In order to coach and be compliant with government standards and recommendations all coaches and clubs should ensure they have the following:
The correct level of qualification is essential before any Coaching takes place
- As a qualified Cheerleading Coach, there are many opportunities available to you and it is important that you take the right steps if you want to be a successful.
The first step is to set up your own Cheerleading Club that, ultimately, will provide support and motivation to all involved. This is highly recommended, as it will allow you to put your acquired skills into action and also give a firm foundation for development.
Additional Education and Training
- Coaches should seek to be aware of developments within the Sport of Cheerleading and are encouraged to seek opportunities for personal development at all times.
UKCA has a comprehensive Coach Development Structure to help Coaches progress at all levels
- Every Coach/Club/Squad needs insurance
Remember, the safety of your Cheerleaders should be top priority!
Click here for information – insure4sport
- Every adult working with young people, or vulnerable adults, is required by law to have a valid DBS check. For further information click here
- UKCA can carry out checks for qualified UKCA coaches and Leaders.
First Aid Certificate
- Every adult working with young people, or vulnerable adults, should have a valid First Aid certificate. For further information click here
Then, determine how the Club/Squad will set up:
- Have a Constitution
- This will give you the foundations to build a strong Club with a sense of purpose and direction. An example can be found here:
- Are you going to run the Club/Squad as a sole trader or elect a Committee before Coaching begins or, will this evolve over time?
- Volunteers are often best sourced from parental or guardian groups. Taking on a Club/Squad can sometimes seem overwhelming and volunteers are a great source of help when time and resources are pushed. Many volunteers are happy to take on a specific role (Committee Member, Welfare Officer, Chaperone, Administrator, Assistant Coach) as long as they are made aware of their responsibilities
How many Volunteers will you need and what duties will they fulfil?
- Will you need them to support the general running of the Club or assist with Coaching?
Will my Club be successful?
- It is very important to be well organised when running a Club
Set up a bank account specifically for your Club’s funds
- Decide who will be listed as signatories
Make sure that receipts and records are kept for everything you do
- (Venue hire, class payments, equipment, uniform expenses, etc.)
Ensure Cheerleaders are aware of the payment system from the first session
- Set your payment standards. If you run a rigid system from the beginning, it is more likely to succeed.
Before Coaching begins
Find a Venue
Area, accessibility, and location are key aspects to consider.
- The venue should have a good safe working space for the number of participants and the location needs to be accessible to all.
- Is it safe for all activities (Correct floor covering for Dance – Height for Cheer)?
- Does it have additional development equipment for Cheer (Mats)?
- Ensure you complete a risk assessment form for each facility.
Additional information on club risk assessment can be found here Sport England Club Matters
Confirm Session Times
- Ensure that time has been allowed for class cross-overs
What about participants for the Club/Squad?
Without participants, you will not have a Club/Squad
- Schools are an excellent point of contact for participants. Speak to local schools and arrange taster sessions within school P.E. time or, as part of after-school activities.
- By printing information leaflets and distributing to local schools, this should produce an interest and buzz about your Cheerleading Club/Squad and attendance should be high.
- Click here for an example registration form and waiver
Marketing the Club/Squad
Promotion is a key element to a successful Club
- Market/Advertise the activity and sessions available by printing Posters & Flyers
- Participants will not attend if they are not aware of the activity you provide. Flyers should be vibrant and eye-catching, and contain all the necessary information.
- For example: your contact details, name, phone number, email address, your qualifications, the Club venue, the day and times and a little information about what Cheerleading is. Additionally, contact local press to help publicise your Club/Squad.
- With a pre-existing squad, taking part in and distributing leaflets at local events and festivals is a way to refresh your squad numbers and keep the committed students focused.
Think about taster sessions and what should it includes
A taster session is basically a short Cheerleading class
It gives the students a ‘taste’ of what they should expect if they attend your classes.
The content is very important. You should always make your taster sessions enjoyable. Participants should not be bombarded with too much information, just provide them with enough to get their interest and they will be eager to return and learn more.
(See your lesson plans for more information.)
Prepare a Risk Assessment Document that can be used for all Cheerleading Activities
Prepare Registration Form for all Cheerleaders
- Transfer medical information given on file for emergency purposes
Prepare a Code of Conduct for all Cheerleaders
- This will give them goals from the first session
Prepare Lesson Plans
- Take into account age, ability and goals
Prepare Assessment Charts
- Award Scheme for skill attainment motivates and gives realistic goals
Have an Emergency Plan prepared
- Share this with all Cheerleaders and Volunteers at every session
Keep an accident book/log
- These are available at stationary stores and must be kept up to date at all times.
- Insurers will require you to have an accident book, as it will provide proof of the incident in the event of a claim being made.
Decide on a Club/Squad name
- Design a Logo, Set Up website and other social media links
Produce letters and information newsletters
- Parents and participants need to be kept informed of developments and future opportunities available to them. It is important to provide regular, clear communication.
Poms come in all shapes, sizes and prices so you need to decide on:
- Budget available
- Number of Poms needed
- Colour required
- Do you want to Make your own Poms? Click here for Example:
- Club/Squad colours – See below as this might not be important at this stage
- Footwear is extremely important so, spend a little time researching suitable and affordable shoes for the discipline being delivered.
