Coaching any sport is a fun and exciting adventure. You are now in charge of the well-being of your athletes for multiple hours of the day while they perform some of the most dangerous stunts and tumbling tricks they will learn. There are many people looking at you to do your best for the team and for each cheerleader individually. The parents, the administration, the school‚ including other coaches, teachers and students‚ and, most importantly, your athletes are all looking for different things in a cheerleading program. The most rewarding part of coaching is being able to watch the growth of your athletes, team, and the program as a whole each year. Here are a few dos and don’ts for new and old coaches to ensure you continue to watch the growth of your program year after year. Do answer all questions and clarify any miscommunications. Do not elaborate. You definitely want to make sure you are clear and concise with anything you are asking of your team and especially the parents. However, there are times where the parents or cheerleaders may take something the wrong way. Miscommunications happen all the time. In emails, be straight and to the point without elaborating too much. Too many words can cause room for misconstruing what your intentions are. Do always have someone to contact at the school. Don’t depend on administration to take care of your problems. The administration is busy at all schools, whether they are elementary schools or high schools. Don’t go to the principal for all questions you have. Have a point person you can contact who will be helpful and knowledgeable. I have had an advisor for my programs in the past where a teacher is in charge of all paperwork coming from the office, getting in contact with the athletic director, and other administrative things. I have also been my own advisor in the past but made sure the athletic director and I had a very close relationship where he could answer any questions I may have. Do always have set practice days. Don’t always change them around. Consistency is very important in most adolescents’ lives. Having a consistent schedule where they know that they have practice every Tuesday and Thursday, for example, is a great way to teach them how to prioritize their school work, social lives, and other activities around their sport. It also allows for less attendance issues, not the mention the parents will appreciate the uniformity. Do always promote trying new things. Don’t ever shy away from using correct technique. While learning new stunts and tumbling tricks can be scary, always push your students to keep learning. Be knowledgeable about the correct techniques needed for specific stunts to ensure safety while growing your team’s skills. No one wants to do preps and extensions for an entire season. Do always have fun. Don’t ever lose your cool. Things happen, we are all human. You will always have “one of those days” where the students are acting up, the administration is getting on your case, or the parents are not happy with you. Never lose your cool. Taking a minute, or night, to sit on an issue will keep emotions out of important conversations. You can’t take words and actions back once you act on them.