All-Star Cheering In A Siblings Shadow

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King

Is all about that bass
Staff member
FBOD:LLFB
Dec 4, 2009
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I was asked to post this for someone.

As with all sports, it's typical to have younger siblings follow in the footsteps of their older brother and sister, and naturally, coaches can't help but draw comparisons between the two athletes, despite stark differences in the two. To what point is it okay to compare athletes, and where does it become neglecting to see that athlete as an individual?

let's say Suzie has been cheering for several years, and has developed some impressive tumbling, but is away at college. Suzie convinced her younger sister (Eve, for the sake of giving her a name, is way younger--still middle school aged) to cheer for the first time this year. Eve is only recognized as Suzie's little sister instead of as her own person. If she has a bad day, her coaches sometimes comment, "show us that Suzie-like tumbling!" and when Eve finally nailed her roundoff handspring tuck, she was just told "Finally! we knew you were related to Suzie!" leaving Eve to feel very unappreciated for who she is, and only be compared to Suzie.

Is it ever okay for a coach to compare siblings, especially of such a large age gap (Suzie could very well have only had a backhandspring at Eve's age, but progressed very quickly, but the coaches only know her as an older, experienced tumbler). Have any of you ever been in this situation (on either end of the Suzie-Eve spectrum)? How did you overcome that feeling?

Factor in any emotional insecurities Eve may have. What if she's always facing comparison at home or at school? This obviously wouldn't help her to feel more confident.

What should Eve do? Should her parents get involved? Should Suzie say something to the coaches?
 
I think this is something that a lot of siblings experience. For me it was the other way round actually. I started cheering when I was about 11 so pretty old in comparison to a lot of kids. I convinced my little sister to start the year later when she was 9 and she progressed far quicker than me. For one she gained skills I didn't and for another she got to fly, which I never have. At that age I admit I did begin to resent her a little bit because whenever I got a skill it always seemed to be in the shadow of hers. The fact I was older made this easier to deal with because I couldn't just go cry about it because I'd look like the spoilt brat who wasn't getting any attention. But I can see how easy it would be for a younger sibling looking up to their sister/brother at first and then suddenly resenting the fact they're better than them.

Eventually I realised that most of it was in my head. In actual fact I excelled in areas she didn't (coaching and choreo) and we support each other in everything we achieve. Bottom line is it is VERY important for coaches to treat every athlete as an individual. Otherwise they might not reach their full potential.
 
My sister and I are very far apart in age and she has never encountered this. She also cheers for the same coach as I did. In actuality she is a far better dancer /performer than I was...we have/had the same level of jumps and tumbling...but I flew and she bases and my name is never brought up in comparison to her. At home we are never compared academically either, although sometimes I tell her that shes never going to go to college...but that's just me being mean. If anything I think your scenario would apply more to siblings closer in age than siblings 5+ years apart in age.
 
If it is causing continuing distress for a kid, I would think it would be okay to say something to a coach in as positive of a manner as possible...trying to be really low key. If it is a little kid, the parent should handle it. If it is an older child, maybe the child could try to handle it. If the person making the comparisons is being really ugly, maybe amp it up a bit.

Sure the kid could toughen up, that's life and so on. But you don't want to run off a paying customer either.
 
No, definately not OK to compare sibs. You know they are all so different. I have 3 and each one brings something different to the table. They are all extremely talented. My oldest CP is 4 years older then my middle CP and she is 2 years older then the youngest. Each is extremely talented but they all respond differently to coaching. The oldest liked to be pushed and the more a coach yelled the better she wanted to do. The middle one shuts down when a coach gets to ranting, she thrives on praise. The youngest she can work with any type of coach but in the end the coach that respects her is the one she does the best for.
 
My 2 cp have only been compared 2 times. Once was a bad habit that my older one does when she is really bored and doesn't feel like tumbling. She does some weird thing with her hands in her roundoff. One coach said to the little one that she was doing it just not Rachel and it is a hard habit to break and that she is always telling her to stop. The only other time they were compared was by another coach who said my little ones jumps were so much better. They are and my older one knows her jumps aren't so good but it doesn't bother her. My little one looks up to the older one and wants to be on the same teams her sister has been on so it is making her work harder on her tumbling.
 
Yeah, I'm the opposite, too. I'm in college now and don't cheer anymore, but I still feel the sibling rivalry even today. My middle sister was actually the one who convinced me to do all star. We started the same season, her in the summer and me as a kind of "half year" athlete. She got her skills faster than I did and things just seemed to come more easily to her. Now our youngest sister is progressing faster than both of us ever did. They're on the same team now, one backing and the youngest flying (in the same group, too). My middle sister doesn't care, but I can tell the youngest one feels pressure to step up (even though she has the most skills). Their new gym these past couple of years hasn't compared them against one another, but it did happen a lot in the past. I feel bad when they are compared though, becuase they're both strong in completely opposite areas of cheer... For example, just because one child's strong area is tumbling, doesn't mean their younger sibling's strong points will be tumbling, maybe it's stunting?
 
