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Clear expectations make everything better

As a cheerleader, do you ever feel like your coach isn’t happy with you or the team, but you’re not sure why or what to do about it?

As a coach, are there things your squad keeps doing that drive you crazy?

Problems like these often happen when the squad doesn’t have a good understanding of what the coach expects of them. How could that happen? It could be that the coach:

  1. hasn’t totally thought through how she wants the squad to behave or perform in each situation.
  2. knows what he wants, but hasn’t clearly communicated it to the squad.
  3. told the squad her expectations once (maybe at the first practice), but the squad has since forgotten.
  4. successfully communicated his expectations, but didn’t call people out when they didn’t do what they’re supposed to, thus the squad doesn’t think they really need to do things how the coach wants.

So what can you do? As a squad member, if you’re not sure how your coach wants you to do something, just ask him! And once you know, you can help your coach by making sure your teammates know too.  If you do know, great! Make sure you always try your hardest to do things how your coach wants you to, and encourage your teammates to do the same, and trust in your coach that doing it his way will make your squad better.

As a coach,  it helps to reflect on the four points above and ask yourself honestly how you’re stacking up. (I know I could’ve done better in all of them!) Think about how you could improve each one, such as:

  • post some key expectations on wall posters in the practice gym
  • incorporate key expectations into a team acronym
  • repeatedly tell the squad what you expect, so they’ll remember it (don’t assume saying it or emailing it once is enough – people forget)
  • decide how you’ll handle it when people don’t do what you’ve told them to (verbal reminder? push-ups? sprints?) It’s always easier in the moment if you have a plan beforehand.
If a squad doesn't know the coach's expectations, you get a rudderless ship and frustrated coach. Share on X

What advice or questions do you have on setting expectations? Comment below!

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