Friday, December 4, 2009

How to be a good cheerleader

Cheerleading has come such a long way since its founding. There are so many aspects to cheerleading, so much more to it than standing on the sidelines and looking cute.

Cheerleading is no longer about pompoms and short skirts. Today's cheerleader is competitive, intelligent, athletic, and persevering.

To be a good cheerleader takes a lot of hard work. It takes dedication, team work, sportsmanship, practice, and a true love of the sport. The weak or partially interested will not go far.

Cheerleaders today must maintain high GPAs (grade point averages), must serve as role models to fellow students and admiring youngsters, must be willing to sacrifice for the good of the team, and must be strong and able to take criticism.

Cheerleading is by far, not all fun and games but the experiences you have as a cheerleader and as a member of your cheerleading team will stick with you forever more. They will help shape who you are and who you become.

You will have good times and bad, there will be moments you cry of pain and frustration and moments you shed tears of joy. But you are prepared, because you have your team members there to support you.

To be the best cheerleader you can be, you must take this to heart. You must also learn some of the basic rules of cheerleading. Of course, each squad has its own style and rules, but these are the understood rules each individual cheerleader should follow- the unspoken rules.

1. SHOW THOSE PEARLY WHITES! Cheerleaders should always SMILE during a game or performance. Look like you are having fun (even if you're not). Look like you're proud of your team and your school (even if they're losing the tenth straight game in a row). People are watching you at every moment. You want them to think you're having the time of your life.

2. ASK QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU GO OUT TO PERFORM. Pay attention to what your cheerleading team is doing and what they are planning to do. Keep an eye on your captains. Don't wait until the last minute before a stunt or performance to ask questions. Walking out to perform is not the time to ask "What are we doing!?" or "Where do I go!?"

3. DON'T FREEZE UP OR MAKE A BIG DEAL OUT OF A MESS-UP. Just keep going. If you make a mistake, don't draw more attention to yourself. Do NOTOT stop in the middle and tell your neighbor; do NOT double over laughing; just keep going. Many cheerleaders do this and it isn't attractive or cute. If you mess up, chances are not many people noticed. Mistakes are inevitable, it's how you react to your mistake that is important.

4. PRACTICE RULES. Pay attention. If one person acts silly, it hinders the rest of the team's concentration. In cheerleading, someone (or several people) could get physically and severely hurt if you fail to pay attention. If you don't understand the routine or stunt, ask BEFORE attempting
it. If you are honestly not comfortable executing a stunt, tell the captain or coach. NEVER stunt or tumble without mats and a coach/spot/responsibile adult present. Don't miss practice, one missing person can hold the entire team back from praticing a routine.

5. Finally, as important as all of the cheer skills are, DON'T IGNORE THE ACADEMIC SIDE OF THINGS. Make sure your grades are good enough to be allowed to try out and maintain that scholarship.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Millennial generation and how to best coach them

The Millennial generation (or Net Gen) is here! The "digital age" has brought a new kind of student-athlete to your campus, classroom, and team... and these Millennials are here for years to come.

The Millennials are a group of special, sheltered, smart, optimistic, and incredibly "busy" athletes who come to your team with their "helicopter" parents at their side to help with their every decision.

Millennial student-athletes have been told that they are the best, the brightest, and capable of almost anything. But . . . is this good or bad?

As a coach, how do you best relate to future recruits and current athletes who have watched "reality" TV their entire lives, have always viewed professional athletes in the Olympics, and have never known the existence of the Soviet Union (Howe & Strauss, 2007)?

For many coaches there may be a "generation gap" when working and communicating with current athletes. Then again, it can be argued that there has always been this "gap" across generations.

As a coach trying to adapt to this new generation of players, what should you expect? What can you expect?

How do you best relate to this Millennial student-athlete?

And how do you best coach, mentor, empower, and challenge this group of athletes?

While each athlete is unique, be prepared for your athletes to have high expectations of you and your coaching. Also, expect more parental involvement than ever before. And, as much as you might desire the Net Geners to "pay their dues"... many Net Geners may lack the perseverance and long-term commitment that you are looking for.

