AES Cougar Cheerleading

Cheerleading 101: Coaching

Coaching    Dance    Exercises    Jumps    Motions    Stunting    Tryouts   Tumbling

Whether you are working with a very small and young team or a very large group of adults, one thing remains the same: the coach sets the tone for the squad. The management techniques vary depending upon age level, but the team always looks to the coach for confident leadership.

Safety    Coaching Resources     Coaching Youth Teams    Books and Magazines    Message Boards

Safety Coaching Resources

In-depth look at safety stats. (Do not miss!)
Is cheerleading as safe as other sports?
Pediatrics sports injuries study
Youth Sports Safety Statistics
Cheerleading injury rates being misreported
Thoughts on cheering safety equipment
Building a safe cheering program
The Reality of Cheerleading Safety
Cheerleading Safety
Nat'l Council for Spirit Safety & Education
Coaching safety certification
National Cheer Safety Parent Guide
AACCA safety rules
NFHS spirit rules
Videos of 2009-10 NFHS rules changes
NFHS safety rules and coach education FAQ
USASF rules
USASF credentialing

Message Boards's Cheerleading forum
Ms. Pineapple's Cheering Message board
Varsity's bulletin board (Great coaches section!)
The Fierce Board
USASF message board
Cheerleading Answers at WePlay

Sample practice plan and games to play
Cheerleading terms glossary
State Coaches' Associations
The International Cheer Union
The International All-Star Federation
American Assoc. of Cheer Coaches and Admins
NYSCA Cheer Coach Training Online
Cheer Training Corner
New Coach's Survival Guide
How to Coach Cheerleading
Ms. Pineapple's coaching resources's Coaching tips
Cheerleading section at Love to Know
Cheerleading Coaches' Corner
Cheerleading Info Center

Coaching Youth Cheerleaders

Coaching very young cheerleaders
Sample basic youth team code of conduct
Getting kids' attention
Youth Cheer Rule Changes 2010-11
Youth Cheer Coaches Online Course
How to Teach Youth Cheerleaders
Guide to Coaching Youth Cheer Teams
How to Coach Childrens' Cheer Teams
Youth Cheerleading on WePlay
Little Cheerleaders at LovetoKnow
Cheerleading for Kids at Activity TV
Beginner Stunts
Cheers and chants with words and motions
Sample youth cheer dance counts

Books (reviews below) Magazines

"Coaching Youth Cheerleading"
"The All New Official Cheerleader's Handbook"
"The Ultimate Guide to Cheerleading"
"Coaching Cheerleading Successfully"
"Developing a Successful Cheerleading Program"
"Complete Cheerleading"

"Cheer Coach and Advisor Magazine"
"American Cheerleader"
"Inside Cheerleading"
"All-Star Cheerleading Magazine"
"Cheer Biz News"
"The Cheerleader Magazine"
"Recreational Cheerleading"

Book Reviews

"The All New Official Cheerleader's Handbook"

This one was written before most current cheerleaders were born, and the pyramid section is woefully out of date with its 3 &1/2 highs, but the key ingredients on cheering how-to are all still relevant, both physically and spirit-wise. It is still, in my estimation, the best book for a beginning cheerleader to have because it has:

Stretches which are still helpful.

A tremendous variety of jump examples, more-so than any other book I have seen, including the C/window, & stag. Also starts with the tuck as the most basic jump rather than the toe touch. Unfortunately, it doesn't really show you the approach and landing techinques.

More variations of arm and hand positions than any other book I've seen.

Great pictures of what not to do when hitting motions. (Broken wrists, fly-away arms, uneven shoulders)

Simple, basic partner stunts best suited for beginner cheerleaders who need to learn the step-lock method (at a supervised practice, of course.) Pony mount, Knee/Standing tabletop, Side sit, 'Bama sit, single based thigh stand variations, victory mount, star, flying angel, and stag catch. Their tallest stunt is a shoulder stand. No prep level or higher stunts are taught in this book, but there are pictures of some taller pyramids, a few of which are still legal.

Good sample dance 8 counts, though a bit out of date for the Hip-hop age. But perfect if you have a marching band.

Small section on basic tumbling, but smartly suggests that cheerleaders seek out qualified instructors to learn from.

Several pages of cheers and chants: basic spirit, football, basketball, and wrestling

"The Ultimate Guide to Cheerleading"

Excellent for people who want to do a more athletic form of cheerleading. However it moves quickly past a lot of the basics that the older but still relevant "The Official Cheerleaders Handbook" covers in depth in terms of jump variety, basic stunts, and correct motion technique.

Good section on how to approach and land a jump complete with pictures.

This is the book to have for learning intermediate and advanced stunts, both all-girl and co-ed. Covers thigh stands, various load-ins for preps and extensions, moves to hit at the top of the stunt, transitions, and dismounts. I might have liked a few more pictures of the process of building each stunt rather than just a few of them, but the key ones are all there and the explanations are very concise.

Good section of sample cheers and chants, though fewer than the "Handbook"

Good notes to coaches to help them guide their team, from formation of a new squad to raising spirit level through the school year to the competition mat.

My advice? Beginning cheerleaders need both of the above books. Intermediate and advanced cheerleaders who really know their stuff only need the second one, unless they want to consider finding ways to update some old school moves and look a little different from everyone else who attended summer camp with them. Also extremely helpful for coaches who are unfamiliar with the more current stunts used in the sport.

"Coaching Cheerleading Successfully"

A must-have for all coaches. There are a fair variety of motions and jumps depicted, but they are drawings rather than photographs. Also, there is no visual depiction of how to prep for a jump, and this book starts you off with a thigh stand instead of stag stunts but there are stunt variations here not shown in "Handbook" or "Ultimate Guide" and the photographs lead you pretty much through the whole sequence. Also in its favor it does have great tips on:

forming a team

keeping on top of your legal responsibilities

developing a practice plan

reaching out to parents and the community

building up your members' self-esteem

evaluating and tweaking your program