The thing about Winning

Ten years ago I was a first year business owner- a cheer gym owner – and coach of a team that had a very losing season.

They didn’t just lose, they came in LAST every single competition we went to… Like dead last. But finally, at the VERY last event of the entire season, they got their first and only win. And here’s the thing- at the time, I really thought that win was what made me (and them) successful.

Ten years later, what I know for sure is this: the win was never the success. The success was the people that stuck by my side loss after loss. It’s easy to stand next to someone when they cross the finish line, but what you want is the people who cheer you on when you lag behind in the race. ✨


Switching Gyms

It’s that time of the season where the lobby is buzzing and the rumors are swirling. Who’s switching gyms? Who’s going where? What gym is going to have which team? Could the grass really be greener down the street?

Truth be told, there are legitimate reasons to change gyms and as a customer, it is your choice on who you give your business to. However, there are also important things to keep in mind when doing your research as to stay or to go. Every gym has issues and you will never find a perfect gym, a perfect coach, or a perfect team. Often, the lessons that can be most beneficial in the long run are lessons of longevity, growth and development. Nothing in the world, including cheerleading, is a quick fix.

Before deciding to stay or go, here are 3 things to really consider.

The level of training
There is no magic formula or gym size that can create a championship team. Small facilities with the bare minimum essentials can produce the same quality of training as a larger facility with multiple floors and rooms. Regardless of physical size, not all gyms can provide the same level of training needed for all athletes.

I owned a small gym for years and our highest level team was a level 4. I had a gymnast come in and cheer for one season on our level 4 team with a double full. I knew we would be unable to have a level 5 team the following season, so I gave her and her parents an introduction to another gym in our town that had a level 5 world’s team. Of course I didn’t want to lose an athlete, but I also didn’t want to hold an athlete back from being on a team that was appropriate for her skill level. A gym owner has a duty to their athletes to be honest about the level of training and teams that they are able to provide. This does not mean that if your child makes a level 2 team and you think your child should be on a level 3 team that you should switch gyms. This means, that it’s perfectly acceptable to search for a program that can offer your child a team that matches your child’s skills.

Every child progresses at a different pace and comparison truly is the thief of joy. Enjoy your child’s milestones and progressions, even if they seem to happen slower or faster than other athletes. Your child does not need to move up a level every year. Your child does not need to have any skill by any certain age. As long as you are at a program that can provide you with the level of training your child needs, let your child develop through proper coaching.

Not winning is not a reason to switch gyms. Not having the opportunity to win is.
Learning to lose can be one of the most valuable lessons a child can take away from youth sports. Some of the greatest teams in the country, level 5 worlds’ teams, can go an entire season and not win a single competition. Does this negate their skill set? Does this negate the coaching ability or level of training at that gym? No, it means that their athletes are in a competitive division, with a competitive routine and their coaches have given them every opportunity possible opportunity to win.

Now, take a team that is placed in a division that is too high for them- where the skill level of the team is outmatched by competing teams in the same division. Or the level of routine choreography and music are outdated. The skills in the routine aren’t level appropriate and enough to hit the score sheet. This is an example of a team that doesn’t have an opportunity to win.

Every gym has building and rebuilding years. One off season doesn’t equate to jumping ship. However, the coaches should be well educated, up to date on what’s going on in the industry, and setting their athletes up to succeed by placing them in the correct age and skill appropriate divisions.

No gym, no coach, and no program can ever guarantee a win or a winning season. However, every coach, gym, and program should be able to provide an opportunity to win by placing teams in appropriate and realistic competitive divisions that will give them a fighting chance at an opportunity to win.

The greatest reason to consider changing programs and also, the most simple, comes down to your child. Is your child happy? Not you, but your child. This isn’t about you. It’s not about if you like the other parents, if you like the coach, if you want your child on a higher level team, or if you want to win more. You will never find fulfillment in youth sports, for you or your child, if you chase trophies. The fulfillment comes from having a happy child who is growing and learning from a sport that he/she loves participating in.
I once had a mother tell me she was pulling her child from my program because she wanted to go to a gym where they could win and she didn’t think my program ever would. The child was 11. She was happy, she loved coming to practice, she was learning, she had the opportunity to be on a team that would further her skills. They left. A year later, my gym beat the team they left to be on. A year after that, she quit cheer because she no longer enjoyed it.

Don’t ever let winning cast a shadow on your child’s joy. Trophies end up in storage containers, happy memories are the true gift that a parent gets to share with their child through youth sports.
You can always buy a new uniform, but you can never buy back the time you get to spend with your child. 10 years from now it’s not going to matter if it took your child 6 weeks to get a back handspring or 2 years.

It’s not going to matter what name was on the uniform, it will matter what lessons were learned in it. Appreciate youth sports for what they are and hold perspective on what really matters in the long run.

Perserverance builds the character

It’s really easy to let defeat make you want to give up. But it’s so importantly to fail and learn what it feels like to lose.

One of the greatest lessons a coach can teach a child is to lose with grace and humility, and then keep going and try again. So many people try to shield their children from knowing loss and defeat- but no matter how hard you try- sooner or later, children will fail at something. And if children can learn how to accept failure as a speed bump in the road- and not a stop sign, then they will be able to use perseverance throughout their life to overcome obstacles as they get older.

Children can often learn a lot more from being on the losing team, than the team that always wins.

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Successful Children

As a coach, you have to give kids- kids of all ages- certain tasks and responsibilities and hold them accountable to getting those tasks done and achieving the given metrics. It helps build responsibility and character- and if done the right way and given the right task, children of all ages can learn to feel independent and successful by achieving goals that their Coach has set for them.

Let children start doing things for themselves, learning through both trial and error, are going to make them grow and develop.

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Choose your words wisely

So true… It is so much easier to build up a young child and to fill a child with confidence than to repair and adult that has been broken down repeatedly over years.

Sticks and stone may break bones, but words truly do leave a lasting scar.

Choose your words wisely- as sometimes the simplest things end up sticking with people for a lifetime.

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Create what you want to be a part of

The ship you’re waiting for to come in may very well be the ship you need to build yourself.

Life is about timing- but also hard work. You can’t wait around forever to fall into fate. You have to work hard and create your vision of the life you want.

Persistence and hard work always pay off.

You’re not going to miss out on what is meant for you while you’re busy working hard– you’ll get something better than you ever imagined!

#Create what you want to be a part of.