Thursday, November 10, 2016

Keeping The Spirit ALL YEAR!

Tryouts in May, Camp and Practices in July & August, School, and Football Games run from September to November, Winter Tryouts in November, Basketball Games, and Competitions from December through March. Nine months is a LONG time to keep kids motivated.  Even longer if you don’t have the second tryout in November.  Keeping your athletes from getting bored is an art!  There are many, many ways to help them stay motivated and excited all year long.  Here are just a few.

No Cheering Allowed!
No Cheering Allowed
For one practice each month, have a team outing or gathering that has nothing to do with cheerleading.  Go bowling, roller skating, or have a team dinner and watch funny movies.  Have a rule that they are not to talk about cheerleading or wear anything cheerleading related.  It will be a bonding experience for them.  Play a game that is a variation on the baby/wedding shower game.  Give each girl a necklace or a pin and if anyone is caught saying the word Cheer, they lose their item.  The cheerleader with the most collected items wins.

Themed Practices
Have dress-up days.  One day we had a day where the cheerleaders had to wear the t-shirt of a different school to practice.  It could be any school, but they were not allowed to wear our school colors!  You can have superhero days, idol days, color days, etc.  The limits are endless.  Just make sure that they are safe for practice.

Team Bonding 
Have team bonding activities at least once a week at practice or instead of practice.  There are a million different bonding activities that range from mushy to sappy.  You can play games that force them to work together.  Sit in a circle and talk about things, such as; Why are you here? Why do you appreciate the person next to you? What is your favorite commercial? Etc?

Community Service & Volunteering
If they can work together off the field they will be amazing on it.  Taking time away from cheer to help others and spread kindness can really help to motivate a stagnant team.  It gives them goals to work toward that are not skill based and are very attainable.  This section is brought to you by the letter C.
Weekly Praise
Weekly Praise
Choose a stuffed animal or a trophy to give out to a cheerleader each week.  This traveling trophy can be a source of motivation.  Give it out to the best all around cheerleader from the week.  They take turns with it and on Friday when the new winner is announced they can ceremoniously hand it over.  Take a picture of each week's winner and make a collage at the end of the year.  If your mascot doesn’t lend to a good animal or trophy you could use a stuffed COW.  For Cheerleader of the Week!

Rotating Captains
Until your team votes or your captains are chosen you could have a captain for a day.  The daily choice can lead stretches, take turns calling chants, choose the dance or material to work on that day.  They could even take turns teaching the team material or bringing the team a snack.  You may like this setup so much you will keep it all year long!

Team Journal
Each week, sit down with a notebook and your team and have them contribute comments, notes, anecdotes, and stories from the week.  Have someone write them all down and then journal them.  At the end of the season put them together and give a copy to team members to remember the season.  You could also do this with a Video Journal.  You could film throughout the week and at the end, they could each take turns talking about the week.

Material Update

Take a look at your chant lists for both Football and Basketball.  Are you in need up updating them? Take some time in between seasons to review and remove any that are no longer effective, or simply not fun.  You may have some football chants that you can change up the words to and carry into basketball.  You could break your team into small groups and have them come up with one revision and one new chant. Then they all could take turns teaching their chants.

When trying to motivate your cheerleaders, make sure you stay motivated too.  Your enthusiasm for the sport carries through to your team.


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