Leadership, defined, discusses the ability to motive a group of people to achieve a goal. As a cheerleading coach, it is your job to be a positive mentor for your team members. So what do you do when you are frustrated after a loss, or when your team makes a rookie mistake that costs you a win at a cheer competition? You have to be prepared to balance being a disciplinary figure without bullying or being negative. Never forget that these kids look up to you; they want to please you, and when they fail to do that they take it hard. Ditch The Negative Nancy Attitude Is your team being negative to each other, or in response to a loss? Chances are, they are getting that negative attitude from their leadership. Take a look at yourself and your staff, and try changing the way you deal with your athletes before you punish them – they are likely mirroring you! We know that you are going to insist on a bully-free zone regarding your athletes relationships with each other, and it is important that you maintain that standard for you and your staff’s relationship with the athletes as well. Redefine “Winner’ You want to be that coach that produces “winners’, but first you should take a look at your definition of winner. Getting the grand prize is an amazing achievement, and certainly a goal that your team should reach for, but there is so much more to competing than being the official winners. Make other goals as well, and consider congratulating your team on these points: achieved personal goals achieved team goals supported their team and the efforts of their competition worked together and grew as a team Don’t Be Disrespectful Respect goes both ways regarding the relationship between an athlete and their coach. Don’t think you deserve respect just because you are an authority figure. EARN your team’s respect by being a great coach that can control their temper and keep things at the “tough love” level without making your team question their valuable contributions to the team. Give them feedback that defines clear goals, instead of criticizing them and embarrassing them. The Adjustments & The Constants There is a certain amount of tactical adjustments that a coach must make; depending on which team member they are dealing with. One of the things that separate a good coach from a great coach is their ability to get to know their athletes and to be able to motivate them not only as a group, but also as individuals. The constant should be positivity. We are living in a society where it is more and more common that kids are being taught in environments that remove competitiveness. This is not a true reflection of the world they will face after school, but competition doesn’t have to include a negative attitude toward “losing’.