Cheerleaders are responsible for motivating others, but who is responsible for motivating the cheerleaders? This responsibility largely falls on the shoulders of team advisors or coaches and is not always an easy task. Below you will find some creative ways to motivate your team throughout the season. A motivated team does the best motivating of others!
- Institute the iCan – Get two large one gallon cans (can be old paint cans or purchased new from an arts and crafts store), and challenge your team to creatively decorate each can. Then cut up small squares of paper, large enough to write 1 -2 sentences. Write a goal for each cheerleader on the small squares of paper. Each cheerleader should write a goal for herself, as well as a goal for the team. In total, each cheerleader should have three squares of paper (one from the coach, one she wrote for herself, and one she wrote for the team). These goals are all put into iCan #1. As each goal is met, it is moved into iCan #2. Once a set number of goals have been reached, the team should receive a small reward. When all goals have been achieved, a large reward should be in store! The goal is to have the team focus on saying “I Can” instead of “I can’t.” Many times, goals are reached simply by speaking positively about being able to achieve the goal.
- You’ve Got Mail – Everyone enjoys receiving a personalized note in the mail. Your cheerleaders are no different! Purchase a plastic shoe hanger bag (oftentimes available at your local dollar store,) and assign one pocket to each of your cheerleaders. These mailboxes should be available at every practice. This will allow you to deliver small personalized notes and reminders on a regular basis, and it affords team members a way to recognize and motivate each other. Every team member should be required to give one piece of mail to another member of the team at least once a week. You’d be amazed at the difference that an encouraging word can make!
- Spirit Journals – Each cheerleader is provided with a notebook for her own personal use. After each practice concludes, the team is afforded a five minute journal break to record their feelings, frustrations, or successes of the day. This is a good way to keep your team grounded and prevent emotions from running high. If anyone wants to share her entry, allow her to do so!
Cheerleading is a very demanding activity, requiring both leadership and athletic skills. It’s no wonder that cheerleaders sometimes get overwhelmed with all the responsibilities. Maintaining a team’s enthusiasm should be one of the coach’s top priorities. Hopefully the above list will get you started on the right track and inspire more methods to motivate your team!