Those that know me professionally always seem to be shocked that I’m a cheerleading coach. Perhaps it’s because I’m not as blonde as I once was. Who knows.
I’ve been coaching for two years now – my first year, I was the Assistant coach and this past year, I was the head coach – at St. Joseph’s College of Maine.
Coaching, in general, teaches the coach just as much as the kids. At least, being on both sides, that’s what I’ve found. That said, there are 3 huge lessons I’ve learned by coaching.
1. You can still be yourself.
It was hard going from being on the team – even as a leader – to coaching the squad. I had to learn when to be tough and when to have fun with the girls. I think after two years I finally found the balance, but when I first started, I wasn’t myself. I was uptight, and didn’t feel comfortable joking with the team.
I’m goofy, it’s just how I am, so this year I think I was finally able to let the girls see that – at least a glimmer of it. But it’s really a life lesson, you see, because it’s like a lot of things in life: you need to stay true to who you are, no matter what.
2. You have to roll with the punches.
I used to be an uptight person. I still have some OCD in me, but a few years ago, I was admittedly even more uptight. I’ve learned – in thanks to those I’ve coached – that sometimes you just have to roll with things that life throws at you.
Whether it’s a girl who simply can’t be on the team anymore for completely legitimate reasons or another dramatic moment, rolling with life’s little moments and not letting them phase you can make all the difference.
3. At the end of the day, people can still surprise you.
As far as I’m concerned, I can read most people like a book: I can tell what type of person someone is moments after meeting them, and what level of drive they have in life after 10 minutes.
My cheerleaders may have their quirks, their bad days, but there will always be those moments that take my breath away.
This year, that moment came during competition. The girls didn’t have an overly wonderful attitude heading into competition – and it’s a long story as to why – but it all changed after they performed and I’ve never been so proud. Not only did they nail their routine, but they had awesome attitudes and were so pumped up for the following day when they could perform again.