There are so many things that go into coaching, especially when coaching a high-impact, high-intensity sport like cheerleading! Cheer coaches have to be knowledgeable of tumbling and stunting, of motions and choreography, of safety and regulations, combined with an insurmountable amount of passion and dedication for the sport. Cheer coaches have to be properly trained in order to keep their little cheerleaders from getting hurt as they participate and grow as athletes; they also need to know what to do when injuries unexpectedly happen. There is a lot of pressure on a cheer coach’s shoulders, on top of the fact that they have to act as a levelheaded, approachable confidant towards their athletes–a problem-solver, a mediator, a mentor to any age group or cheer level.

With so many constituents that make up a cheer coach’s job description, one could question whether or not a college degree is also a necessity. Does it make or break a team? Just like if cheer experience is required to be able to coach effectively, it is debatable if going to college really makes a difference in being a true team leader. College brings a lot of life lessons to light, and even though people opt to major in all different areas of study, most general education curriculums expose undergraduate students to certain aspects of business through required elective courses. By graduation, a college student will have taken several classes connected to leadership, creativity, and communication–all of which are essential elements of a cheer coach.

Now, some people do not have the means to attend college beyond a community college level, but even there, they could acquire an Associate’s Degree with general knowledge of key subjects involved in cheer. Balancing a team bank takes accounting and math skills; clear communication with parents is needed for travel teams; a team fundraiser can only be successful through strategic advertising and marketing. Since responsibilities for a cheer coach range so greatly, a college degree will cover all the fundamental bases without having to obtain extra training on top of the mandatory cheer and safety certifications.

Yet, no matter how much or little collegiate years you have under your belt, a person doesn’t entirely know what it takes to be a cheer coach until they are put in that position. Getting hands-on experience always means a little trial and error, with exponential room to grow in a cheer coach’s first year. You can’t just step into the role and win championships! It takes a lot of work, whether you bring prior cheer experience to the table or not, and you either have a coach’s drive or not. Not everyone can coach. What’s important is putting your athletes first, and your ego second. If you are aspiring to coach a cheer team, you will have to put in the time and effort to learn all that you can, both in the sport and in being a leader; how you go about obtaining this knowledge is up to you.

Do you think a college degree is required to coach cheerleading? Tell us your opinion in the comments!