Archive | January, 2012

Cheerleader Rocks at the Golden Globes

15 Jan

Not only did this star rock the Cheerleading Stage, hype the sideline during football games and Rocked the House at Pep Rallies, she rocked the house at the 2012 Golden Globes.

The cheerleading world is proud to call one of their own a big winner at the 2012 Golden Globes. Miss Meryl Streep (one of my personal favorite former cheerleaders) took home the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for her role in The Iron Lady.

Nothing like a fierce cheerleader to play the role of A Fierce Leader in Global Government. Congrats to Miss Meryl Streep.

The Mad Man Coach vs. The Gentle Heart Coach

11 Jan

The Mad Man Coach vs. The Gentle Heart Coach ~ Which Team Gets the Most Wins?

For years, me and my fellow coaching friends have had a long standing debate concerning the treatment of athletes. As a former football cheerleader and competitive cheer team member, I have seen it all. I can’t say which was worst, the football coaches yelling tell their faces turned red then eventually blue from anger and oxygen deprivation or the cheer coach throwing the pom at my face and telling me to pull it together or stop pretending to be a cheerleader (this after 8 straight hours of practice in 101 degree California weather). I swore once I started coaching I would be a kind and inspirational coach and that’s where me and my peers disagree.

A former teammate of mine is a fierce and slightly verbally abusive coach and she is proud of it. When parents complain and threaten to remove their kids from her school, she gladly says “Go Ahead”, knowing that there is a long list of kids just waiting to take the abuse she has to throw their way.  I joke with her often that she is just one “shouting match” away from a major lawsuit, but the truth is we all know she isn’t.

I however opted for a more kind approach, often explaining the expectations of the team without yelling at them and telling them they “look bad”. She jokes with me often calling me the Dr. Phil of Cheer & Dance, but she always follows that with “But Dr. Phil isn’t a competitive coach. But this Dr. Phil is and as a coach our current teams have 3 1st Place wins and two 2nd place wins in less than 12 months, not to mention my years of coaching that already earned past teams National and State Titles.

Now, my friend, she has an amazing team, often taking State and World Titles. Her team members are often seen crying at the end of practice but for some reason they keep coming back for more. She allows only the best of the best on her squad, there is no room for “simple performers” (her words) on her team. So if you need to be taught anything, forget she doesn’t have the time nor does she care to work with you.  The gym I am currently with have teams that are open to anyone, I love the sport of cheer and dance and believe that everyone deserves a chance to shine regardless of experience. As a coach, I do have National Titles to my name from coaching High School and Youth Leagues. Our most recent gym format of allowing members to join mid and late season regardless of experience posses its challenges but we are working hard to gain a National Title with these inspiring guys and girls. For me, its not all about the win but about the overall performance and improvement of the athlete. But as my friend so kindly pointed out to me a few weeks ago, Sports Digest agrees with her. According to them, it is all about the win and as a coach you do what you have to in order to get that win and if it means making them cry, well then make them cry.

After seeing the research (some of which is posted below), I did agree with some very valid points they made about leadership. As coaches we are not meant to be their friends, we are there to teach, inspire and bring out each members greatest potential. This is exactly what our coaches work towards without belittle our team members. But some researchers believe that belittling an athlete pushes them to dig deeper and become a better performer.

I can’t say that our gym will ever be that “Get it together or get out of here” type place and I can’t say the gyms that have this philosophy is wrong. The truth is as a competitor and/or a parent, you have to decide what is best for you or your child. Do you prefer positive reinforcement or do you thrive better in a hostile environment? What ever your preference is be sure to understand that even the nicest coach has expectations and if you come to training facility not prepared or if you miss practices you should expect some level of “enforcement” from your coach. Even the nicest coach expects you to be at practice, on time and focused!

But as promised, below is some data about coaching styles that you may find interesting:

Coaching Philosophy

A coaching philosophy is the foundation of a coach’s style and consists of a mixture of the coach’s personal beliefs, goals, objectives, and standards. Most coaches know in their mind what their philosophies consist of, but ask them to convey this information and they find it difficult to accomplish. An uneducated coach may respond with “my philosophy is to win!” This coach has no direction. Winning is great and promotes short-term job security, but coaches have a higher calling than just winning contests. The chosen philosophy is a direct reflection of the style the coach employs.

