Parent Of A Very Disappointed Senior Cheerleader.

Mlh22

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Jan 25, 2021
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Hi all! Newbie here! I apologize for the long note & hope it’s ok to post a long comment. But I am heartbroken about this. I am the parent of a senior who had been on her V team since she was a freshman. We had only 13 girls at the time so it was no cut and we had to be V. She has struggled each year to try and be as good as the other girls. The coach had made it very difficult for her by not helping her when asks, making her feel like she doesn’t count and makes her feel
bad in general. This year obviously had not been a typical year. They had tryouts and she made my daughter an alternate. She was an alternate as a sophomore as well and the issue with this is this coach doesn’t allow alternates to practice with the team. They are forced to sit off to the side and watch but they can’t take part. How are they supposed to step in if they can’t practice? She doesn’t want to sit for 2 hours watching d Ed very one else practice & she does nothing. Now my Senior is so sad and feels like she doesn’t deserve any recognition as a senior because she isn’t doing anything. I am heartbroken for her. She is the hardest worker on her team, never missed any practices and was really hoping she could be on the floor in her last year after being a loyal member all four years. Her coach tried to have her be on JV ( this is the first year that she had a JV team) but my daughter didn’t want to after being on v the last 3 years. She told her coach she would quit if she put her in JV so now she’s on V but an alternate. I feel like the coach is holding a grudge because my daughter threaten to quit. She told my daughter that she wasn’t committed to the team by refusing JV. My daughter kept saying to me she wanted to quit but then she wouldn’t be able to be with her friends. I told her to just try and gut it out since there isn’t that many comps assuming we start up. She’s come this far and quitting would just confirm what the coach said about not being committed. She just wants to be a part of the routine in her last year.
 
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oncecoolcoachnowmom

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A few things:

1. I coached high school for a while. I have never done V or JV by grade level. Only by skills. I definitely have had to offer JV spots to seniors during competitive years. Not fun, but skills are skills and it is not fair to anyone for a lesser skilled senior to make it on strength of being a senior.

2. I will say that my alternates always cheered games and practiced. I don't fully understand having non-practicing alternates.

3. Did this coach give you the alternate expectations up front? I always let my alternates know that they would not compete unless needed but would practice for comp and cheer all games. Trying to understand whether you knew she would be sitting out when she accepted the spot?
 

Mlh22

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Jan 25, 2021
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A few things:

1. I coached high school for a while. I have never done V or JV by grade level. Only by skills. I definitely have had to offer JV spots to seniors during competitive years. Not fun, but skills are skills and it is not fair to anyone for a lesser skilled senior to make it on strength of being a senior.

2. I will say that my alternates always cheered games and practiced. I don't fully understand having non-practicing alternates.

