What Most Don’t Know About All-Star Cheer Coaches

What Most Don’t Know About All-Star Cheer Coaches

As a coach, the success of my team is my main objective; I will literally lose sleep over things going on in the gym.
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The number of times I have been called a bully as a coach is a painfully high. What most don’t understand about being good in my field of work is that you have to care; you have to care so much about the kids you coach even when it seems like they don’t care about themselves. It is my job to push and make sure these athletes are able to reach their full potential; this is where most pieces of constructive criticism gets lost in translation. It is never my intention to be hurtful to a child, but instead to coach them in a way that will produce the results they deserve to see.

I don’t coach for me, I coach for my athletes.

I have won the most prestigious competition that there is to win as an athlete: the Cheerleading Worlds, and I have won way more than just that in my 17 years of experience in the world of cheerleading. I am not trying to win any more jackets for myself, my closet is full, and my intention as a coach is to train athletes that can win titles for themselves. The most rewarding part of my job is seeing the pride that these athletes have in them when they hear their names called for first. This is why I do what I do.

SEE ALSO: 8 Tiny Lies Every Young Woman Has Told Their Best Friend

We care about their safety just as much as you do!

I understand that it is hard to see your child upset and hear them complain that their coach was hard on them. I hope that you can see that your children are not being picked on when they drop a stunt or bust a tumbling pass at practice or competition, but instead being held accountable for the mistakes they have made. As a coach, I know the capabilities of my athletes. If an athlete wasn’t capable of safely executing a skill, I would never have them do it. I would never put your children in harm's way. If you don’t believe me, I can promise you that not only do I want to see your athlete healthy, but also an injury to a team member isn’t worth it when it comes to throwing skills that aren’t safe.

We do not have it out for your child.

Kids give attitude, that is just in the nature of being a child, when they don’t like what they hear or they don’t like their spot, they give us attitude. As a coach there is not much that we can do when we get attitude, so if we call your child out, or condition them for it, it is not personal, it has nothing to do with how much I enjoy Sally, it is the standard of respect that all of the athletes are to be giving us as figures of authority. A huge role in how the athletes view us and respect us is how their parents talk about us at home with their children. If your child thinks you don’t have respect for us they think they don’t need to either. If a parent doesn’t think that I deserve respect as a coach, their child should be coached by someone that they do respect; in order to receive better results.

SEE ALSO: A Letter To The Dancer Who Had To Say Goodbye

I think about your children more than anything else in my life.

As a coach, the success of my team is my main objective; I will literally lose sleep over things going on in the gym. My job isn’t over when I get home from work; I bring work with me everywhere I go; I am constantly answering phone calls and text messages about my athletes. I am always looking at videos to see what the next best thing is as well as researching what ways to maximize our score sheets. When the season starts in May, my job isn’t over until after the last competition in May. Minus the one or two weeks off in-between the end of the season and tryouts, my job is a year-round gig, and I never get away from it. So next time you are concerned with how I feel about your kiddo, make sure that you take into account that I am only tough on them because I care about them, if I didn’t care I wouldn’t push and that is the truth about being an all star cheerleading coach!

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To The Coach Who Took Away My Confidence

You had me playing in fear.
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"The road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection, but the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure."

As a coach, you have a wide variety of players. You have your slow players, your fast players. You have the ones that are good at defense. You have the ones that are good at offense. You have the ones who would choose to drive and dish and you have the ones that would rather shoot the three. You have the people who set up the plays and you have the people who finish them. You are in charge of getting these types of players to work together and get the job done.

Sure, a coach can put together a pretty set of plays. A coach can scream their head off in a game and try and get their players motivated. A coach can make you run for punishment, or they can make you run to get more in shape. The most important role of a coach, however, is to make the players on their team better. To hopefully help them to reach their fullest potential. Players do make mistakes, but it is from those mistakes that you learn and grow.

