Coaches gone candid—it’s Q&A time! We asked Cory Nyholm of Alpine All Stars in Parker, CO, and Shiela Hajjar of Cheer Zone Athletics in Saucier, MS, to give us the real deal on their coaching experiences.
Q. What are three things you’ll never do again as a coach?
Cory: First, I’ll never again take my teams to a competition that doesn’t really fit their style. Second, I’ll never allow my team to leave final practice if they’re not ready for their competition. Finally, I’ll never skip proper progressions for short-term goals.
Shiela: One thing I’d never do again is go to a new cheer brand and not fully review their scoring system and scoresheet. I’ll also never “count” on any child to come or not to come back for another season—they’ll either come or others will fill those spots. Finally, I’d never again change my routine each time we competed at a different brand. This eventually sets the kids up for missed choreography and missed counts. It can be a total mess.
What’s one thing you’ll never say to a cheerleader?
Cory: That any level skill is easier than another. The skill that each child is on is, at that moment, the most difficult for them. And it draws comparisons to other skills and athletes instead of keeping the focus on the athlete and their needs.
Shiela: “Tell your mom…” I, alone, should be the one to communicate any messages to cheer parents.
Q: What is the best lesson you’ve learned while being a coach?
Cory: We can make positive lifelong lessons that cheerleaders will carry for the rest of their lives.
Shiela: All kids get burned out toward the end of the competition season. It’s natural. I try to mix it up and have some fun toward the end so kids leave with positive memories.
Like this post? Don’t miss our Candid Coach interview with Trisha Hart of All-Star Legacy. Who do you want to see featured in Candid Coach? Sound off in the comment section.