Is it your first year as a youth cheer coach?
Coaching a youth cheerleading team can be daunting if you’ve never coached a younger squad before. Champion Teamwear’s in-house cheer coach Chris Lara has the top 5 tips you should follow for your first year as head coach.
Be prepared for every practice
CL: Like any sport, it’s best to have a plan for practice. This makes the best use of your time and keeps everything on schedule. Starting out with stretching is always a good idea. Instill in them the importance of stretching while they are young to help avoid any injuries.
Don’t overload your squad with information
CL: Most youth cheerleaders have little to no experience, so really focus on the basics first: motions, jumps, and basic stunts. It might take some time for things to click, so be patient and let them absorb the information. Don’t be frustrated if you have to go over something a few times.
- Basic Motions- High V, Low V, Half High V (right and left), Half Low V (right and left), T, Half T, Right Punch, Left Punch, Touchdown, Low Touchdown, Daggers, Clap, Clasp
- Jumps– Toe Touch, Hurdler (right and left), Herkie (right and left), Double Toe Touch, Pike
- Basic Stunts- Thigh Stand, Shoulder Sit, Prep, Sponge, Extension, Cradle
Be friendly, but assertive
CL: As a coach, you should be positive and build your squad up. You can give constructive criticism and be stern without yelling or being mean. Your squad will appreciate you more and you’ll build respect from them. You want your squad members to feel comfortable with being able to talk to you about anything.
Make sure your cheers and chants are in-sync with the beat
CL: Again, most youth cheerleaders have little to no experience. Start slow and then progress as skill levels progress. Also, remember, it’s a team sport. You’re only as good as your weakest cheerleader so you should progress as a squad.
Explain the importance of pronunciation for cheers and chants
CL: Cheers and chants should rhyme or have a good rhythm to them. Motions should go with the words. Don’t overcomplicate things with big words or lots of motions. Sometimes the simpler it is, the cleaner and better it looks.