Enthusiasm is taught, and also contagious. As coaches, we try to teach our cheerleaders to lead their crowd. To lead they must set an example. To set an example they must see the example or understand the goal. Cheerleaders are a visual bunch. They feed off their surroundings. Their first contact with the material, event or project is the coach. If they see that their coach is excited or motivated about what they are doing, they will most likely be excited as well. As a coach, we have to sell it.
Recently my cheerleaders were asked to perform at a retirement party for a local dignitary that graduated from our school almost 40 years ago. When I was first asked to have them participate, I was skeptical of their reaction. I know that being involved was going to be a great experience for them and the retiree. I also knew that I had to sell that it was a privilege and an honor to be asked (which it was). I needed to find a way to connect what they were interested in and what our current traditions were with what the graduate would remember of cheerleaders in 1975.
The choreography was simple, I chose music from the era, put a dance to it that would be fun for the girls and fun for the crowd that was reminiscent of the 70’s, but challenging enough to keep with the skills we have now. I chose uniforms from our collection that they haven’t used in a few years so that the girls felt a little nostalgic. I also had them Google Farrah Fawcett so they could style their hair like hers. By taking the time to do all of these things, it made the girls feel more connected to the performance and the era. Because they had the connection, they were in turn excited and enthusiastic about the event.
With each practice, performance, fundraiser, charity event, assembly, etc. the coaches must be excited and enthusiastic about what they do. The cheerleaders will follow that lead and the enthusiasm will translate to the crowd. We must teach our cheerleaders to be enthusiastic about everything they do. Turn practices into creative games and squad competitions. Give them something to look forward to other than just showing up and working material and skills.
Over time you, the cheerleaders and the crowd will have more fun at events.