All-Star We're Not Going To Win Anyway...

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Just-a-Mom

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Jan 5, 2011
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Someone said something in another thread that made me think of this. I'm "just a mom" :p so I'm genuinely asking because I'm curious how coaches and cheerleaders feel about this (and of course other parents can feel free to weigh in!) because I'm torn--am I only seeing this through my "Mommy glasses"?

Our first gym was a small, non-profit gym. The coaches were volunteers--mostly moms of other cheerleaders. I won't lie--we weren't that great. We mostly went to small, local comps and only competed against usually 1 or 2 other teams at a time. Having 5 teams in our division was AMAZING to us when it happened. Towards the end of the season, we were headed to one of those "larger" comps where we would be competing with about 4-5 teams in each division. I asked my cp if she was excited or scared about finally having some competition, and she replied "Well, Coach SuzieQ said there's no way we are going to win anyway because there are so many teams, so I'm just excited to go."

I was horrified when she said this. I thought WHY would a coach tell them this??? And if she feels this way, WHY are they even going? Now, my feelings on this woman are a whole separate issue, so maybe I'm just being unfair because I loathe her with a fiery passion (for many reasons before and after this). Maybe she genuinely just didn't want them to get their little Mini hopes up only to have their little feelings crushed (although I don't think their feelings ever got crushed by not winning...). But shouldn't a coach be building up their confidence before comp?

How do you guys feel about this? Do you tell your teams when you think they don't stand a chance with the teams they are up against? Cheerleaders--would this help you or hurt you if your coach told you that you weren't going to win? I think it's OK to say "Hmmm...we're up against some really awesome teams this time! Well, let's go do our best..." but to just outright say "You're not going to win this one" I think is horrible. Thoughts?

***For the record, they got SECOND place out of those 5 teams. :)
 
At our old small gym the philosophy was very clear..... "You have to compete against the best to be the best" we also did very well at the small competitions but at a larger venue the kids were extactic about placing in top 5.
Mini's are a little harder....But as a parent I want my child to realise that theres always going to be someone better at sometime and you can't always win. I have seen some younger kids hysterical when they are not called first place. To me that is un-healthy.
Our old gym always had a "human tunnel" maqde up of the older cheerleaders to carry thier what ever place trophy threw and at the end of the tunnel there was a table with moms serving ice cream sundaes. They soon were over thier placement and saw that they were still bieng recognized for thier performance
 
As a coach - no I would never tell a team we are not going to win. This past year at Cheersport we moved up a level. My assistant and I honestly thought it would be a miracle just to place top 3 simply because the difficulty of the teams we were going against. We never said any of that to the girls. We prepared them as best we could and we told them that it was going to be tough and whatever place we get will be determined by how much they want it and what they decided to do that day. We constantly tell them anything is possible, its about who does the best that day. We ended up getting 2nd, pretty close to first. I think the outcome would have been much different if we told the team we didn't think they would win, instead they believed they had a shot and gave everything they had and overcame teams we had lost to earlier in the season. I think negativity - wether coming from a coach, parent or other cheerleaders - effects the whole team so I don't think anyone should ever tell a team they don't have a chance!
 
I think it depends on the age level, I can't really see many juniors and seniors getting upset about it, however it probably isn't the best thing to say to minis and youths. IMO there's a big difference between saying outright that they won't win or telling them that winning doesn't matter and they'll be proud of them no matter where they place. If that makes any sense?
 
I know when our mini 2 team has gone up against better/deeper competition, our coaches make sure the girls know that. And that they're going to have to be at their best to win. But I don't think they've ever said that the team has no chance, and would be shocked it they did.
 
I would NEVER say that to my team. But, I do like to keep it real. I'll say such-and-such a team is very clean, and they're about the same as us in difficulty. They are beatable if you out-perform them, so bring it! I tend to be pretty on top of the competition and what skills they're throwing, so I can keep my kids informed. "XYZ Allstars is definitely out-tumbling us but we are better everywhere else..." That type of a thing. I'm fortunate enough that I don't have to lie to them, we're competitive in our division:)

When I used to coach high school years ago, I had 2 tumblers on a team of 11. They were all girls who had never cheered before, and the only 11 girls I had show up for tryouts lol. I never told them they couldn't win, even though I knew it was a longshot. I just stressed the importance of every other part of the scoresheet, and the fact that the main goal is always to put everything you have out on the floor and walk away with no regrets. They were 4th out of 6 at their first competition (the first ever for the school), and they cried when they came off the floor because they were so happy to have hit and they knew they had done their best!<3
 
omg! i would never tell the team i coach who is youth 2, that they weren't going to win...that's terrible, regardless of how hard their competition is going to be you have to stay positive for your girls....last weekend before my girls went on the floor, they were against 5 teams...and one of them said, "i'm nervous 'gym klajfaf' is really good"...regardless of what you think, you have to tell them they can do it and to have fun...well they came out winning! if you keep your team positive, they will go on the floor positive...i know that if my coach told me you're not going to win anyway, i'm sure a lot of people would go out onto the floor unmotivated.
 
