Monday, April 22, 2013

Quality Control

Cleaning up your program’s image - PART ONE

When I took this coaching position 8 years ago, I was the fourth coach in 3 years.  The coach that started the 2004-05 school year quit mid-winter season and the athletic director had to step in and cover until the end of the year.  When I interviewed, one of the biggest concerns of the administration was that they girls have more discipline and we start to recruit more athletic and academic students to be cheerleaders.  They wanted a better image and less drama.  Through our discussions, we decided that the best way to do that was to develop a team handbook that covered all expectations and team rules.  We had a master set of rules that the administration could stand behind when parents had an issue.  We also decide to work very hard at keeping costs low to attract more of the less fortunate athletes that would excel in cheer.

We had a few issues come up the first two years with them pushing buttons and trying out the rules.  The girls on the team that were juniors and seniors didn’t want to follow the rules because they felt that the seniors before them were allowed to run wild.  They pushed the rules every chance they got!  There were parties that involved alcohol and strippers, there was fighting, drama, issues of language and disrespect for my and the rest of the team.  I went to the football coach, who had an incredible team of respectful and hard working players.  I asked him what I needed to do to get my cheerleaders on the write page.  He told me that I needed to stick with my rules.  Understand that I couldn’t change my Juniors and Seniors.  They were going to run wild and push buttons.  If I wanted to leave them on the team, I needed to just be ready to fight with them and pick my battles.  He told me that in order to turn the program around I needed to start with my underclassmen.  Treat them like I would when the program was run they way I wanted.  Show them how great it could be and get them to buy into what we were trying to do.  I struggled a little with the underclassmen.  They still saw the seniors breaking rules and being disrespectful and all I could do was ensure that things would get better once that class graduated.

The third year things started out rough.  My seniors from the year before went out with a bang and left a bad impression on the student body and teaching staff about cheerleaders.  They spoke bad about me and what I was trying to do.  When tryouts came along we only had 10 or so tryout.  I ended up taking 8 solid cheerleaders and one potential mess (she quit shortly before camp).  That year we decided to jump in with both feet and make the program a success.  With the exception of one girl, everyone on the team was brand new and never cheered before.  We started from scratch and made that everyone had the basics.  They were young, but they had great spirit.  They worked hard and did everything they could to be involved.  They didn’t want the same image of the teams before them and we rewarded them for that.  Each Monday we brought in snacks to the team to celebrate the successes of the previous week.  They were the first group of cheerleaders to get to cheer on boxes.  (Wooden boxes designed to raise the cheerleaders up about 18 inches to see over the football players on the sidelines.)  They were the first group in many years to get to travel with the football team to away games.  The girls started earning the respect of the teachers and a few of the students. They understood what they needed to and how they needed to do it.  That year we were able to attend the state cheer competition and became the 3A state runner ups in the show cheer and partner stunt divisions.  They saw success for the first time in a long time.  The cheerleaders and the school had something to be proud of.

For my “R” Blog, I will cover Respect and how to earn it.  I will go into detail about defining squad expectations and focus.  I will also explain the importance of your parent meetings and your evaluation skills.


No comments:

Post a Comment