Cheerleading is so much more than ponytails, rhinestones and awesome stunts (but we do like all that stuff too.) Sometimes in a routine, no matter how hard you try, things don’t go exactly as you hoped though: The foot slips, the shoe flies off, the handspring didn’t feel right or your just lost your place for a second. These things happen in all sports the same way they happen in life.
In life, adults will make a mistake on a project at work and have to face the boss. Adults look at the radio for a split second and rear end the car in front of them. Adults oversleep and get their own kids to school late on the day of an important test. But how an adult handles these mistakes and recovers from the error is so much more important than how the mistake happened.
In sports, mistakes happen – but we teach our athletes to make split-second decisions and stand by those decisions. We teach them to smile through the mistake and know that they did their absolute best no matter what.
Adults have natural instincts when things go wrong, and so do kids. The military teaches you that every person has a natural instinct (but people can be taught to fight their natural instinct too.) Their options are: Flight, Fight or Freeze.
Flight. They can take off. Run off the stage and never look back. They can walk away from their stunts – flyers don’t go up – stunts can’t be scored – and formations look “off.”
Fight. They can push through the mistake and vow to do it better next time. They can look their mistakes right in the face and say, “I’ll try harder next time, and I will succeed.” After their pyramid falls, they can go to their dance and give the best performance of their lives.
Freeze. Athletes who freeze, literally do just that. They stop everything and dwell in the missed opportunity. They focus on the problem, not the solution. They struggle to push forward with the rest of the routine because they haven’t mentally prepared themselves for the possibility of error.
In cheerleading, we teach our athletes to fight. We teach them to think about the what if’s. We teach them that if something goes wrong, make a decision and stand by that decision. Whether that’s to modify the pyramid, adjust the formation or safely cradle your flyer – it’s the fight that creates character.
Adults who fight own up to their mistakes. They plan to succeed but prepare – because at times – failure is inevitable. They pick up the broken pieces of their dreams and create new ones – bigger, better and more successful ones.
Our cheerleaders fight.