All-star cheerleading is not a “mainstream” sport. Getting kids to walk into gyms is tougher than getting them to play in a basketball league. In light of this, our community needs to rally around each other now more than ever. But how do we show the kids and parents outside of our industry that All-Star cheerleading can and should be picked over soccer, basketball or any other “main stream” sport?
We need to remind ourselves of the many great aspects of our sport. The MAJORS is what got me thinking about this. Thousands of athletes, coaches and fans came together to celebrate the athletes competing. While promoting this event, I learned that all of these athletes have so many things in common. To hear athletes talk about their love for their teammates, coaches, and parents; their desire to be the best; the commitment they have to their team and sport; and their tremendous respect for their competitors is both amazing and inspiring. These athletes have learned so much about life by being an all-star cheerleader!
Cheerleading is about so much more than just winning. It’s about the journey, the friendships, the hard work, the education and being a part of a team. These are the things we must remember and continue to promote to those outside our sport to encourage growth. We need all gym owners and coaches to understand and live by this thought process. Coaches have the unique ability to be involved in a child’s life for a decade or more, to watch these children grow as people. If these values are instilled into our athletes, “success” will happen both on and off the floor.
We have to take to heart why these kids truly get involved in sports. They love making friends, feeling good when they accomplish goals, having fun in what they are doing, being part of a team. If we all promote these ideas, the participation in all-star cheerleading will grow. I truly believe it is that simple. We HAVE to remember that cheerleading is about so much more than the placements at events—just like Little League Baseball is about so much more than getting to the Little League World Series. I believe one of the main goals of youth competitive sports is to teach life lessons to children.
Coaches: are you giving adequate importance to values, ethics and life skills training? Or are these messages getting lost amid the pressure to win? We all know that it feels good to win and be rewarded for the effort and time put into practice. But we have to remember that not everyone can win every time and there are many more lessons learned from a loss than a win. Are we teaching our athletes these lessons?
Programs all across the United States and the entire world need to realize that to grow cheerleading; we need to be in this together! You may share a city with multiple gyms or there may be a gym just two miles away. All gyms have a responsibility to grow all-star cheerleading in their city. Remember, you are not competing against other gyms for athletes; you are competing against those other sports for athletes.
IF all of us can focus on the wonderful things all-star cheerleading provides for youth, IF we can embrace every child for what they contribute to their team, IF we all work together and support each other as an industry, our sport WILL grow to new heights. We know how great it is—now let’s show everyone else why all-star cheerleading is a great sport for kids. Please…Do Your Part!
The JAM Brands