I am not a cheerleader.
Well, I actually was as a young girl but I quickly determined that I am not the “type”. I thought that being a cheerleader meant putting on that fake smile, making sure I had proper cheerleader form and basically doing something that I was not sure that anyone really appreciated anyway. It just didn’t feel like me. I did it for a couple seasons then, put my pom poms down forever.
Turns out that I’ve learned I’ve been a cheerleader all along.
You heard it right.
I was recently asked to be a cheer coach for my daughter’s squad of girls ages 5- 11. I accepted even though I was worried because the last time I performed a cheer anywhere was in 1982. I am working with two other coaches, one who was a championship cheerleader and one who, like me, is not. After talking with the other coaches, we determined what strength each of us brought to the team. Then, we used that strength to coach our girls. My strength is organizing, helping break down training into the most manageable size for the person learning, trying new techniques of teaching and finding a way to make each girl feel special.
I realized that I am THEIR cheerleader.
And, isn’t that the real role of a coach? To teach and to let the learner try out the new skills. To encourage all along the way. These are the same ideas and principles I apply at work each day and the same role I try to play in projects I am part of like HRevolution.
I wish you could have seen our practice last night. Girls standing in near-perfect formaton, working on sharper hand and arm movements, huge smiles on their faces. I started by naming a “mini coach” for each cheer so that the girls can help teach and encourage each other. I worked with my brilliant instructional coach to support her as she taught the team new techniques and cheers. The girls kept practicing even after our normal practice time had ended. They were feeling a sense of pride.
So, if you had asked me 24 hours ago if I’m a cheerleader, I would have said no.
Turns out I was wrong. Go team!