Oh, and one more thing . . . the Millennials will expect sincerity, integrity, honesty, and a positive environment in which to work and play. In short, the Net Geners are looking for a collaborative environment in which coaches and athletes work with and learn from one another.


 


 


 

THE 8 NET GENERATION NORMS


 

According to Tapscott (2009), there are eight Net Generation Norms:


 

1. They want Freedom in everything they do . . . from freedom of choice to freedom of expression- channels, product, brands, jobs, and even how they express themselves . . . the Millennials take their many choices for granted.


 

2. They love to Customize and personalize -- everything from desktops, websites, ring tones, screen savers, to their own entertainment.


 

3. They are the new Scrutinizers -- things need to be of quality and they are watching closely on products and the delivery of these products . . . including your coaching.


 

4. They look for Integrity and Openness when deciding what to buy and where to play. Millennials look closely at whether or not your values align with their own . . . they can always go somewhere else.


 


 


 

    

5. They want Entertainment and Play in their work, education, sport, and social life . . . this generation has been raised on "interactive experiences" (video games) and entertainment media (reality television).


 

6. They are the Collaboration and Relationship generation -- just look at Facebook, Myspace, texting, You Tube, etc.


 

7. They have a Need for Speed -- rapid communication is the norm . . . an instant message demands a quick, if not instant response.


 

8. They are the Innovators -- everyone wants the new Blackberry or iPhone - not because the old is "outdated or not cool" but because the newer products can do more stuff . . . Millennials want to be around people who are incorporating innovative ways of teaching, mentoring, and coaching.


 


 


 

6 SUGGESTIONS FOR COACHING THE MILLENNIAL GENERATION ATHLETE


 

So, how do you coach this new generation of student and athlete? Tapscott (2009) has offered six suggestions for working with the Millennial generation. What follows are these suggestions as they might be applied to coaching:


 

1. Empower your athletes to collaborate - encourage athletes to work with each other to accomplish tasks, resolve conflict, and develop "new ways" for attaining team goals . . . give them a say in developing workouts, practices, and team schedules. Allow for plenty of creativity and spontaneity.


 

2. Rethink authority - remain the clear leader but know that in some areas it may be beneficial to let the Net Gen athlete become the teacher . . . and remember appreciation, recognition, challenge, and praise must be authentic.


 

3. Reinvent yourself as a coach and customize your coaching - How can you be more relational, collaborative, sincere, positive, tech savvy, empowering, engaging, experiential, open (transparent), fun, innovative, and trusting? Look for new ways to inject fun into your practices . . . you might even consider "entertainment" as a part of your coaching.


 


 


 

    
 

4. Develop a strong "family" - just talking about the importance of family is not going to be enough . . . you must become "family". Prioritize spending quality time with your players and developing two-way communication, mutual trust, and respect for every player and coach in the family.


 

5. Forget the "guilt trip" . . . It won't work with your athletes -- a guilt trip will likely be perceived by your athletes as a sign that you "misunderstand" this generation. For many Net Geners guilt equates to "you don't care" or "you don't understand".


 

6. Be a person of strong character and integrity - be honest, considerate, accountable, and transparent. This generation loves to know the "real you". "No BS to the generation with finely tuned BS detectors" (p.288).


 


 


 

In closing, we will leave you to ponder the following question: Will you coach this new generation to meet you and your ways of coaching or will you change your coaching strategies to better meet the desires of the Millennial generation?


 

You will likely have to do both . . . but think about the qualities and characteristics of this new generation and begin to strategize how you might better connect, empower, build up, and challenge these Net Geners toward greater responsibility and accountability.


 

In Part II of this article, you will be presented with nine additional ways to "coach up" and better connect with your athletes. An important goal will be to capitalize on the strengths of this generation while, at the same time, remaining true to your own coaching strengths.

So... how do you best relate to this generation of student- athlete? Well, what do you think?


 

Don Tapscott (2008). Grown up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World


 

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Coaches use Twitter to Recruit

Coaches use Twitter to Recruit

College cheerleading coaches are currently "tweeting" about their programs to showcase both their personality and their recruiting message. My
advice for recruits who are currently using or are thinking about using Twitter is to make sure they keep their updates very professional, and be willing to share their updates with any college coach who is on Twitter.