To the coach the destroyed my confidence,

You wanted to win, and there was nothing wrong with that. I saw it in your eyes if I made a mistake, you were not too happy, which is normal for a coach. Turnovers happen. Players miss shots. Sometimes the girl you are defending gets past you. Sometimes your serve is not in bounds. Sometimes someone beats you in a race. Sometimes things happen. Players make mistakes. It is when you have players scared to move that more mistakes happen.

I came on to your team very confident in the way that I played the game. Confident, but not cocky. I knew my role on the team and I knew that there were things that I could improve on, but overall, I was an asset that could've been made into an extremely great player.

You paid attention to the weaknesses that I had as a player, and you let me know about them every time I stepped onto the court. You wanted to turn me into a player I was not. I am fast, so let me fly. You didn't want that. You wanted me to be slow. I knew my role wasn't to drain threes. My role on the team was to get steals. My role was to draw the defense and pass. You got mad when I drove instead of shot. You wanted me to walk instead of run. You wanted me to become a player that I simply wasn't. You took away my strengths and got mad at me when I wasn't always successful with my weaknesses.

You did a lot more than just take away my strengths and force me to focus on my weaknesses. You took away my love for the game. You took away the freedom of just playing and being confident. I went from being a player that would take risks. I went from being a player that was not afraid to fail. Suddenly, I turned into a player that questioned every single move that I made. I questioned everything that I did. Every practice and game was a battle between my heart and my head. My heart would tell me to go to for it. My heart before every game would tell me to just not listen and be the player that I used to be. Something in my head stopped me every time. I started wondering, "What if I mess up?" and that's when my confidence completely disappeared.

Because of you, I was afraid to fail.

You took away my freedom of playing a game that I once loved. You took away the relaxation of going out and playing hard. Instead, I played in fear. You took away me looking forward to go to my games. I was now scared of messing up. I was sad because I knew that I was not playing to my fullest potential. I felt as if I was going backward and instead of trying to help me, you seemed to just drag me down. I'd walk up to shoot, thinking in my head, "What happens if I miss?" I would have an open lane and know that you'd yell at me if I took it, so I just wouldn't do it.

SEE ALSO: The Coach That Killed My Passion

The fight to get my confidence back was a tough one. It was something I wish I never would've had to do. Instead of becoming the best player that I could've been, I now had to fight to become the player that I used to be. You took away my freedom of playing a game that I loved. You took away my good memories in a basketball uniform, which is something I can never get back. You can be the greatest athlete in the world, but without confidence, you won't go very far.

Cover Image Credit: Christina Silies

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Ronaldinho: A Gift From The Soccer Gods

It was always exciting to see him wearing that iconic number 10 on his back.

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Watching soccer over the years, I think as fans we have been fortunate to see transcendent talents like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. As great as they are, I don't know if I could ever say they were my favorite players to follow all the time. Its kind of like both Messi and Ronaldo have become the generic response for anyone who briefly talks about soccer because of their reputation and popularity. Similar to how Michael Jordan is well known in basketball or Tiger Woods is thought of in golf. The player I always admired to watch growing up was definitely the magnificent talent that was Ronaldinho.

Growing up seeing someone like Ronaldinho play soccer was out of this world. He had skill moves that would make your jaw drop. Just the way he'd be able to move the ball and place it in areas unreal to the naked eye was pure entertainment. Ronaldinho had balance, elegance, and swagger every time he stepped onto the field. He is one of only seven players to have ever won a FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League title and a Ballon d'Or award. Honestly, it has not been the same since he left the beautiful game back in 2015. Sure, he wasn't the greatest player to ever live or the most prestigious, but I would say Ronaldinho was certainly iconic.

He was a spectacle for the soccer world and I don't think there will be any other player quite like him to be on a pitch ever again. Brazil has been able to produce legends over the years like Pele, Kaka, and Ronaldo. Ronaldinho is definitely one of the athletes on my bucket list to meet someday. His legacy will forever be cemented as one of the greats in my book.

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