3. Did this coach give you the alternate expectations up front? I always let my alternates know that they would not compete unless needed but would practice for comp and cheer all games. Trying to understand whether you knew she would be sitting out when she accepted the spot?
If we were having a normal season she would cheer at games but our sports are still on hold. As for alternates, yes she knew that if she was an alternate then she might not be on the floor unless needed. If there were other seniors that would be on the JV team I don’t think she would feel as bad but they’re all freshman and I think it just made her feel worse if she was with them and not with the other seniors that she’s been with for the last four years. This is the first year that our team has had enough people to form a JV team. They were all varsity because we didn’t have any other teams. So I guess my daughter got a little lucky because she was competing university level and maybe she wasn’t a varsity performer. Honestly, none of these girls at the time were varsity and some of them still aren’t. The coach has favored a certain group of girls that can do skills and when they have trouble she helps them. But when my daughter has trouble she refuses to help her and just tells her to figure it out. The fact that she knew the coach doesn’t allow alternates to practice with the team has always been an issue. She was an alternate her sophomore year and never got to be on the floor. The issue is that this coach has always been very hard on her. She came in with no experience at all as a freshman. This coach had never been a head coach until she came to our school. My daughter and the 10 other freshman were all new. When we first met this coach she said it didn’t matter if they didn’t have experience that she would teach them and grow them into good cheerleaders. My daughter was the underdog and had the hardest time but never gave up. She did privates lessons on the side and tried so hard. She’s not very strong so it was challenging for her but she grew to love the sport and didn’t want to give up. The coach gave up on her. Instead of being supportive and helping her the way she said she would she would just yell at her and make her feel bad about herself and embarrass her in front of the team. The girls on her team treated my daughter poorly because of the way the coach treated her. I was surprise she didn’t quit I’m not sure I would’ve been able to handle that kind of pressure. Her junior year was the only year that she was on the floor. She was a flyer and stunted and it was a great year for her. Her tumbling skills were not that great but she’s been working with a private coach for a long time trying to get her skills and it’s been very difficult. Then Covid hit and now here we are in a situation where they’re not allowed to stunt and that is the skill that kept her on the floor. I completely understand 100% about what you’re saying and I agree. But I feel like if the coaches approach is a little bit more supportive saying “I realize you really want to be on the floor but I can’t if your skills don’t match up but we will help you get there” kind of response, I think my daughter would be taking this a little bit better. It’s very hard to stand on the side and hear your daughter say how sad and left out she feels . She’s not going to quit because she only has six weeks left but it’s going to be a very hard six weeks because she has to sit there and watch everybody go through a routine and practice as a team and she isn’t allowed to be a part of that. Recently, the coach told her that if she can get her skill that may be, she might put her on the floor. I don’t think she had any intention of putting around the floor to be honest. My daughter has a skill that other girls have but she isn’t in the floor. It’s quite frustrating as you can imagine. I’m not expecting the coach to do anything at this point that’s good for her. She’s caused other girls to quit in the past so this is not a surprise as a parent, it’s very hard to see an adult make your child feel that bad about themselves.
 

oncecoolcoachnowmom

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If we were having a normal season she would cheer at games but our sports are still on hold. As for alternates, yes she knew that if she was an alternate then she might not be on the floor unless needed. If there were other seniors that would be on the JV team I don’t think she would feel as bad but they’re all freshman and I think it just made her feel worse if she was with them and not with the other seniors that she’s been with for the last four years. This is the first year that our team has had enough people to form a JV team. They were all varsity because we didn’t have any other teams. So I guess my daughter got a little lucky because she was competing university level and maybe she wasn’t a varsity performer. Honestly, none of these girls at the time were varsity and some of them still aren’t. The coach has favored a certain group of girls that can do skills and when they have trouble she helps them. But when my daughter has trouble she refuses to help her and just tells her to figure it out. The fact that she knew the coach doesn’t allow alternates to practice with the team has always been an issue. She was an alternate her sophomore year and never got to be on the floor. The issue is that this coach has always been very hard on her. She came in with no experience at all as a freshman. This coach had never been a head coach until she came to our school. My daughter and the 10 other freshman were all new. When we first met this coach she said it didn’t matter if they didn’t have experience that she would teach them and grow them into good cheerleaders. My daughter was the underdog and had the hardest time but never gave up. She did privates lessons on the side and tried so hard. She’s not very strong so it was challenging for her but she grew to love the sport and didn’t want to give up. The coach gave up on her. Instead of being supportive and helping her the way she said she would she would just yell at her and make her feel bad about herself and embarrass her in front of the team. The girls on her team treated my daughter poorly because of the way the coach treated her. I was surprise she didn’t quit I’m not sure I would’ve been able to handle that kind of pressure. Her junior year was the only year that she was on the floor. She was a flyer and stunted and it was a great year for her. Her tumbling skills were not that great but she’s been working with a private coach for a long time trying to get her skills and it’s been very difficult. Then Covid hit and now here we are in a situation where they’re not allowed to stunt and that is the skill that kept her on the floor. I completely understand 100% about what you’re saying and I agree. But I feel like if the coaches approach is a little bit more supportive saying “I realize you really want to be on the floor but I can’t if your skills don’t match up but we will help you get there” kind of response, I think my daughter would be taking this a little bit better. It’s very hard to stand on the side and hear your daughter say how sad and left out she feels . She’s not going to quit because she only has six weeks left but it’s going to be a very hard six weeks because she has to sit there and watch everybody go through a routine and practice as a team and she isn’t allowed to be a part of that. Recently, the coach told her that if she can get her skill that may be, she might put her on the floor. I don’t think she had any intention of putting around the floor to be honest. My daughter has a skill that other girls have but she isn’t in the floor. It’s quite frustrating as you can imagine. I’m not expecting the coach to do anything at this point that’s good for her. She’s caused other girls to quit in the past so this is not a surprise as a parent, it’s very hard to see an adult make your child feel that bad about themselves.