Preparing a Skills Video for Colleges

Skills Tape

A critical part of recruiting for college coaches is the evaluation process.  Simply put, if college coaches do not believe a student athlete possesses the ability to play for their school, they are not going to spend their recruiting resources pursuing that student athlete.  In most cases, college coaches have two choices when attempting to evaluate a student athlete.  They can either watch a student athlete compete in person or they can accomplish a similar evaluation by watching a highlight or skills tape. It is critical to send college coaches a tape of your skills, or you can upload them to a website, such as Youtube. I ask for the following to be included on a video tape from interested cheerleaders:

Tumbling Skills: Standing Backhandspring, Standing back tuck, standing backhandspring back tuck and a tumbling pass

Stunting Skills: Please include extended stunts, transitions and dismounts (preferably twist dismounts)

Cheer: include a cheer demonstrating sharp motions and voice inflections, and preferably with a jump.

Dance/Fight Song: Dance and/or fight song should demonstrate coordination, rhythm, voice inflection and spirited attitude.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Recruiting Glossary

Here is a glossary that you should know for when you begin the recruiting process for college:


Admissions Contact: Postcard, letter, email, package, and/or phone call directly from a college admissions department.

AP: Advanced placement classes offered by a high school. College-level classes. Placement of a college freshman in an advanced class based on work completed in high school. Most often colleges and universities use the College Board’s Advanced Placement Tests for advanced placement. Advanced placement may be given with or without credit hours.

Application Waiver: A coach’s waiver of the fee for applying to an institution

COA: See “Cost of Attendance”

Club Teams: Select teams of advanced high school, middle school, or elementary school players. Club teams are by invitation only and represent the top swimmers, volleyball, soccer, and softball players.

Coach Contact: Questionnaire, camp brochure, letter, email, phone call, or text message directly from a member of the coaching staff

Combine: High-intensity showcases where student-athletes perform a series of grueling tests before coaches, recruiters, and scouts. Combines provide a venue for student athletes to be evaluated individually and in great detail. Attendance is by invitation only, and combines generally consist only of the nation’s top players.

Contact: An exchange of information between a coaching staff or admissions department and a prospective student-athlete, Contacts include camp brochures, letters, questionnaires, emails, phone calls, and tape requests.

Contact Period:The period when a coach may have in person contact with a student or his/her parents on or off college campus. The coach may watch the student compete or visit the high school.

Core Courses: High school classes required by the NCAA Initial Eligibility Clearinghouse. These include English, Math, Natural/Physical Science, Social Science, Foreign Language, Religion, or Philosophy. Refer to the NCAA Eligibility Center regulations.

Cost of Attendance: The total cost of attending a school, the Cost of Attendance (COA) is an important factor in determining a student’s financial aid needs.

Dead Period: Periods of time during which it is not permissible for a coach to make in-person recruiting contacts or evaluating on-or off-campus or permit official or unofficial visits

EFC: See “Expected Family Contribution”

Early Action: Nonbinding plan that requires an athlete to submit his or her application in early fall (usually by November 1 or 15).The college lets the student know whether he or she is accepted by early January, but the student has the right to wait until May 1 before responding. This gives a student-athlete time to compare colleges, including financial aid offers, before making a decision.

Early Decision: A binding agreement whereby a student-athlete accepts an offer prior to National Letter of Intent Day. A student can apply Early Decision to only one college.

Equivalency Sports: Programs that fall into this category - all sports other than men’s basketball, women’s basketball, football, women’s gymnastics, women’s tennis, and women’s volleyball - can offer full or partial scholarships.

Expected Family Contribution: The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the amount a family can be expected to contribute toward a student’s college costs. Financial aid administrators determine need for federal student aid by subtracting the EPC from the student’s cost of attendance (COA). The EFC formula is used to determine the EFC and ultimately determine the need for aid from the following types of federal student financial assistance: Federal Pell Grants, subsidized Stafford Loans and assistance from the “campus based” programs - Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Work-Study (FWS)

Evaluation: A coach’s review of a student’s athletic or academic ability. A coach typically evaluates a student either at his or her high school or during a showcase, practice, competition, club practice, or camp.

