Balancing Your Cheer Schedule with Another Sport

by omni

Many athletes in school participate in more than one sport, including cheerleaders. Many high school cheerleaders are also on another school team, like soccer, tennis, basketball, softball, lacrosse, swim, volleyball or other sport. As cheerleaders know, the cheerleading lifestyle and schedule demands enough time as it is, but now you have to find time for another sport’s schedule. In order to attend practice, games, and competitions for both, you’ve got to know how to juggle two different team schedules. Preparing Whether you’ve already made the cheer squad and another sport’s team or you’re considering joining another team, the first thing you have to do is look at the schedule and then decide if you’ll have time for both. For many school squads, cheerleading is a year-round commitment; there is no off-season! However, for squads that don’t compete, the schedule is lighter from December through April. Think about the other sport you’re joining: when is its season? Is it year-round or only during one season? From there, you can plan ahead and figure out what season will be your busiest. If you know ahead of time which season will require more time for your sports, consider cutting back on other commitments. Are you involved in a club? Do you help plan prom or another big school event? If so, you may need to take a step back from these duties. If you try to do everything, you’ll spread yourself thin and your grades and/or athletic abilities will suffer. While this isn’t recommended for most students, if you are really passionate about sports and want to pursue it as a career, you may want to take a lighter load of classes. Maybe during fall semester you don’t take honors courses or you choose not to take the AP test. While academics are important, we understand that some athletes want to make a career out of their sport. Make sure you notify both coaches of your commitments. They should know as soon as possible that you’re on two teams. This will help them plan things more in advance so they can notify you ahead of time of any important dates. Also, you’ll need to talk with the coaches on how many practices you’re allowed to miss. You may discover that one coach isn’t okay with you being on another team or that you cannot miss any practices in order to participate in games or competitions. Planning When the season for two sports begins, you must keep a day planner with you at all times; it will be your life raft. Write down all practice sessions, games, competitions, and additional required activities (like fundraising) for the entire season. This will help you see right away if there are any conflicts, like a game for one sport and a practice session for another. If you do see a conflict, immediately notify your coaches. If there is a game on the same day as a practice session for the other sport, see if you can miss that practice. Or, see if you can attend the first or second half of the game and the first or second half of practice. In the end, you may have to decide which one is more important. Surviving Once you’ve got a plan in place, it’s time to successfully get through the season! Understand that in order to give 100% to both sports, you may have to cut back on social activities with friends and family. Your weekends might be reserved for practice or catching up on homework and studying. You may not have time to watch your favorite TV show or go to the movies on Saturday. However, these are the sacrifices of having a busy schedule. Don’t let yourself fall behind in school or in your sports. Always strive to be a great teammate and a great student. If you find yourself having trouble keeping up with everything, talk about it with someone, whether it’s your parents, a teacher, or coach. Don’t let yourself fall behind before asking for help. If you start feeling stressed or worried that you won’t be able to do everything, ask for help. Your teacher may be willing to extend a deadline or a coach may let you miss half an hour of practice in order to study for a test. In the end, your parents, coaches, and teachers want to see you succeed! Do you play two sports? How do you handle multiple schedules?

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