More thoughts:

1. Put in another context, if a basketball player was on the Varsity bench, a good coach isn't saying "I can help you get there." His job is building best team and making team their best. He can provide feedback and direct the player to opportunities, but it is not on a coach to make a bench player game ready. That player usually does his best in practice, goes home, works hard, works at home in the gym, maybe works out with a trainer or other coach, etc. I would provide practice opportunities for sure but if my kids wanted to get better, they took privates, did outside tumbling, etc. I couldn't individually focus on one alternate out of a 24 person team with 2 hours of practice. (Which I can agree with you that this is why alternates need to be practicing.)

2. To the above point, focus on what you can control.

3. I validate that seeing a child upset is hard.

4. I agree that only having one squad for so long probably gave your child an unrealistic expectation and idea of her skills. With program growth, comes competition for spots, comes placements we don't like.

5. If nothing else, high school is over in like 4 more months and she will enter a world in which no one cares what role you had on the HS cheer team! Yay!
 

Mlh22

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Jan 25, 2021
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More thoughts:

1. Put in another context, if a basketball player was on the Varsity bench, a good coach isn't saying "I can help you get there." His job is building best team and making team their best. He can provide feedback and direct the player to opportunities, but it is not on a coach to make a bench player game ready. That player usually does his best in practice, goes home, works hard, works at home in the gym, maybe works out with a trainer or other coach, etc. I would provide practice opportunities for sure but if my kids wanted to get better, they took privates, did outside tumbling, etc. I couldn't individually focus on one alternate out of a 24 person team with 2 hours of practice. (Which I can agree with you that this is why alternates need to be practicing.)

2. To the above point, focus on what you can control.

3. I validate that seeing a child upset is hard.

4. I agree that only having one squad for so long probably gave your child an unrealistic expectation and idea of her skills. With program growth, comes competition for spots, comes placements we don't like.

5. If nothing else, high school is over in like 4 more months and she will enter a world in which no one cares what role you had on the HS cheer team! Yay!

i really appreciate your feedback and I totally agree with you 100% on all points which is why I have been staying out of it and letting my daughter handle it. The tough thing is when she says to me that the only person that makes her feel bad about herself and so vulnerable is her coach. She’s usually the type of girl that will stick up for herself and not let anyone walk all over her. But since this is her coach and she’s afraid that if she stands up for herself the coach is going to react in a negative way, because that’s what she’s done in the past when other people have tried to stick up for themselves, she feels trapped. She’s in a damned if you do damned if you don’t senario. I actually spoke with a mom recently whose daughter went through the same thing last year in her senior year and her daughter felt that she was being bullied. She tried to stick up for herself and the coach made an example of her and made sure that she was never included in anything. To me that’s a very childish way of dealing with the situation. My daughter witnessed this and when now that it’s happening to her she doesn’t want to be on the receiving end of the coach’s behavior. I’m just angry because this coach has broken my daughter’s spirit which was very difficult to do considering how happy she felt when she first started high school and looked forward to being a cheerleader. Instead of this year ending on a good note with her feeling good about herself it’s ending with a very bad taste in her mouth. We are all looking forward to the end of this long road. Just hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel right now because she feels so horrible about herself sitting and watching her friends do what she so desperately would like to do. She just wants to feel like she’s being included and feels like she’s part of the team and the coach clearly has no intention of making that happen. I think if the coach had a different approach to the situation my daughter would feel better about it. To be honest, I respect this coach more than she deserves so I don’t get involved , however, I’m a big fan of “it’s not what you say it’s how you say it” and how this coach chooses to communicate with these girls is borderline bullying. IMO.
 

