I have read that the secret to success is the ability to adapt, adopt, and cope. These words can apply to all professions—including coaching. As coaches we must be able to adapt to our surroundings, our cheerleaders, and our individual situations. We learn to adapt to our school environments, our gym environments, and our competition environments. We understand that we must be willing to be flexible with people and facilities. We must adapt in order to get the most out of ourselves and our cheerleaders.

We must build upon existing knowledge and information that is constantly evolving (think new skills and rules). We adopt what we already know to incorporate it into what we are learning as we navigate the multi-faceted world of cheerleading and coaching.

It is our ability to cope that defines us best as coaches. We cope with multiple layers of information that must be assimilated into our coaching world. We know we don’t just coach kids—we work with parents, administrators, assistant coaches, competition companies, etc. How well we adapt, adopt, and cope may well determine our success as a coach.

As you near completion of the 2013-2014 cheerleading year, think back on how well you have adapted, adopted, and coped with all the joys and challenges of coaching cheerleaders. What will you do to build upon and to learn from those successes and failures for next year?



The month of January is named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions. Janus is usually depicted as a two-faced god as he looks forward to the future and backward to the past. We often think of January as a beginning–a chance to make resolutions and changes. According to experts, the two most common resolutions are losing weight and organizing. Organizing has been discussed in previous newsletters, but we have not discussed the importance of organizing time for ourselves.

Coaches are so involved in the day to day management of their teams that they often don’t think about taking time for themselves. Stress and tensions that build up can be a heavy burden–a burden that can hamper your coaching. Medical professionals suggest finding healthy ways to reduce pent-up stress. To alleviate stress and to promote good emotional health, making time to be alone or making time to self-pamper is important. This can include activities such as facials, manicures/pedicures, massages, and long walks. Even a long bubble bath can help!

Your needs are important. Finding time for stress-reducing activities will help you return to coaching refreshed and relaxed. This is a resolution we all should keep!

Posted in Uncategorized. Leave a Comment »

NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH: Don’t be scared; be prepared!

September is National Preparedness Month. The state of Alabama has a website (Ready Alabama) with useful information about being prepared for disasters. Your state has a preparedness site, too. Are you ready for a disaster in your gyms or with your school teams? NCSSE and AACCA have advocated for years the importance of emergency planning and disaster planning. The following information has been adapted from the READY information on the Ready Alabama website. It does not matter where you live–disasters and emergency situations can strike at any time. Are you ready?


  • Do you have a gym preparedness checklist?
  • Do you regularly check fire extinguishers and smoke alarms?
  • Do you have an evacuation plan?
  • Is your staff trained in CPR and first aid?
  • Is your computer data backed up regularly and are your important papers located in a safe place?
  • Have you videotaped your assets for insurance claims?
  • Have the local and fire departments walk through your facility for a safety check.


  • Develop an Emergency Action Plan.
  • Practice the plan.
  • Review the plan regularly.
  • Post the plan and distribute copies to all staff, cheerleaders and parents.
  • Plan for procedures after a disaster– where to meet (after storm, fire), whom to contact, how to contact.

This is a very basic outline for preparing for a disaster. Check with your state and local officials to ensure you are prepared!

So Simple It’s Stupid

Good video on concussion management

The Concussion Blog

I have posted many a video about concussions here on the blog but this one (thanks to Tommy Dean) may be the best for its pure simplicity and message about management;

People need to understand that concussions don’t have to involve a hit to the head.  I have seen throngs of people on Twitter and other places not grasping this.  Perhaps none more so in the product development sector; those very intuitive people with good ideas that think protecting the head will reduce concussions.  Be it a helmet addition, or better helmet, or those that want to remove helmets from the game, what they fail to grasp is that linear hits to the head with linear forces alone do not constitute the majority of concussion sequale.  The concussion comes as a result of a constellation of factors; the biggest of which is the acceleration/deceleration of the head, followed closely by…

View original post 210 more words

Posted in Uncategorized. 1 Comment »

Digital Resources for Cheer Coaches

We all have become accustomed to using digital applications that make our lives easier or more organized. Three resources that may enhance your coaching skills are Remind 101, Coach’s Eye, and NFHS Spirit Rules eBook.

Have you ever had a parent say, “You never told me this” or a cheerleader say, “I didn’t know what time to report”? Remind 101 can eliminate this problem. Remind 101 is an app that gives you the opportunity to text students and parents and to group text easily without sharing phone numbers. It appears this was devised with teachers in mind in order to keep students and parents updated in a safe manner without having to share phone numbers. Text messaging rates apply to the recipients of the message; messages can also be emailed. Students and parents set up their numbers by texting or emailing their numbers to a master account. Messages can only be sent to groups; this is a one-way system. The app has many uses for coaches: 1) it keeps a history of when and to whom texts were sent with the message, and the log cannot be deleted or edited, 2) texts can be scheduled to send any time, 3) this eliminates the perception of favoritism, inappropriate communication, or bullying. The app is available for Apple or android products. Coaching friends of mine used this app all summer to remind cheerleaders and parents of deadlines for payments, conditioning goals, tumbling goals, etc.

