Whether you are a competitive cheerleading team or strictly a sideline performing squad, at some point in your cheer career your squad or sport team will likely be on the losing end. While that may seem like a bummer, it is a part of competition and there are actually quite a few positives that any team can take away from a loss! Season Approach Before the football, basketball and cheer competition seasons even start; assess the true meaning of your year, and all the ways that you can be a winning team. Recognizing your accomplishments, outside of competitions, will help your team have a winning perspective. Some ways you can be winners include: Reaching your fundraising goals. Helping your community reach a goal. Learning all you can at camp. Working as a team to keep all members’ grades above average. There are plenty of other team and personal goals that you can set before the cheer year starts. Work with your team and your coach to sort out all the possibilities. Winning Perspective It isn’t ALL about winning! Chances are, your team achieved so many things in their latest performance, regardless of the end results. Take a second look at your experience, and you’ll probably notice that your team: achieved personal goals achieved team goals had a great experience and made forever memories worked and grew as a team Getting second place or lower could be the fire you need to work even harder next time – losing motivates! It is also important for a team to never lose their sportsmanship. If you lose on the mat, you can still win with your attitude. Always respect the decisions of the judges or officials, and always take the time to sincerely congratulate the winners. It may not always be easy to do, but that team worked really hard too and they deserve your congratulations as much as you would have deserved theirs if you had won. Learning From Losing Do an honest self and team assessment to determine what caused each loss. Losing stings, but walking away from a loss without trying to learn anything about how you can approve makes it even worse. Make time for a post game or competition analysis. If you were at a competition consider: The overall level of talent of the other teams. Your team’s execution of stunts and tumbling. The level of effort and passion from your team. Thinking about these things honestly will help the entire team focus on what needs to be improved for future competitions. If you were cheering for a team that lost, it is easy to catch the “Debbie Downer’ attitude that you may feel from the team and the crowd. As a cheerleader though, it is your job to raise everyone’s spirits! Use every loss to try out new spirit methods and see which ones get everyone back in a good mood.