Mlh22

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Jan 25, 2021
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More thoughts:

1. Put in another context, if a basketball player was on the Varsity bench, a good coach isn't saying "I can help you get there." His job is building best team and making team their best. He can provide feedback and direct the player to opportunities, but it is not on a coach to make a bench player game ready. That player usually does his best in practice, goes home, works hard, works at home in the gym, maybe works out with a trainer or other coach, etc. I would provide practice opportunities for sure but if my kids wanted to get better, they took privates, did outside tumbling, etc. I couldn't individually focus on one alternate out of a 24 person team with 2 hours of practice. (Which I can agree with you that this is why alternates need to be practicing.)

2. To the above point, focus on what you can control.

3. I validate that seeing a child upset is hard.

4. I agree that only having one squad for so long probably gave your child an unrealistic expectation and idea of her skills. With program growth, comes competition for spots, comes placements we don't like.

5. If nothing else, high school is over in like 4 more months and she will enter a world in which no one cares what role you had on the HS cheer team! Yay!
One other thing I wanted to add to my reply above is that the coach told me daughter she would help her and then when my daughter asked for help she ignored her. She shouldn’t offer to help her if she had no intention of following through.
 

oncecoolcoachnowmom

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Question: What sort of interactions has your child had with this woman that leads you to label it as bullying?

I ask this bc I have had this conversation with students in my line of work but it bears mentioning for adults as well:

Every single negative interaction with someone is not bullying.

Bullying is pattern of behavior/words from an adult that is abusive, threatening or otherwise mentally/physically harmful.

Refusing to put your child on the mat for comps is not necessarily bullying - which is why I asked.
 
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Mlh22

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Question: What sort of interactions has your child had with this woman that leads you to label it as bullying?

I ask this bc I have had this conversation with students in my line of work but it bears mentioning for adults as well:

Every single negative interaction with someone is not bullying.

Bullying is pattern of behavior/words from an adult that is abusive, threatening or otherwise mentally/physically harmful.

Refusing to put your child on the mat for comps is not necessarily bullying - which is why I asked.

I agree that not being out on the floor is not bullying. Not at all. My daughter came home last night and said that the coach kept yelling at her. She said that she was doing everything she told her to do but it didn't seem like it was good enough. For example, the coach told her to stand up and watch the routine so she did but then she yelled at her to move because she was distracting the team. There is another alternate that was sitting off to the side not paying any attention to what was going on and the coach just let her sit and didn't say anything. FYI This other girl is one of her favored girls who could care less about cheer. Why she's on the team is a mystery. She gets to do whatever she wants. My daughter told me that she cried four times last night. She tried to talk to her, but the coach just walks away and ignores her. My daughter said she felt like she was being bullied and she's scared a to face her. She was embarrassed in front of everyone that the coach calls her out for everything and doesn't seem to be calling anyone else out. I have no idea why my daughter is targeted but I really feel like it's gotten out of hand. My daughter feels so stressed about going to practice. At one point, I thought maybe she was taking it the wrong way but two of her friends on the team confirmed that the coach's behavior was exactly the way she explained it. Another issue was that one of the team members didn't show up for practice, which is a big no no unless it's emergent. My daughter had NEVER missed a practice in the four years she's been there. We even cancelled a trip once because the practice schedule changed at the last minute and ended up losing a lot of money. Usually, the alternates go in for those that aren't there. The coach didn't put my daughter in. So now she feels like she will never be put in even though that is what an alternate is supposed to do! At this point, she is not as concerned about not being on the floor. She just wants the coach to stop yelling at her and talk to her in a normal way. She asked me if I would talk to the coach. I told her that her coach would not respond well to that and that she should talk to her first. This coach has said in the past to other parents who went to her, that she would like her team to come to her if there's an issue. If she talks to her and she is still not treating her well, then I will have to go to her myself or possibly to the Athletic Director. I don't like having to do this and I have never had to step in since my daughter is usually very good at resolving her own issues, but she is my child and she is feeling horrible. No one should have to go through this. Especially a 17 year old that is trying her hardest and in her last year of HS. The other students see the coach behaving like this and then they start to treat her the same way. This coach is not a good role model. We talked about her quitting but she doesn't want to because she wants to prove to her coach that she isn't a quitter. Plus, she's so close to the end and I think she would regret it since she has been on the team since her Freshman year. She's in a catch 22 position. If she quits, she's sad if she stays she's sad. She just wants to be treated better. Her coach demands respect but it should go both ways. I don't think that's too much to ask.
 

