My younger sister Alli has always been the direct personification of overachiever. However, I still remember her desire to sign up for cheer in middle school coming as a surprise to our whole family. We thought only dumb girls looking for attention from football players did cheer, but we were wrong. Since her joining the competitive team at HVC, we have all learned exactly how hard cheer is. It’s nitpicky, requiring tons of strength and flexibility to look perfect on the mat with any flaw being critiqued beyond belief, which made it the perfect sport for Alli to carry her overachieving tendencies to. Her desire to succeed made her an obvious pick for coach to the Junior and Mini teams once she aged up to Senior level.
This is a story of what practice takes from a coach’s viewpoint. It is reminders and corrections and stepping in to demonstrate. This can be done by physically adjusting a base’s hand or making them run stunts with shoes to prevent them from dropping a flyer. As a coach, Alli knows that they will likely drop stunts, mistime tumbling, or fall, but she is always ready to point out the one small fix that will make everything work out in the end. She is on whenever she gets on the mat and can hold that focus all night. Coaching cheer has made her into a passionate, motivated, and confident adult that I hope to one day be like. Alli is still an overachiever, but she has become so much more than that. She’s a coach.