How to Coach High School Cheerleading

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Daring and competitive, high school cheerleading incorporates elements of dance, gymnastics and stunting into one exhilarating sport. If you want to be a high school cheerleading coach, you should enjoy all of these genres and have a general knowledge of the sport.

Things You'll Need

  • Knowledge of dance, gymnastics and stunts
  • Coaching certificate or teaching degree (depends on the school)

Set Immediate and Long-Term Goals for Your Squad

  • Focus your program around the strengths and abilities of your squad. If your team is proficient in gymnastics, structure routines around stunts and floor work. If your team is at a beginning level, focus your routines on sharp arm movement, rhythm and vocal projection.

  • Establish long term goals by setting up a goal chart for your squad. As the coach, you can structure these goals by evaluating skill levels and considering whether or not you will want to participate in a cheerleading competition during the season. Typical long term goals include mastering several 5-minute routines, learning twenty new cheers and/or competing in one local or regional competition.

Structure Practices and Routines Around Your Goals

  • Set up a graduated program of training for your cheerleading squad. Depending on the length of your season, a high school program should typically incorporate stretches, light weight training, endurance exercises, stunt training and appropriate level gymnastics throughout the course of the season.

  • Create routines using popular music and moves that are on par with the skill level of your high school squad. Take advantage of tumbling and stunting skills and be sure to tailor stunts to physical ability and prowess.

Tips & Warnings

  • Work with parents on a cooperative level. Perhaps more than in any sport, cheerleading coaches have to deal with involved parents who want to see their children excel in coveted routines, squads and events.
  • Keep learning, no matter how long you've been a coach. You can attend conferences or simply read up on the latest techniques in books such as "Developing a Successful Cheerleading Program."
  • Check with your local school district for coaching requirements. Some schools prefer coaches who are also teachers, while other schools will allow those with only a coaching certificate to coach a high school cheerleading squad.
  • Always stay on top of the latest cheerleading rules for high school squads at regulatory websites like The American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators, or AACCA (see Resources below). Breaking these rules cannot only lead to serious injury, but also lead to squad suspension at the high school level.

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