My whole life I've been 'Nicki's Sister.' She's a grade older, but a year and a half age-wise. We look really similar too (not so much now as when we were kids), so I always got called Nicki by mistake. We also played the same sports/did the same activities for a long time (up until about HS/end of MS), so it was really annoying. When I started doing drama in HS, someone finally referred to her as 'Kristen's Sister.' She told me that just from that one moment, she realized how I must have felt my whole life lol. We do different things now/have different interests, so it's not so bad. 'Caused a bit of resentment between us for a while because we felt like we were being lumped together instead of being identified as two separate individuals.

So yeah, I don't think it's a good idea to compare them. One of them usually gets their feelings hurt..
 
Yeah, I'm the opposite, too. I'm in college now and don't cheer anymore, but I still feel the sibling rivalry even today. My middle sister was actually the one who convinced me to do all star. We started the same season, her in the summer and me as a kind of "half year" athlete. She got her skills faster than I did and things just seemed to come more easily to her. Now our youngest sister is progressing faster than both of us ever did. They're on the same team now, one backing and the youngest flying (in the same group, too). My middle sister doesn't care, but I can tell the youngest one feels pressure to step up (even though she has the most skills). Their new gym these past couple of years hasn't compared them against one another, but it did happen a lot in the past. I feel bad when they are compared though, becuase they're both strong in completely opposite areas of cheer... For example, just because one child's strong area is tumbling, doesn't mean their younger sibling's strong points will be tumbling, maybe it's stunting?

In my case as well I was my sister's back when she moved up the the junior team I was on and I think this helped her progress a lot quicker in flying. She really trusted me and she would try things others wouldn't because they were scared. I think this is actually a bad thing for her now though. She flies on her college team and the trust isn't there with her stunt group so I think she can be hesitant at times which makes for a lot of bruised bases!
 
We have a lot of siblings in our program, but I have never encountered one being compared to the other. However, a couple years back one of our athletes little sisters joined our mini team, and progressed very quickly. Last year they both ended up being on the same team, and the younger one got to fly and was in the front for the dance and last tumbler. Both of the girls did not come back for the next season and had decided to take some time off to try different sports, so the older one could find her niche. We also have two girls on our mini team who are sisters and very close in age (13 months apart). they both have progressed a lot this year, but you can tell that one is a little bit better, so hoping this doesn't cause problems in the future and that they both keep getting good!
 
At parents night at school my art teacher talked for 4 minutes on my sister who should have gotten into the best art college in the country. And in the last 1 minute, admitted she didnt know who I was.

Living in the shadow SUCKS.
 
I was the mother of this type of situation. I have 8 1/2 years between my CP's. My oldest is now 23 and was an awesome tumbler in her day, good flyer, base and at great at jumps. There were no spring floors, and layouts for girls were considered great she did throw a full a couple times, but hating twisting. My little one now 14, grew up a gym rat, her tumbling surpassed her sister, she is working combos to doubles. She does much better dancing, but her jumps could use some work!! Sometimes the our coach has joked about you 720 like your sis, or glad you don't dance like you sis. But I don't feel anything ever came out of the picking since it was all done in fun. My little one will brag about her tumbling, and her sis will still say wanna see my toe touch?? I can see both sides of this coin!!!
 
My oldest is about to turn 10. She is a strong tumbler. Tumbling comes easy for her, but she really wants to be a flyer. My youngest just turned 8. Tumbling isn't her strength, but she is a natural flyer. It is ironic, they both want what the other has. I try to get them to cheer & encourage each other. It seems to work. They are very close sisters. :)
 
My sister and I were fairly competitive with each other (she's 2 years younger than me), but she was usually better at ANYTHING she tried. She used to joke about how she learned her tumbling skills on the beam faster than I learned them on the floor. Seriously--she had a backhandspring on beam before I ever threw one myself on the mat. We weren't really compared though, because we didn't really do the same sport, and even the year or two she tried cheer we were on the same team and had started in the program at the same time, so there wasn't a "well your sister could do this at this age..." type of thinking.

If this girl is upset about the comparisons, I would suggest she say something to her coach. Simply "Please don't compare me to my sister anymore. I am different than her and want to be treated as an individual, not compared." Sometimes--many times--coaches don't realize how much it bothers the sibling. They may think its all in good fun, and that the sibling isn't affected by it. Just have her mention it. I won't be surprised if the coach apologized and made an effort to stop.
 
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