Evaluation Period: The period of time during which a college coach may watch students compete or visit the high school. There is no in-person contact away from the college campus allowed during this time. The coach may call and write during this time.

FAFSA: See “Free Application for Financial Student Aid”
Free Application for Financial Student Aid: The Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form required by the government for application to any federal education aid program. The FAFSA is used to determine the expected family contribution (EFC) based on family financial information. A FAFSA is used to determine the specific Federal Student Aid programs that can contribute to a student’s total financial aid package and in what proportions. The Web site is www.fafsa.org.

Federal Perkins Loan Program: Low-interest (5 percent) loans that must be repaid. The maximum annual loan amount is $4,000 for undergraduate students and $6,000 for graduate students

Federal PLUS Loans: Unsubsidized loans made to parents. If you are independent or your parents cannot get a PLUS loan, you are eligible to borrow additional Stafford Loan funds. The interest rate is variable, but never exceeds 9 percent.

Federal Stafford Loans: Student loans that must be repaid and are available to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants: Grants available for undergraduates only and awards range from $100-$4,000

Fee Waiver Request Form/Financial Hardship Waiver: Used to request a waiver for the NCAA Eligibility Center fee. Visit www.naoc.com/feewaiver.html
Financial Aid/Scholarship: Money received from a college or another source, such as outside loans or grants. This may be athletic, academic, merit or need-based aid.

FWS/Work Study: Provides jobs to undergraduate and graduate students, allowing them to earn money to pay education expenses.

Game Day Visit: An opportunity for a student to visit a campus to watch a college team play a game.
Game Tape: Footage of actual competition, usually unedited

GATE: Guaranteed Access to Education (GATE) is a nonprofit private loan program offered through participating institutions in conjunction with Bank of America, Bank of Boston and the National Collegiate Trust (NCT). There is a minimal credit check and colleges can recommend whatever loan amount they’d like the student to receive. The interest rate is also rather low. Students and parents should call 1-617-639-2000 for more information about the program (in New York, 1-212-551-3650). See also their entry in the lenders area of the Financial Aid Information Page.

GPA: Grade-point average. The NCAA Eligibility Center only uses core courses to calculate this number. This should be cumulative over the entire high school academic career.

Gray Shirt: Student is recruited out of high school but delays full-time enrollment

Head Count Sports: Programs that fall into this category - men’s basketball, women’s basketball, football, women’s gymnastics, women’s tennis, and women’s volleyball - offer full scholarships only

Highlight Video: Three to five minutes of footage taken from game tape or skills tape

Name Game: Term used to describe a student-athlete or his/her family choosing college based on the name rather than actual facts

National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics: The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is a separate association of colleges who compete in intercollegiate athletics. The NAIA launched the champions of character program in 2000 which is an educational outreach initiative which emphasizes the tenets of character and integrity, not only for NAIA college students, but for younger students, coaches and parents in out communities.

National Collegiate Athletic Association: National Collegiate Athletic Association is the athletics governing body for more than 1,280 colleges, universities, conferences and organizations. Their goal is to govern competition in a fair, safe, inclusive and sportsmanlike manner. The official Web site is www.ncaa.org

NCAA Eligibility Center: The organization responsible for certifying the academic eligibility for practice, competition, and financial aid of all prospective student-athletes for Division I and Division II.

NCAA Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete: An important reference book created by the NCAA for student-athletes interested in competing on college sports. This guide leads the student-athlete through eligibility, amateurism, registration with the NCAA Eligibility Center, financial aid, and recruiting rules. It is available at the NCAA Web site www.ncaa.org.

NCSA Power Rankings:NCSA’s Collegiate Power Rankings are calculated for each college at the NCAA Division I, II, and III levels by averaging the U.S. News & World Report ranking, the U.S. Sports Academy Directors’ Cup ranking and the NCAA student-athlete graduation rate of each institution. The NCSA Collegiate Power Rankings provide data that allows prospective student-athletes and parents to evaluate the particular strengths of universities based on academic and athletic factors, as well as student-athlete graduation rates.