Coach’s Eye is a video analysis app. Coaches can record, share and compare videos of individuals and squads. The company website has tutorials to help you in using the app. Imagine having the ability to show individual improvement to each cheerleader using the split screen option, or using slow motion to point out exactly how and why a stunt works or doesn’t work–conveniently on your phone or tablet. A local coach uses this tool to video individuals after tryouts. She videos each jump and tumbling skill that needs improvement, discusses what and how to improve with each individual, and gives a date to report back. A few weeks later, the cheerleaders are videoed again performing the same skills as before. Now coach and cheerleader can see and analyze improvements. By now, you are thinking of all the ways you can use this app “to get better, faster!” The price is $4.99 from both the IOS App store and Google Play.

For school coaches, the NFHS has made the Spirit Rules available in ebook form through Google Play, iBooks, and Kindle readers. The rule book should be available later this month. The purchase price is $5.99. The Rule and Case books are together in one interactive app. This is a convenient resource to have on your tablets or phones.

So many apps are available to assist coaches–share your favorites with us!


July marks the halfway point for 2013. It’s a bit disconcerting to think that this year is half over, and we may not have done everything we had planned. Not to worry–there is still time left to get it all done! Organization is a great way to gauge progress and measure what is left to do. Devote a few days this month to organization–cleaning cheer closets and organizing filing cabinets.

There is something so revitalizing in cleaning out closets. It’s a wonderful way to remind ourselves of what supplies we have and in what condition they are. It’s a great feeling to unburden our closets of things we no longer need or things beyond repair.  Most discount stores sell racks for hanging clothes which you can use for uniforms, warm up, jackets, etc. Inexpensive bookcases can also be utilized for storage. Hanging shoe bags make great use of wall pace for cubbie-like storage. Maybe you have limited storage space. Use sturdy boxes or plastic bins (the clear ones are best), appropriately labeled, to store your supplies. While re-arranging and cleaning, remember to revise your inventory list. Having a functional, uncluttered cheer closet can make a big difference when you need to find cheer supplies quickly.

Getting paperwork organized can often be a daunting job, but it has to be done. As much as we like to promote “paperless” living, we know some documents must be printed and kept handy. Having a quality filing cabinet is a must. Whether for the school coach or the gym owner, invest in a sturdy cabinet–one in which the drawers slide easily and fully open and a cabinet that is fire resistant. Place the filing cabinet where it is handy to access so you will be more likely to use it. Use a label maker or a computerized label printing program to make file folder labels that are easily readable. You may want to specify drawers for personnel folders and drawers for business such as cheer vendors, competitions, etc. Keep a drawer(s) for archived folders. When cheerleaders leave your program, for whatever reason, have a place to archive their paperwork. If you have not already sorted through your 2012-2013 paperwork, this is a great time to clean out your files. At some point you will need to move archived paperwork to boxes that are clearly labeled and dated. Check with your school system or attorney to see how long you are required to keep certain paperwork.

Organizing your cheer files and cheer closet will remind you of supplies to be purchased and document updates that need to be made. July is a great time to tackle these jobs. You will reduce potential opportunities for stress in the fall and have your paperwork in order. What could be better!


The National Safety Council has declared June National Safety Month.  This year’s theme is Safety Starts with Me. The National Safety Council also has themes for each week: 

1.  Trips and Falls Prevention

2.  Employee Wellness

3.  Emergency Preparedness

4.  Ergonomics 

All of us can do our part in promoting safety in our school and gym programs. Even though Week 1 has passed, we should be aware of problems with our mats and floors. Remove clutter, clean mats and floors, and continue to survey your practice area for possible problems.  

Week 2 focuses on employee wellness. We often forget to take time for ourselves. I hear coaches and assistants comment on their aches and pains throughout the season. June is a perfect time to relax a bit and take care of yourself. Allow your joints and muscles to mend, read that book you’ve been meaning to, and enjoy your family. When the new season begins shortly, you will find your time for yourself very limited.  

Week three’s emphasis is on emergency preparedness. This is a good time to review your emergency action plans and revise procedures as necessary. With every new season, remember to post your plans, practice your plans and document your practices.    

Week 4 involves ergonomics. In active coaching it is important to make sure we reduce risks of injury to ourselves and our athletes. Think about your risk factors–repetitive exertion on the hands, back and legs, frequent lifting, pushing or pulling, and awkward body positions. Monitor yourself, your staff, and your athletes for possible problems. Emphasize the importance of proper body positioning, stretching, and conditioning.   

Make time this month to attend to safety as it applies to your program. Safety Starts with Me is not only a fitting theme for any cheer program, it is a great reminder that we are all responsibile for our own safety and the safety of our programs.