Old School Coaching

Coaches have stated, “I use the old school style of coaching.” Do they really know what that means? When the term “old school coach” is used the following characteristics come to mind:

  • punish first, converse later
  • atmosphere of fear of failure for the athlete
  • immediate short-term respect
  • knowledge of technical skills, but not tactical
  • undivided attention when speaking
  • intimidation of those who speak against the coach’s decisions
  • demeaning motivation
  • nonexistent relationship with the athletes and assistant coaches
  • loss of athlete’s attention due to negativity
  • athletes quit due to poor treatment

When an old school coach goes too far, the consequences can be disastrous.

New School Coaching

Most successful new school coaches tend to be cooperative style coaches. Athletes today want coaches who are open to their ideas and value them as people. Cooperative coaching allows this empowerment of the athlete, while keeping the overall power in the hands of the coach. A prevalent trait of the new school coach is the thirst for knowledge. A new school coach is more open to change and adaptation than the old school coach. This does not mean that the new school coach is “soft.” This simply means that the new school coach is not as domineering. A new school coach seeks to earn the respect of his/her athletes by demonstrating the knowledge they need to be successful. “A characteristic of effective coaches at all levels is continued ongoing learning and reflection…Virtually every portrait of great coaches shows them to be active learners who engage in constant reflection” (Gilbert & Jackson, 2004).

Characteristics of a new school coach might be:

  • positive relationship with athletes and other coaches
  • stern but not offensive
  • fresh ideas through open lines of communication
  • increased participation due to coaching style
  • increased tactical knowledge of athletes
  • appreciation shown from athletes/community
  • gives and receives advice
  • leads by example
  • encourages of team leaders
  • shows continued knowledge of the sport
  • has opportunities for advancement into administration

Conclusion

Coaches are very important people in the lives of their athletes, the athletes’ families, and the community. Their actions can effect many aspects of an athletes life and this must be taken into account when a coaching style is chosen. Stereotypical old school coaches are disciplinarians first and teachers second. They usually deal with their athletes in a negative manner and are not open to change. Old school coaches believe that their way is the only way and their experience dictates that everyone should succumb to their will.

New school coaches are ones that are open to change, are willing to further their knowledge of the sport, and are teaching the athletes with the intent that they would develop their own understanding of the concepts. New school coaches tend to lean toward the cooperative style of coaching as the pursuit of knowledge leads them to understand the role open communication plays in pushing the athlete to peak performance.

References:

Gilbert, Ph.D., Wade, Jackson, Ph.D., F.A.C.S.M., Catherine. (2004, December 5). In Search of an Effective Coaching Style. American College of Sports Medicine.Retrieved June 28, 2006

Martens, Rainer. (2004). Successful Coaching – Third Edition. Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics.

Stewart, Dr. Craig, Owens, Ph.D., Lynn M. (2nd.) Understanding Athletes’ Learning Style. Coaches’ info-service – Sports Science Information for Coaches. Retrieved June 30, 2006

Dance Mom TV Host Speaks Her Mind

9 Jan

Check out this interview Fox411 did with Dance Mom TV Host. I am not sure if I totally agree with her, but I also don’t totally disagree with her. Tell us what you think!

FOX411 – It’s back! The sequins, the screaming, the drama and oh yes, the dance moves. Starting this Tuesday, ‘Dance Moms’ is coming back for its second season on Lifetime. 

The show’s breakout star, tyrannical dance instructor Abby Lee Miller, who runs her eponymous dance studio in Pittsburgh, spoke to Fox411.com about her teaching techniques, her haters and what she thinks of those stage mothers.

FOX411: Why do you think ‘Dance Moms’ became so popular?

Abby Lee Miller: I hope it’s the dancers, the children. I hope it’s not the moms. (Laughs).

FOX411: What do you say to people who say you’re too tough on the kids and shouldn’t scream at them so much?

Miller: I say you should have seen me 20 years ago when I was really mean.

FOX411: So you’re nice now?

