Cheerleading, at any level, requires a large amount of practicing to get it right. It’s all about team cooperation, and building trust between teammates in order to flip, fly, fall, and catch each other without holding anything back. This is why team practices are important and downright mandatory. However, this could be a little daunting when the only facility that you have at your disposal for these necessary practices is too small–or worse yet, shared! Being part of a cheer team an expensive and time-consuming endeavor, both at competitive and sideline levels; because of this, sacrifices sometimes have to be made. For a myriad of reasons, one such compromise might be your practice space. So, if you ever happen to find your team facing one of these sticky situations, and here is what you can do: 

1. Your practice space is too small.
Sure, practicing outside during the summertime is always an option when it’s bright and sunny out, but what happens when it’s the dead of winter and your team needs to put in massive practice hours for upcoming competitions? A small gym space can seem detrimental for cheer teams that cater to tumbling or are large in number. But, what can you do? Like we said, cheerleading is already very costly between uniforms, miscellaneous cheer gear, team and travel fees, camp, and the list goes on and on–renting out a bigger practice space just doesn’t make the cut! Instead of dwelling on your limitations, try to focus on creative solutions: can you cut back on tumbling during team practices, and set up small group practices for the tumblers in a different setting? Can you put more vertical stunts in your routine? If you have a big team and you think separating practices for certain groups will fit best, try to unite your team in other ways, like in team bonding activities or special outings around town. In this way, your team will still acquire the trust it needs to function fluidly.

2. Your practice space is shared with another team.
This is common for sideline teams–your school only has one gym or football field, after all! In the fall, football players are milling about as you try to tumble and stunt; in the spring, watch out for basketballs flying around your heads! Cheer teams have to practice, so don’t get discouraged that you have to share your space as you do. One thing to keep in mind is that the other team feels the same way about sharing their practice space with you! In order for everyone to feel better about this arrangement (since this situation was undoubtedly chosen by the principal or other executive school administrator), do your due diligence as cheerleaders and make the other team feel welcome. Incorporate acknowledgment of the other team by cheering for them as they do their drills, or bringing goody bags of healthy snacks one day to show support. If you have a big Homecoming performance or other cheer event coming up on the calendar that is resulting in your team needing prolonged or uninterrupted practice hours, communicate that with the other coach and ask what they think is an adequate temporary solution for both teams. By putting the ball in their court (pun intended), it shows not only that you respect their opinion, but also that you are open for negotiating the best option for everyone involved.

How have you dealt with a shared or small practice space? What were some of your creative solutions? Tell us in the comments below!