National Letter of Intent (NLI): A legal, binding contract in which a student agrees to attend a college for one academic year. In return, a college agrees to provide the student with athletics related financial aid for one year
Non-Revenue Sports: College sports that do not bring revenue to the school. These sports are often funded, at least in part, by revenue sports such as football or basketball.

Official Visit: Visit to a college campus by a student and/or parent paid for by the college.

Quiet Period: A period of time during which a coach cannot have in-person contact with a student or his/her parents off of the college campus. The coach cannot evaluate a student during this time, but can write or telephone during quiet periods.

Recruit Match: Collegiate coach database that matches qualified student-athletes with college athletic programs. The Recruit Match system houses more than 35,000 registered head coaches, assistant coaches and college administrative at more than 1,700 colleges. Recruit Match delivers student-athlete data through permission-based email. Profiles or student-athletes are distributed based on coaches’ wants and need discovered through phone conversations, surveys and emails with college coaches at every level.

Recruiting Contact: Face to face interaction between a coach and a student-athlete or his/her parents away from the college campus, including high school competitions.

Recruiting Guidelines: Restrictions set by the NCAA and NAIA about when and how a college coach can communicate with a student-athlete

Recruit List: Athletes the coaches at an institution are actively recruiting. Typically, a student-athlete is not added to this list until the athlete has been evaluated.

Recruiting Materials: Information sent by a member of a coaching staff to a student-athlete. These include camp brochures, questionnaires and letters.
Red Shirt: A student who does not compete in any competition during a full academic year.

Regular Admissions: The process in which a student applies to a college by a midwinter deadline, receives word from the college in early April, and makes a decision and notifies colleges by May 1.

Revenue Sports: College sports that bring revenue to the school. These most often include men’s football and basketball, and women’s basketball, tennis, gymnastics, and volleyball.

Rolling Admissions: The process in which a student applies and receives an admission decision within two to six weeks. Applications are accepted until the incoming freshman class is filled. Most public universities and many private colleges use this timeline.

SAR: See “Student Aid Report”

SAT II: Standardized subject test required by some of the most selective colleges.
Scout: An individual who is certified to evaluate, educate and empower student-athletes on the collegiate recruiting process.

Skills Tape: A fifteen to twenty minute tape of staged footage.
Student Aid Report (SAR): The document received after the FAFSA is processed listing all of the answers to the FAFSA. A parent should review these answers carefully to make sure they are correct.

Student-athlete: A high school student who is recruited to attend a particular college to play on one of its athletic teams or a student who reports for practice at a college. Your child becomes a college bound student-athlete the day he or she enters high school, is not sooner. Men’s basketball recruiting begins a student’s seventh-grade year.

Title IX: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 specifying that, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be exalted from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Unofficial Visit: Any visit to a college campus paid for by a student and/or parents. The only expense a student may receive is three complementary admissions to a home contest.

Verbal Commitment: A student verbally indicating that he/she plans to attend a college of university and play college sports. A verbal commitment is not binding, although it is a generally accepted form of commitment.

Video Guidelines: Specific outlines for video footage to each sport.
Walk-on: A student who does not receive an athletic scholarship, but who is a member of the team.

August 26th, 2009 | Brian Davidson
The above Glossary appears in the full version of Athletes Wanted. If you are interested in ordering your own copy to share you can buy it at www.athleteswanted.org

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tryout time for the new year!

Had another tryout last night. This is how it went:
Jumps....check
dance...check
cheer...check
standing tumbling...check
running tumbling...check
stunting...check
DONE!!