Roles and Responsibilities
The Coach has a responsibility to make Cheerleading FUN, EDUCATIONAL and most importantly, SAFE!
As a Coach, your will impart your knowledge of Cheerleading skills, but more importantly, you will be a ROLE MODEL and MENTOR for the people you teach. Your students will look to you for guidance and it is therefore essential that you lead by example:
- If you arrive late to training, there is no incentive for them to arrive on time.
- If you look scruffy, they will have nothing to aspire to.
Your attitude will have a big influence on the motivation of your squad.
If you show favouritism, only the favourites will work for you.
- Always put the needs of the Cheerleaders first
- Winning is not the be all and end all
- Encourage Cheerleaders to achieve all that they can
You are an Ambassador for your club and the sport you represent
- Keep detailed records
- Index cards for each Cheerleader with contact information and any medical requirements
- You will need a squad constitution outlining rules and responsibilities. This should be given to all parents and cheerleaders
- Keep people well informed. Inform parents with newsletters giving details of scheduled events with positive news and encouragement. Do not just rely on verbal announcements given at practice getting through. Your Cheerleaders’ parents can be your greatest asset in helping you manage your group. Hold a Parents Night, with a display and short presentation. Motivate them and enlist their support
- Make up calendars with all your key dates, special events, games and practice sessions. Have your cheerleaders keep it handy at home to remind them
Keep a detailed budget. List all your outgoings and break them down into essentials and desirables. Work within your budget for regular operating costs, and plan extras around fund-raising and other non-guaranteed income
- Organise one or two non-cheerleading team building outings, maybe a trip to a theme park, seaside, or BBQ party
- Encourage and reward progress with certificates, pins, ribbons, or other small spirit items
- Have FUN!
You may have heard the phrase, “Failure to plan is planning to fail”
Ask any Coach and they will tell you how true this statement is!
If you have a clear plan it is amazing what you can achieve
Try asking yourselves these questions:
- What is the goal for your team this year?
- What is your own personal goal within that team?
If you can answer these questions, you can begin to formulate a plan to achieve these aims.
Before each training session, a Coach will have prepared a lesson plan, which is one piece of the jig-saw that will ultimately fit together to achieve the Coach’s goal.
The Coach will have considered the:
- safety and risk assessment
- purpose of the session
- outcome they are seeking to achieve
- equipment they will use
- venue they are using
- number of people taking part
- length of the session
All of these factors play a part in the effective planning of a session
Cheerleaders should be encouraged to develop in the same way as Coaches. UKCA has a Coach Education Pathway that will develop Coaching technique, as well as more generic skills that are applicable to everyday life.
- Always start on time.
- Allow preparation time by arriving at least half an hour before practice and encourage your cheerleaders to arrive early enough to be ready to start when you do
- Lesson plans should be produced for all practice sessions. This way you can prepare effectively and if for any reason you can not be at practice, another Coach can easily pick up from where you left off
- Reduce the risk of injuries by practicing good training methods, giving clear instructions, using appropriate safety equipment and maintaining control of your group (The best protection against legal issues is having taken every reasonable precaution)
- Any Assistant Coaches must be supervised at all times
- There should be a qualified First Aider at hand for every practice, either from the squad organisation or the school or centre where you train
- Always have your lessons pre-planned
- Stay motivated and enjoy the activity
- Uniform means everyone wears the same.
- Being neat tidy and well presented could earn you points for appearance in competition.
- You do not have to spend lots of money to look professional or effective
- Clothing and footwear should be appropriate to the activity, both in terms of safety requirements and being of wholesome image appearance
- Uniformity is key and attention to detail important.
- Clothing should be neither oversized nor clingy, but fit well and look freshly pressed.
- Polo shirts or shell tops with tennis or netball skirts are the easiest to obtain
- Select materials that will stand repeated usage and cleaning without losing shape or colour.
- Take special care in matching colours between garment items
- Shoes need to be suitable for the activity and performing surface, and all look the same.
- Check laces are properly tied with ends tucked away.
- Matching socks and hair accessories all add to creating a uniform appearance
- Hair should be securely tied back away from the face
- Remove all jewellery
- Fingernails should be short enough to be able to make a fist comfortably
- Makeup should be natural and not excessive
- Tassels, pockets, tights, and baggy clothing are all safety hazards
- Clean/whiten your shoes
- Wear tops tucked into skirts/shorts rather than hanging out loose
- Check that when you reach up a bare section of midriff does not appear
- Wherever possible the uniform should fit properly and hang well
- With growing cheerleaders and changes of roster you may need to mix and match items to get the best fit. A few minor dressmaking adjustments can made a big difference
- Learn and understand the competition rules, whether for the sport your squad supports, or for competitions they enter, and teach these rules to your squad members
- Set the correct tone for the event by exchanging cordial greetings with the Coaches of other competing teams
- Always respect and support Competition Officials.
- Do not indulge in conduct that would incite Players, Spectators, or other Cheerleaders against the Officials.
- Public criticism of Officials is unethical. Always exert your influence to enhance good sportsmanship by directly working with sports teams, supporters clubs, and administrators
Share the load!
Good luck in setting up your Cheerleading Club