Another cheer season has ended with every feeling other than normal. Might I say, chaotic. The 2019-2020 cheer season has left us with loss, heart-ache, confusion, and uncertainty. However, as the cheer world begins to excitedly reopen, team placements have already happened, currently are in progress, or gearing up in the near future. As a former owner/choreographer and current music producer, I would like to offer some words of encouragement and advice for the athletes...Ahem, and the parents.
10 Reminders on how to survive the tryout chaos
1) Take a deep breath, a moment to decompress, and reflect on the season completed. Though the season ended with missing competitions, no Worlds, and no Summit winners, and even through the wins or losses, ups and downs, tears and smiles, y'all made it.
2) Go into the tryout/evaluation/placement experience with an open mind, open heart, and zero expectations. Expectations can lead to countless frustrations & unnecessary disappointments. And honestly, it is mostly from parents.
3) Stop letting a specific team placement determine your (the parent) and athletes attitude for the season. Negative breeds negativity. Positive opens up opportunity. Let's be real, most teams placed in May look 99% different when it's time to hit the mat. They look even more different if a Worlds/Summit team is achieved.
4) Emphasis on level and level only is the quickest way for the sport to pass your athlete by. Technique, attitude, effort, and positivity will not only safely excel your athletes but creates a gym environment for thriving growth.
5) There is a HUGE difference between "my daughter is throwing "X" has her (insert skill here)" and mastering the elements that score full range. Mastering skill sets will set up athletes for both skill & level progression. I come from a Level 1, National Competitive gymnastics background where Perfection before Progression is the only way for success. Most instances in the cheerleading industry and the unrealistic push towards Level 5 (AND NOW Level 6 or 7), athletes fall under progression before perfection to level up at any cost. Usually sacrificing technique and ultimately their safety.
6) Your athlete IS important to the gym they attend, BUT, they are only the "most important athlete" to you the parent. Owners "athlete" is THE BUSINESS ITSELF and their goals are to be the most successful they can with what they teach, train, and present at the competitions to be judged. Even if that means putting "level 3 Suzy" on level 2 team to make the PROGRAM stronger.
7) The cheer gym your family participates in is a BUSINESS. The owners are in charge of how they feel they can best grow the business. Both by the teams and levels they select but mainly monetarily. Your athlete being on level 2 instead of a level 3 is not to spitefully hold back your athlete. They are in the business to create better athletes, which betters the team, which betters the gym, which in turn fulfills the reason why businesses are created, to make money.
8) Choose wisely. Do your research. Ask questions. Set Goals. We have access to every bit of information at our fingertips so use it to your full advantage. What qualifies the instructors to teach your athlete? What are the goals for your athlete for the upcoming season (NOT the parental goals)? Ask yourself, "CAN I AFFORD THIS SPORT"? It's a REAL question that unfortunately affects EVERYONE on the team and the owners bottom line to keep the business open. SO MANY PEOPLE pay late or not at all and it kills every element of success for the program. This sport costs THOUSANDS. You and only you can determine if you can make it work financially. But, PLEASE take all the other athletes, coaches, and owners into consideration when you HONESTLY assess your ability to live up to the contracts you are signing. This is NOT a "I hope I can make it work" sport.
9) You and your athlete bought into the program YOU selected (LITERALLY BOUGHT IN). Give it everything you can. Effort, attention, be teachable, and follow through with the direction the coaching staff leads. Separate yourself from the negative seekers in the parent lobby. EVERY GYM HAS THEM and if you think your gym does not have them, it may be you. Again, Negative breeds negativity and as a parent/athlete who invests time, energy, and $$$, the negative Nancy's will eat away at the gyms environment, the success of your athlete, and ultimately the love for the sport.
10) Have fun! This sport teaches endless life lessons that reach far beyond the Summit, a specific level, or even a backhandspring. Do not take this sport for granted. You have the chance to come in fresh, live it up, give it your all, and HAVE A BLAST. But be sure to remind yourself through the chaos, THIS IS JUST CHEERLEADING 😁 Be Happy. Stay Blessed!!!
Andrew Dyerson Flawless Sound Creations