Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Failures are expected by losers, ignored by winners."

– Joe Gibbs

Monday, July 7, 2008

What defines success?

What defines success?

Is it the 2 min 30 sec routine at Nationals? Is it having the highest team GPA? Is it not having any members leave during the season and forming a tight team bond?

On my college team, I define a successful season as one where my girls grew as a team – in the areas of responsibility, leadership, communication, academics, self-discovery and self-confidence.

Success in the classroom is crucial. I remind my team that they are students before athletes. How did they compare to the other athletic teams at the university?

Success on the competition floor brings recognition to the university and a feeling of team accomplishment. As long as the team improved over the previous year's placement, they should feel successful as a competitor.

Success in the community can be measured not by the quantity of community service events in which the team participated, but what was taken away by the team. At the Boys & Girls Club, did a little boy's face light up after a squad member read his favorite book for the 4th time in a row? At the women's shelter, did the homeless woman's barely audible "thank you" hit the heart of a team member? Community service events expose your team members to situations and experiences they may never have seen otherwise – they are a win-win situation for both the team and the organization for which your team is volunteering.

Personal success can be measured by the amount of individual growth experienced by each team member. Did they make better decisions, take charge of a situation, improve athletically, and tolerate team members' differences?

Success within the team can be measured by the amount of fun they had. At the end of the year, I put together a video of still photos from the beginning of the year to the end, including all events, games, projects, team bonding socials, etc… Were the team members smiling and laughing and having a good time in the photos? If so, you can believe their overall season was enjoyable.

This past year, we overcame a team member who failed a random drug test (she took a friend's ADHD medicine to help her "focus" on studying for midterms) 2 unplanned pregnancies, a questionably faked injury one day before Nationals (was she embarrassed that this team wasn't as good as her previous school's team?), a death of a parent, and several other obstacles. But the key word here is overcame. The team grew as a team and as individuals. They worked hard on and off the mat, and were proud of their performances on the court and at competition. New friendships were made and lifetime bods were formed. Yes – I'd say the season was a success.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Cheering in college

Cheering in college

Pretty much all colleges and universities have cheerleaders, whether or not the school competes. First and foremost, you have to decide why you want to cheer in college. Do you want to cheer, just to compete? If that is the case, cheering in college might not be the right choice for you. Being a cheerleader on a college team is completely different than cheering on a high school or all star team. In addition to regular practices, you most likely have team conditioning and training practices, as well as appearances and events. The commitment is much higher once you get to cheering at the college level. You have to commit to supporting intercollegiate athletics – that means cheering on your team at all games. College athletes are much more focused on their sport at the college level, and as a cheerleader, you need to make the same commitment as these other student-athletes.