After 18 years of doing tryouts, I can get them in and out in no time! I've decided the single most annoying thing regarding tryouts is girls stating they can do skills they have, when clearly, they do not have them. Especially tumbling. I mean, if you write that you have a ROBHS Back Tuck, then you should be able to throw it at a tryout - kapeech? There are girls who just STAND there, when it comes to tumbling time. UGH!!! Please be honest on your tryout application. Either you have it or you don't. Either you can or you can't. Not "with a spot," or "I had it 3 years ago."
Tryouts...gotta love it!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Team Building Ideas

Team Building Ideas


With tryouts over it is a great time for coaches to inform their team about what is expected of them during the upcoming season. Realistically, you can’t expect that the team will all be best friends; however, you can work towards the goals that they will enjoy each other and be able to work together as a team.

Now and throughout the summer season you’ll want to develop camaraderie within your team. And the following activities will help you do just that. From their sidelines to their performance floor at Nationals, these games will help you make a stronger, united team.

Big Sis/Little Sis
• Before the team heads off to camp, create a big sister/little sister program. A returning cheerleader is paired with a new one. Big sisters help the little sisters with everything from learning new cheers to homework. This is a great way for new cheerleaders to feel as if they are part of the squad.

“Yes” Book
• Write in “YES” books at the end of each practice (or every night after camp). Each cheerleader decorates a small notebook with the letters “YES” which stands for “You’re Extra Special.” Have the cheerleaders write positive notes to each other throughout the week, and at the end of the week or camp have them read what positive things their teammates wrote about them.

Hula Hoop
• Have team members stand in a circle, then place a hula hoop on the arm of one member, then have members grasp hands to form a closed circle, get the hula hoop all the way around the circle as quickly as possible without talking. This will take the teamwork you hope they will show all season long!

Time Capsule
• This is a good exercise for practicing reaching agreement and for team members to understand each other’s values. Have each member of the team list five items that they feel should be included in a time capsule that will be opened by another civilization in five thousand years. Each member of the team should then explain the reasons for their choicea. The team then reaches consensus on which five objects should be included in the time capsule.

Human Knot
• This one is a classic, but always a great activity. The group starts out in one or two tight circles. Everyone in the group reaches across the circle with their right hand to grab another group member’s right hand. The group then reaches in with their left hand to grab a different group member’s left hand. The object is to untangle the group without letting go of hands until a circle is formed. If the group is having extreme difficulty, you can administer “knot first-aid” and break one set of tangled hands (with group consensus), otherwise group members may not let go at any time. You may have to decide as a group that the knot is not solvable, after prolonged attempt.

Community Service
• Community service projects allow team members to connect in a positive manner. Whether it is putting together a food drive for the local food drive, organizing a team for Relay for Life or organizing an event as simple as a neighborhood cleanup, service projects are effective ways for new and current members to bond while supporting worthy causes.

These activities will not require a lot of money to be taken out of the budget, just a little bit of time and organization. But they can really help your team come together. Organize a team sleepover or “fun day” and have then bond during this time. Or, maybe try one activity a day at the beginning of practice. Do whatever works best for your team. by Maggie Matheney

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Coaches use Twitter to Recruit

College cheerleading coaches are currently “tweeting” about their programs to showcase both their personality and their recruiting message. My advice for recruits who are currently using or are thinking about using Twitter is to make sure they keep their updates very professional, and be willing to share their updates with any college coach who is on Twitter.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What to include on your recruiting video

Skills Tape
A critical part of recruiting for college coaches is the evaluation process. Simply put, if college coaches do not believe a student athlete possesses the ability to play for their school, they are not going to spend their recruiting resources pursuing that student athlete. In most cases, college coaches have two choices when attempting to evaluate a student athlete. They can either watch a student athlete compete in person or they can accomplish a similar evaluation by watching a highlight or skills tape. It is critical to send college coaches a tape of your skills, or you can upload them to a website, such as Youtube. I ask for the following to be included on a video tape from interested cheerleaders:

Tumbling Skills: Standing Backhandspring, Standing back tuck, standing backhandspring back tuck and a tumbling pass

Stunting Skills: Please include extended stunts, transitions and dismounts (preferably twist dismounts)

Cheer: include a cheer demonstrating sharp motions and voice inflections, and preferably with a jump.

Dance/Fight Song: Dance and/or fight song should demonstrate coordination, rhythm, voice inflection and spirited attitude.