Here is another question about discipline for your cheerleading team – yes one of the most popular categories of questions we receive!
This question is from Coach Brandy who is Middle School Coach for the past 2 years; here is her question:
“I desperately need advice on how to deal with “talkers”… and girls that do not listen to my instruction and then complain and make excuses about why they do not know the routine…”
Well Brandy, firstly know you are NOT ALONE!!! Having been a coach for over 25 years, I deal with a lot of talkers and the girls who do not want to do anything, then complain that they do not know the routine!
Here are several solutions that I have used over the years, and some I am using right now – lol:
- Ignore them and pay attention to the girls that are doing the right thing. Generally, the girls who make a scene and act up just want attention. And, I used to fall into the trap and constantly saying “please stop talking”, “please join us”, etc. This took A LOT of time away from the girls who wanted to learn and I rewarded the bad behavior with attention which is exactly what they wanted.
So by ignoring them and giving attention to the girls who were doing great, the behavior began to stop as they did not receive the response they wanted from me.
I will say, that when they did participate, or even did the smallest positive behavior, I acknowledged it and praised them for it. Now they know that I am ONLY going to give attention for positive behavior.
- There are various was you can use punishments including:
- Taking them out of stunt groups.
- Have them not cheer and an event, half time, game, etc.
- Doing laps or some kind of conditioning activity. I am not a big fan of this one as it makes conditioning a punishment and not a positive tool to improve their skills.
- GIVE REWARDS!!!! This is my FAVORITE source of discipline!!! I use cheer money ( CLICK HERE for all of the Cheer Money details ) and give it out according to behavior. For example, if they had a great practice, I would give them 10 to 20 cheer dollars. If they did not participate, I would not give them any or actually take some away if they were really misbehaved.
Another way that I use cheer money, is that I will give it out during practice when I see someone doing an AMAZING job or going out of their way to help another teammate. When I see it, I will stop practice and make a BIG DEAL about the positive behavior and let everyone know what they did and hand that athlete some cheer money. Soon, you will see other cheerleaders mimicking the same positive behavior. 🙂
- Set CLEAR and MEASURABLE Rules and a Contract! Have a team meeting and go over your team rules, then have ALL of your cheerleaders and their PARENTS sign the contract. This way, when you enforce the rules, there will be no discussion. ( For an example Rules and Expectation Contract – CLICK HERE ).
TIP: STICK TO YOUR RULES FOR EVERYONE!!! If you let them slide, you will not be able to enforce the contract going forward.
- Another one of my favorite techniques to help with team discipline, is to have the captains help you reinforce your rules. It is super helpful when your cheerleaders’ peers are helping to reinforce your rules.
I hope these strategies help you with your team and grow a positive team attitude!
Here are some other discipline resources:
How to Discipline Your Cheerleaders – CLICK HERE
Cheer Money – CLICK HERE
Cheerleaders Rules and Expectation Contract – CLICK HERE