oncecoolcoachnowmom

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Question: how many alternates are there?

Is she the only alternate who has never been asked to fill in?

I don't know what this team is like but when I coached I ended up using every single alternate athlete I had at some point every season. Everyone saw the mat at least once. Not because they were entitled to, but because I needed them.

If everyone else is seeing the mat except your daughter, have you considered that it may be a skills issue?

But at same tine, from a coaching perspective: why would you even offer an alternate role to an athlete who doesn't have the skills to compete?

This is a weird situation but honestly if your child is not happy, she does not have the skills to be on the mat, she is reportedly crying every day etc. I wonder what is keeping her cheering especially with graduation coming?
 
Oct 24, 2020
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We had a similar situation in our program. Sometimes girls keep cheering because they truly love to cheer and they love cheering for their school. It is totally different cheering for competition than for a school. It sounds like they were making an example of her for some reason. For us, it was any parent who questioned our coaches about anything like safety protocols- which were broken many times and resulted in numerous concussions- their kids were not only blacklisted from performing but made an example of for the whole team to see. It was devastating to watch these girls keep showing up and hoping their coaches would change their minds because they worked so hard. I commend her for sticking with it but I don't think you should expect the outcome to change.
 
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Cheermom1979

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Aug 25, 2019
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I am so worried my daughter will have retaliation issues with her coach once she goes to HS. She cheered Allstar under the current high school coach- and we left for another program. My daughter does not want to compete under her only wants to do football (sideline) and continue with her Allstar team.
The coach is not a great coach (which is why we left) and I have seen 1st hand her petty behavior. I don’t understand how people like this get and retain these coaching jobs.

Good luck to your daughter. Maybe focus on some tumbling and stunting classes so she can try out In college.

We had a similar situation in our program. Sometimes girls keep cheering because they truly love to cheer and they love cheering for their school. It is totally different cheering for competition than for a school. It sounds like they were making an example of her for some reason. For us, it was any parent who questioned our coaches about anything like safety protocols- which were broken many times and resulted in numerous concussions- their kids were not only blacklisted from performing but made an example of for the whole team to see. It was devastating to watch these girls keep showing up and hoping their coaches would change their minds because they worked so hard. I commend her for sticking with it but I don't think you should expect the outcome to change.
 
Oct 24, 2020
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I am so worried my daughter will have retaliation issues with her coach once she goes to HS. She cheered Allstar under the current high school coach- and we left for another program. My daughter does not want to compete under her only wants to do football (sideline) and continue with her Allstar team.
The coach is not a great coach (which is why we left) and I have seen 1st hand her petty behavior. I don’t understand how people like this get and retain these coaching jobs.

Good luck to your daughter. Maybe focus on some tumbling and stunting classes so she can try out In college.


They don't all keep their positions. Our coaching team was dismissed. It's been hard because the majority of the girls actually liked the coaches but it seems it could no longer be overlooked the examples they made of the few. Unfortunately you are right to fear retaliation. In cases like this it is a lose lose situation.
 
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