The beginning of a new season is an exciting time for a cheer team. There are new team members, new ideas, everyone is re-energized and ready for a fresh start. It is easy to get carried away thinking about everything you want to accomplish in the upcoming year – new tumbling, harder stunts, fun spirit activities, better grades, volunteering. You get the idea. All of these big ideas are not worth anything without a plan to execute them, however.
Today, we will take a deeper look at how to set smart goals that will challenge you and help you get to the next level as a cheerleader. Let’s dive in!
For this exercise, we will use the Personal Reflection and Goal Setting Worksheet. I created this worksheet for my team to use this year and it worked great. It was awesome to read through them mid-season to see who had reached their goals and which ones were still in progress.
Overall, we reached 75% of the goals that were set!
Nearly everyone reached at least 2 of their three goals, and most achieved all 3! It is amazing how just a little bit of intentional planning can set you up for a great season.
Let's set some goals!
Now that you have your worksheet, let’s walk through each step:
My Why: The why is the reason you cheer, but try to dig deeper than just “to promote school spirit” or “because I love it.” Your why gets to the core of your passion for the sport and is what keeps you pushing through on the rough days.
My Purpose: While your “Why” could be seen as the internal reason you cheer, your “Purpose” focuses more on what you give to the team. Are you a killer base? Do you have guidance to offer newer teammates? Or are you someone everyone can count on for a smile and encouragement when they’re stuck?
Goals: For the actual goals, we will use the SMART method of goal setting. If this is the first time you are learning about SMART goals, know that it probably won’t be the last. This method is widely used because it is effective. The acronym SMART stands for:
- Specific – The goal should be clear. For example: If you want to improve tumbling, write the exact skill you want to get.
- Measurable – Put a number to it. Rather than just saying you want to get your back handspring, say you want to land a well-executed back handspring 5 times during the football game.
- Attainable – Your goals should challenge you, but at the same time they should be realistic for your skill set. If you are brand new to tumbling, getting a full by the end of the season would be exciting, but probably not realistic. A back handspring would be more reasonable.
- Relevant – Some sources like to use “realistic” for the R, but I find it is too similar to “attainable”. I prefer relevant. A relevant goal is one that relates to the task at hand. If you have a goal to save $200 from your summer job, that’s awesome, but not exactly relevant in the context of cheerleading.
- Time-bound – Set a deadline for your goal. It is also a good idea to set a couple progress deadlines to check in with yourself and evaluate how you are doing.
Once you have the goal, you will break down the steps you will take to reach it, anticipate hurdles that you may encounter, and strategize ways to overcome those challenges. These extra steps are important, because roadblocks are inevitable. If you aren’t prepared, they can blindside you and set you back. By anticipating challenges and having a strategy to conquer them, you will be ready with plan B or plan C if or when you need them.
Finally, set a challenging, but realistic deadline. Check your progress along the way and don’t be afraid to adjust your deadline if you needed. If you originally wanted to get your back handspring by the end of the summer, but have poor form when you try it on your own, give yourself until the end of football season to build up the strength and confidence to perform it safely on your own.
Someone I can lean on for help: There are going to be tough days where you want to give up. Who can you turn to for that extra push, a word of encouragement, and to help your work through it? It could be a teammate, a non-cheer friend, a family member, or you can ALWAYS count on your coach to have your back! My dad was always my go-to for some tough love when I was stuck on a skill.
Someone I can help: Every single cheerleader has a strength that they can use to help a teammate, even if you are just getting started. Think of a skill you excel at and the different tips, tricks, and drills you used to get to where you are. Share the knowledge!
Ta-daaaa! Now you’re ready to go out there and make your dreams come to life. If you’ve found this worksheet helpful, share with your coach and team and let me know in the comments what goals you’ve achieved so we can celebrate together!
I believe in you!