For 15 years, the Ascension Eagles have delivered schools coaching in Newham and its surrounding boroughs. In that time we’ve had plenty of opportunity to work out what works, and what doesn’t.
This list has been compiled by Sammie Bromley, AEC’s most experienced and decorated schools coach.
Communicate with the school and its pupils. Essentially, you want to build a bond with them. For many of the athletes, and teachers, you as a coach will make up the entirety of their cheerleading experience, and knowledge. Everything they know will be from you!
Learn your athletes' names. Similar to the previous point, you are going to be like a cheerleading oracle. They’re going to look up to you, and perhaps want to be like you. Learning the athletes’ names is a really simple way to build rapport and a positive relationship!
If you run schools sessions like us, or are confined by the school calendar, you’ll know what it’s like to work under a very strict schedule; we normally work on the basis of ten sessions a term, with a showcase/ competition at the end (which doesn’t leave much time for choreography). Therefore, it’s really important to know the ability range of your athletes so as to save time later. During the first couple of sessions try running practice like a try out; learn what the children can do and support those who need extra help. Two sessions on this may seem like a lot, but you’ll be grateful for it when you’re choreographing.
Keep sessions fun. This may seem like a given, but it’s easy to forget this when you’re stressing about competition. The best thing to do is remember it’s a club and try to make sure athletes go home having learned something new. Many parents will have paid for the after school club too, so you want them to feel like this extra investment is worthwhile.
Make every child feel important in their role. Everyone is needed at sessions and as soon as someone is allowed to feel unworthy, that’s when attendance becomes an issue- and we all know how difficult things can become when that happens.
What do you find really helps with schools classes? Leave a comment in the section below; let’s learn from each other!
Click here for footage from one of our recent Schools Showcases!