An athlete is an athlete, but a highly competitive athlete is a force to reckon with. Rough practices, mental blocks, and even worse, a stunt that didn’t stick or poor placement in a competition; out comes that competitive spirit. I’ve had my bouts with the three athletes I’m rearing. In the beginning you just don’t know what to say right? When they were younger there was tears. Now that they’re older I just get the silent treatment. What do you do? Well here’s a few things I learned along the way.
Choosing words wisely was the first lesson I learned. There’s power in the tongue; words can either make or break a child
I know it sounds cliché but it’s the truth. Telling my child “you are one of the best players on the team” certainly didn’t work. It caused my athlete to feel animosity toward the rest of the team. Changing that on the next child and saying, “you were awesome” didn’t quite work either. However, after talking with a great coach about these moments I’ve learned to simply say “I’m proud of the way you…” Doesn’t matter what it is, in cheer it could be the way they smiled, it could be fighting through a drop, whatever it is, celebrate that, but choose the words wisely.
Being competitive is not a bad thing but being overly competitive can be a bit too much and even foster poor sportsmanship.
Focus on the positives after a competition. “I know your team didn’t place where they wanted but you all certainly improved on those jumps. What do you think you could do different?” This way you’re not avoiding talking about the failure, just redirecting their focus to the positive and pushing them toward solutions.
Fox 5 Atlanta reports that when Sprayberry High School Junior Nalah Tann-Wilson found out why some of her friends weren’t planning to attend Homecoming this September she gathered some of her fellow cheerleaders and stepped in to help.
“They said they just couldn’t afford it,” said Tann-Wilson. “I saw that most schools in Cobb County, 40% of their population is on reduced lunch and I thought, well, if you can’t afford lunch every day, how can you afford a dress for one night? So I knew we had to do something to help,” she added.
Nalah and her fellow cheerleaders had the support of their school, who designated a space to host the “dress closet” at the Marietta, GA high school. Nalah used Facebook (finally, a positive use of social media) to rally up donations and the cheerleaders even created a “Dress Closet Club” to solicit more volunteers to help with organizing and sorting. Nalah and her friends were able to collect 30 dresses during their first drive this past July. Nalah’s goal is to collect 100 dresses for homecoming; the club welcomes all new or gently-used ready-to-wear dresses or gowns. The “Dress Closet Club” plans to host another drive at Sprayberry High School later on in the school year for prom dresses.
BGC is very proud of you ladies—keep up the good work!
What charitable activities or community service are the athletes in your gym involved with? Shout em’ out…
,unfortunately, am no cheer professional,
I’m a cheer mom who simply wants to help my athlete reach her goals. First on her list is heading off to college. For parents preparing to send a child into college cheer there are many questions. I dug in to try and find some of the most popular suggestions and things to consider.
Colleges are different, especially when it comes to cheer, and you want the squad to be a fit.
Look into cheer camps and clinics at schools of interest. Often times, universities hold camps or clinics for middle and high school students. Check to see if the clinic coaches are from schools of interest and sign her up! Not only does this allow her to learn more skills and showcase her talent but it allows her to meet and interact with other athletes and university coaches.
A major aspect of college cheer, that is unlike most other collegiate sports, is there is
less university recruiting, which means we have to scout them. Attend performances and games but make sure to observe the squad interaction too. Pay attention to the coach and how they mesh with the squad. Watch some video footage, view the skill level and the style of routine and choreography.
After interactions and viewing the multitude, narrow down options and look at the logistics. Do they offer scholarships? Do they offer the academic program your athlete is interested in? How many new cheerleaders are they looking to place? When are try-outs? What are the requirements? Be sure to keep options open for your athlete. Try out for more than one squad when possible.
It’s torture, that is for me anyway…to watch your child struggle. It’s been a whole year, she’s learned the posturing leading up to skill execution, but she just over. Or what about when she had it, but suddenly, it’s gone. She knows she can do it and you can tell she’s frustrated because she feels like she should be able to do it too. The only way she’ll throw the skill is if the coach slightly touches her back.
She’s got what is called a mental block.
How can you help her get past it? What can a parent do to help? BGC parents have asked in the Facebook group these same questions. I can relate! Been there, seems to happen for my child with each new skill. So, I watched as BGC responded. Here are the top responses:
Have them watch others tumble, watch video tutorials online.
Sometimes it’s about relaxing. Does she need a mental break from tumbling?
Try private lessons with a different coach that uses a different approach.
Build her confidence; i.e., Inspirational quotes and words of encouragement daily (the more the merrier). Maybe have her help teach lower skill levels, helping others is a confidence booster.
Patience is the key, it will take some time.
One thing I learned while reading posts and replies from the BGC group, is that all athletes are not the same.
What works for one athlete may not work for another. If one suggestion does not work, try another. Like many, my daughter reached a mental block that lasted over a year. I tried advice from her coach and multiple suggestions from parents, including bribery. However, the best advice I found was not giving up.