire way to make anyone lose interest, and fast. Yes, it’s still early in the season and you have a routine to finish or to tweak, but you can still do this. Have a themed practice. If practice is going great, end it on a good note and either let them leave early or let them do something fun and not cheer related. Same goes for if you are having an awful practice. Consider stopping what you are doing, break it up, shake out the negativity, regroup and then get back to practice. If you allow them to feel like they had a failed practice, it is going to weigh on them and it will spread like a toxic mold. No one likes mold.
Bring in outside support
Enlist your team parents to help. Is this burnout coming from certain team members struggling with school work? Remember, your parents are your biggest allies. Your backbone. Use what your cheerleaders gave you during your weekly communication circle and let their parents know what is going on. Parents cannot help you if they aren’t aware of problems and if they aren’t asked to help. (Of course, this doesn’t mean certain things shouldn’t be confidential with your girls! Use your best judgement.)
Build them up
Sometimes you have to crumble in order to rebuild. I’m not talking Pompeii level destruction. Even the smallest bit of destruction is an opportunity to rebuild your squad into something bigger and more beautiful.
Continue to build.
As coaches, it is our job to show these athletes that they can achieve anything and everything with a little hard work and patience. Don’t be insincere, because that will hurt both you and them in the long run. Teach them about the power of honesty and constructive criticism. Make sure you are empowering them and praising them when they achieved something they couldn’t do, or when they are making great progress. Their confidence will help them to better deal with stress and juggling everything in their life. Let them know that you are their biggest supporter, the soldier standing behind them ready to fight for them, with them as well as beside them!
Focus on the present, not on the future. When you see the signs of burnout, don’t harp on how many days they have left until they compete or throw a list at them of everything that has to still be done. Leave the past practices or seasons where they belong—in the past. No need to bring up how amazing they were last season or how terrible practice went the day before. Be in the present and only the present.
Always remember to breathe. Bad days happen, bad months happen.—it’s all temporary.