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I remember my first year as a cheer coach. I was lost, overwhelmed, and stressed out to the max.

I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing. And I don’t know about you, but that TERRIFIES me … like a lot.

So if you’re a first year cheer coach (or just pretty new), I thought I’d give you a jump on things. This video gives my recommendation for the four major things you need to take care of straight out of the gate so you can be the best coach you can be.

1. Understand the scope of your job

Cheerleading coaches have a ton of stuff on their plates. You’ve gotta organize camp, plan fundraisers, run practice, wrangle a bunch of teenage girls, make carpools, communicate with parents, and make your team into stellar athletes and leaders. That is a big task to tackle.

So work with your supervisor–whether that’s an athletic director or some other administrative person–to develop an understanding of the full scope of your job. You can’t do what you don’t know you’re responsible for. So you want to make sure you’ve got an idea of what needs to happen so you can prioritize.

They wrote the job description, and hopefully you can work with them to flesh it out. I would even ask the administrator for a parent you should talk to that’s been through it all a year or two. They can be really helpful in figuring out what everything has looked like in the past.

2. Don’t lose sight of the skills you already have

Look, just because you’re new to cheerleading doesn’t mean you don’t have anything to offer your team already. It’s easy to look at the crazy skills and peppy cheers and think that you’ve got nothing to give, but it’s SO not true.

Whatever your other jobs or background you have are useful in coaching. For example, I’m a writer in my other job which means I’ve got communication skills and can plan and organize thoughts. I apply that to planning practices and how to teach certain skills and I can communicate with parents and cheerleaders pretty well.

If you’re a teacher, then you’ve already got classroom management, teaching, and administrative skills that will help you a ton in your role as a coach.

You’ve got the goods. Now go get ’em!

3. Know your weaknesses and fill them in

We’ve all got weaknesses. Mine are easy relationship building and letting the girls talk too much (to overcompensate for my lack of relationship skills). It doesn’t mean I can’t do it all. It just means I may need some help in that department.

Maybe you’re new to cheerleading all together. That means you may need to have someone help you fill in the gaps. This is where captains, assistant coaches, or even (on occasion and mostly for administrative items) a parent come in. Find who has what you need and bring them along with you.

As you gain experience, you’ll gain some of those skills too. And it’s always good to have an ally on the overwhelming days

4. Find opportunities to learn

The fact that you’re here already means you’re working on this one. A good coach is constantly seeking to improve.

That’s why you should make it a priority to find places to learn. There are coaching conferences, blogs (like this one :) ), and even courses you can take. I’ve got one all about cheerleading stunts designed specifically for coaches.

I even suggest that you put continuing education into your budget. It’ll pay dividends in the end when you can keep your team safer and stronger, and it shows parents and supervisors that you’re serious about being a great coach to your team.

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