Cheer CoachLeading a cheerleading squad that includes siblings might leave you nervously worrying about having to deal with sibling rivalries and family issues, but fear not"”having siblings on the same team proves advantageous if handled well by the leader. Keep these tips in mind to have a strong season:

Set ground rules: At the beginning of your season, have a meeting with the siblings on your team. Let them know that you understand the familial relationship that they share, and that you understand the advantages of their siblinghood for your team as well as some concerns that are specific to family relationships. Make sure that they understand that drama is not allowed in the gym when they attend practice. Many coaches set the rule: "leave it at the door". During practice, the only thing team members should focus on is cheerleading.

Don't compare: Often, people are expected to be just like their siblings, when in fact, it is not the case. It's important to see each member of the team, especially siblings, as individuals. Team members each have their own strengths and weaknesses that make them valuable to the team. By seeing members as individuals who work together and form one team, siblings will feel like they are being treated equally and perform in unity for great teamwork.

Encourage Strengths, Work on Weaknesses: It's natural for one sibling to be more advanced in certain skills than the other. When that happens, it's important to remind the other sibling that they are doing well or making progress and that she has her own set of advantages that contribute to the team. This will prevent any sibling jealousy when they focus on their own strengths and progress on turning weaknesses into strengths.

Healthy Competition: Siblings can bring out the best in each other when they are put on the same team. Encouraging healthy competition between siblings will help them to grow as teammates when they are constantly pushing each other to improve. In addition, siblings will be able to support each other by giving tips and honest feedback without being as easily offended. Not only will they grow as cheerleaders, they will also strengthen their bond as siblings when they experience the growth together.

Utilize the Trust Bond: Siblings have a deeply rooted sense of trust with each other, which is perfect for stunting. Successful stunting requires strong trust between stunt group members so they can feel comfortable knowing their teammate will be there to catch them after being tossed into the air. By utilizing the trust that siblings share, putting them into the same stunt group is a great way to make your cheer squad even stronger emotionally and in performance.

As a leader, see to it that each member of your cheerleading squad is seen as an individual who contributes to the team as one whole. By channeling the support and trust that siblings share, you will be able to form a stronger team of cheerleaders.

What tips do you have for leaders of cheer squads that include siblings?