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.
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.