To perform well and succeed in their sport, athletes need to stay focused throughout the season and be all in for every practice. Cheer athletes are no different. After school and in-between their social and home lives, cheer athletes work hard to perfect their routines. It can be both physically and mentally demanding.
Whether you need to motivate a nervous cheerleader before their first competition or a cheerleader who’s overcoming an obstacle, there are many thoughtful, energetic and inspiring ways to encourage them. If you’re looking for ideas on how to motivate cheerleaders, this guide has got some of the best.
10 Ways to Motivate Your Cheer Athletes
1. Motivational Quotes
Cheerleading motivational quotes have the ability to hit deep by reminding athletes why they love their sport and how it feeds their soul. Quotes can remind your athletes how challenging cheerleading is, why they need to work hard as individuals and the level of impact they can have on their team when they perform to their potential.
For an extra motivational boost, at the end of each season, have your cheerleaders come up with their own quotes to pass on to future generations of cheerleaders.
2. Set Long- and Short-Term Goals
Sit down with your team and set daily and seasonal goals together. At the beginning of each practice, remind your cheerleaders of the objective for that day, as well as the season goals that they set. Athletes tend to work harder and perform better when they have a goal in mind and know exactly what they’re working toward.
3. Celebrate Small Successes
Don’t just celebrate big wins. Celebrate the small successes that your team experiences together as well as the small successes each individual experiences. Track, chart and measure specific tumbling and stunting skills then celebrate improvements together.
You can also celebrate things like meeting personal goals, when an individual or the entire team breaks a tough habit or when someone on the team demonstrates one of your gym’s core values.
4. Give a Shout-Out on Social Media
When it comes to motivating young athletes, meet them where they are–on social media! Recognizing and publicly acknowledging a team member for all their hard work and dedication is a great way to keep them motivated, while also promoting the success of students who cheer at your gym. If you notice that one of your cheerleaders is low on energy or going through a rough time, give them a shout-out on social media and point out something positive they did recently as a morale booster.
5. Promote Teamwork
Sometimes one of the most challenging things about being on a team is promoting teamwork and the other people on the team. When you encourage the squad to motivate their teammates and work together, it becomes a much more inclusive and exciting atmosphere to practice and perform in.
6. Give Small Awards
As you’re working toward the big competition trophy, consider handing out other notable awards that the team competes to receive. You can put together small awards to give out every day, week or month. Reward individuals on your team with things like stunt stick of the week or mat talk of the day. Being recognized and awarded for activities like these can be a game-changing morale boost.
7. Show Your Passion
As a coach or owner of a youth activity center, your passion is more contagious than anyone else’s. When you act with confidence and believe in your team, the others will surely want to join in. Go into every single day, every single practice and every competition working towards something more extraordinary – wanting to achieve greatness itself. This attitude will raise the bar for everyone around you.
8. Create Friendly Competition
Adding a competitive aspect to practice can be a fun and pleasant drive for the team to work harder. If your cheerleaders are having fun while working hard, you know you’re getting the best out of them. The best way to do this is to create some friendly competition during practice times. Your cheerleaders are athletes at heart, so whether they are competing for bragging rights, choosing the losing team’s warm-up at the next practice or being coach for the day – a little friendly competition can go a long way to help the entire team be motivated and eager to work.
9. Keep Things Fresh and Moving
It’s crucial when working on motivating kids to keep practice moving. Don’t spend too much time on one aspect of practice – each drill and exercise should be short and to the point. Remember not to dwell if someone isn’t getting a move right. Shake it off and come back to it either later in the practice or the next day.
10. Get Parents and the Community Involved
Getting parents and the community involved with the squad, their practice sessions, performances and competitions adds a whole other level of purpose to what they’re doing. When they know they’ll be performing for family members and representing their community, it’s a reason to stay motivated to do well.
Create a cycle of inspiration by motivating your team using the tips above. By keeping your cheerleaders motivated, they will learn everything from their routines to life lessons much faster. They’ll win more on and off the mat, and become better athletes and young adults.
What are your favorite ways to motivate your cheer athletes? Share them with us in the comments below!