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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I happened upon your blog while looking for an answer to this question (hope you can offer your insight.) On a high school cheer squad that consists of freshman through seniors (small school)...should the captain position be offered to returning Juniors and Seniors or just Seniors only? Thank you in advance for your time and expertise.