The success of a Jacksonville cheerleading team depends on their ability to get along well together. Without this camaraderie, they are bound to fail because every routine and stunt is based on that respect, care, and trust they have on one another. Many cheerleading squads spend hundreds of dollars on team-building activities in the hope that these will boost the teamwork among the girls.
But there’s another way that camaraderie can be boosted and teamwork can be assured among a group of teenage girls and that’s through communication. Actively talking to these girls will bridge the gap between your authority and their subordination.
Don’t make them feel that you are way ahead of them in terms of experiences in life and that their issues are, at best, trivial. Their feelings are valid. Their issues are valid. You are there to listen to them and to help them find solutions to the issues that come from their personal and cheerleading lives.
Train them to listen and understand
Active and open communication will bring your squad forward. Train the cheerleaders to listen to the problems of others and to understand with an open heart that everybody goes through something.
When they have been trained to listen, empathy will come naturally to them. So, when discussing issues within the squad, your cheerleaders will be better equipped at handling different opinions and comments. They will also be more understanding in accepting your decision as the coach.
Create a healthy environment
A healthy environment is one where you give off constructive criticisms instead of either heaping praises on them or giving them a dressing them down in front of the whole squad or audience.
If there’s a problem that needs addressing, it is best to call the attention of the girls involved in the problem and discuss these issues with them privately. There’s no use for name-calling or for harsh words.
Value their opinions
Once upon a time in your life, you were a teenager, too, and your difficult and full of angst. Just ask your parents about it.
You feel that nobody is listening to you and that no one cares about what you’re going through. We may be in the digital age now, but that’s still the same emotions that these teenagers go through.
Talk to them. Let them know that their opinions are valued and that you are willing to listen to them. Don’t be the kind of coach that is so detached her cheerleaders can barely find comfort in her wisdom and life experiences.