I always tell my girls that they are competing against the best athletes and that really pushes them to do better and give it their all. But if deep down I know that they don't stand a chance, I don't tell them that flat out b/c I know that it will crush their spirits and they won't perform to their potential. Instead, I tell them that no matter what place they come in as long as they do their personal best, that's all I want.

I definetly don't set them up for unreal expectations. I tell them who they are up against and that these teams are no joke and they have to put their hearts and souls into the performance if they want to stand a chance. And they know this. It gives them a sense of a real goal. Not a pipe dream. I don't think it's fair to set up the girls for failure and tell them that they are the best team and will definetly win 1st place, when you know the other teams in their division are unstoppable. It breaks their hearts when they don't win, b/c then they all look at you as the coach, with those torn faces, and ask why? "you told us we could do it and we're the best, what happened?" How do you then explain the results to "Suzie"?

Be honest with your teams, but chose your words carefully. Kids are very impressionable and you definatly don't want to give them a sense of false hope (by telling them they will certainly win) or low self estemes (by telling them they might as well hang up their Nfinity's cuz they have no chance against team "X".
 
omg! i would never tell the team i coach who is youth 2, that they weren't going to win...that's terrible, regardless of how hard their competition is going to be you have to stay positive for your girls....last weekend before my girls went on the floor, they were against 5 teams...and one of them said, "i'm nervous 'gym klajfaf' is really good"...regardless of what you think, you have to tell them they can do it and to have fun...well they came out winning! if you keep your team positive, they will go on the floor positive...i know that if my coach told me you're not going to win anyway, i'm sure a lot of people would go out onto the floor unmotivated.

I know what you mean, Klajfaf All Stars beats us every time...
 
This was a Mini 1 team--and a young, inexperienced one at that (the oldest girl was still turning 7 during the season). I actually thought they may have gotten first instead of second if she hadn't sent them in with the attitude that there was no chance anyway. She really wasn't even a coach--just a mom of one of the Tinies who had never coached before that season. She is the main reason we left that gym and went over to Fame.

I agree-- I don't think a Junior or Senior team would have cared as much. But I think it really kind of disheartened the little ones. It made me sad. :( I would have been better with it if she'd just said "this is gonna be tough. You're going to have to really be on top of your game to win this one. But you can do this if you want it" or something along those lines. I think I just have a real issue with a coach telling their team that they can't do something.

Her explanation to one of the moms who questioned it (not me) was "Well, think how much more exciting that second place was since they thought they were not even going to get that!" I just didn't see it that way. Fame and our gym we're at now just aren't like that. They go to every competition ready to take the world by storm and it shows in their performances. If they don't get first, it's ok--they go in knowing that First is at least within their reach.
 
Winning isn't always about getting 1st. When I cheered in college at Georgia Tech and we placed 4th in D1A college you would SWEAR we had won by how happy we were. That was absolutely the best we could possibly do.. and we were able to do it! It is all about setting realistic goals and shooting for them. Success is achieving the best that you possibly can do. Believe it or not, that is something we say at Rays. While there is a push to 'win' at the end of the day you can never control what the other teams do. We never focus on them (in coaching the kids, we are always aware of what other teams are competing and adjust and plan accordingly). If your kids hit at the end of the day and feel they did their best then be happy with them. Praise their accomplishment. There are more winners than just 1st.
 
I agree-- I don't think a Junior or Senior team would have cared as much. But I think it really kind of disheartened the little ones. It made me sad. :( I would have been better with it if she'd just said "this is gonna be tough. You're going to have to really be on top of your game to win this one. But you can do this if you want it" or something along those lines. I think I just have a real issue with a coach telling their team that they can't do something.
I have to disagree with that a little. I think with the attitudes teens and pre-teens can get, telling them their not going to win will only make it worse. I think you're right in the part that they won't care as much, but I think at that age that equals not trying at all. When your older if the coaches don't believe in you then its easy for a team to just not even try and become really negative about everything.
 
Winning isn't always about getting 1st... If your kids hit at the end of the day and feel they did their best then be happy with them. Praise their accomplishment. There are more winners than just 1st.
Couldn't agree more. One of my favorite coaching memories revolves around a competition where we tied for 9th. It was still an amazing day, regardless of what place we got.
 
I have never been told that by a coach! I remember having discussions before big competitions and nationals that served as a reminder that we were on a bigger scale now, and not to EXPECT to win, but be proud if we placed lower than we were used to at local competitions, because these were larger competitions.
 
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