I think it would be safe to say that we all agree on one thing…we want the number of children participating in All-Star cheerleading to grow! I believe the solution may be something so simple.
We need a reminder! We need to remind ourselves of the many great aspects of our sport. The MAJORS is what got me thinking about this. While promoting this event, I had the opportunity to meet many of the athletes, parents, coaches and gym owners. During this time, I learned that all of these athletes have so many things in common. To hear these athletes talk about things like their love for their teammates, love for their coaches, love for their parents, their desire to be the best, their desire to be better athletes, the commitment they have to their team and sport and their tremendous respect for the teams they compete against is both amazing and inspiring. These athletes have learned so much about life by being an All-Star cheerleader and they truly love the sport of cheerleading!
What I noticed during The MAJORS was that, to these athletes, 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 a person. If these values are instilled into our athletes, “success” will happen both on and off the floor.
All-Star Cheerleading is not a “main stream” sport. Getting kids to walk into gyms is tougher than getting them to play in a basketball league. Because of this, cheerleading needs our “community” to rally around each other now more than ever. I saw this happen during The MAJORS. Thousands of athletes, coaches and fans came together to celebrate the athletes competing. 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?
TOGETHER! We have to take to heart why these kids truly get involved in sports. They love making friends, they feel good when they accomplish goals and they are working hard but having fun doing it. They love the feeling of being a part of a team. If we all remember this and promote this, the participation in All-Star cheerleading will grow. I truly believe it is that simple. We HAVE to remember, 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?
WE NEED TO CHANGE – Gyms and teams 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. The more kids that choose the sport of cheerleading, the more athletes in your gyms!
IF all of us can focus on the wonderful things All-Star cheerleading provides for the 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!
Co-Owner, The JAM Brands