Miller: Oh my God; my alumni can’t believe how much I’ve mellowed! First of all, kids are not little, Mackenzie is around 7. Think about how many movies Shirley Temple made by the time she was 7. They are artists, they are athletes, this is their craft, and this is what they do. If they’re old enough to learn a 2 minute, 30 second routine and retain, then they’re old enough to hear what’s wrong with it.

FOX411: Do you think children are too coddled nowadays?

Miller: Yes. They play blame the victim. I think parents today enable their children to fail. Years ago you had to actually work for something. When dance competitions first started, there was a first, second and third prize, everybody else went home with nothing. Nowadays kids get a trophy for being born. It’s ridiculous. Everybody gets gold or silver or a bronze and it goes on and on and on. It’s like they’re trying to pacify everybody instead of making the kids work to be the best. And you know what? You’re not going to always be the best. There’s somebody else out there, somebody who’s working harder or improves quicker, whatever, and they’re going to win. I don’t think it’s an asset to win all the time. I think it’s good to lose, it builds character. I mean, I want to win all the time because I have enough character! (Laughs).

FOX411: Some blogs say some not-so-nice things about your weight. Is that hurtful?

Miller: On my Facebook I get maybe one ugly, sordid, uneducated comment talking about that compared to the 350 positive ones I get saying, ‘I wish I had you as a teacher,’ or dance teachers saying, ‘God you say everything I wish I could say.’ If anybody knows anything about teaching, then they’ll know it has nothing to do with what size or shape you are. That’s why my kids do well in auditions. It’s almost like they have an advantage. I can talk them through it. I can walk them through it. I can teach them to know it and they’re going to know it for the rest of their lives. Lots of school teachers are teaching things that the school kids memorize and the next day they get an A on a test. Ask them two weeks later one of the questions and they can’t answer it. They didn’t learn it, they memorized it to get an A. That’s not the way I teach.

FOX411: Are you shocked by some of the mothers’ behavior?

Miller: I’m absolutely shocked, and I don’t understand why the kids don’t turn to their mothers and say, ‘You are embarrassing me. Shut up.’ I don’t get it.

FOX411: It’s their parent. They have control.

Miller: That’s the issue, you just said it. The mothers can’t handle that the kids care more about what Abby thinks than what they think. The kids want my approval, they don’t want the mother’s approval and they’re jealous.

FOX411: They want your approval because you’re tough.

Miller: Absolutely. And I say to them all the time, ‘Your mother is the one whose shoulder you’re supposed to cry on. I’m the one that’s supposed to make you cry.’

Practice Makes You a Valuable Team Member

7 Jan

If you are interested in competitive team activities, like Allstar Cheer or Allstar Dance Teams, you should understand the choice to join a team should never be taken lightly. Competitive Cheer/Dance teams are so MUCH MORE than a cool uniform and letterman jacket, like with any other team sport it requires a high level of mental and physical dedication.  Too often young ladies and gentlemen watch shows like Bring It On and Step Up and think “Wow, I want to do that”. But what they often don’t understand is the countless hours of blood, sweat and tears that each and every cast member of that film put into making those moves flow flawlessly.

Many times we get young males and females who stop by the gym for a trial training session, typically (at least 70%) they end their season with comments like “Wow, I didn’t know that move required so much strength” or “I thought stunting was going to be easy”.  Reality set’s in that Allstar Teams are just like any other team sport, t these are teams that rely on each and every member to bring 110% to the floor all the time, it requires daily strength training and cardio conditioning.  But with all the hard work comes great rewards.  So, how can you become an invaluable member to any team?

The answer is very simple, PRACTICE. Practice in the morning, afternoon, evening, on your way to school on your way home, whenever you have a moment – take that moment and practice. Gaining mastery of cheer/dance techniques will help you build a higher level of confidence & skills that will translate into success in other arenas of life as well, in addition to helping you bring your cheer/dance to the next level.

We recently had a team member approach one of our coaches and say “Wow, Carren’s toe touches are amazing. I wish I could have toe touches just like here”, the coach kindly responded “Well, I agree her toe touches are pretty amazing, but did you know she joined the team just 1 week before you. Do you want to know here secret?”. The team member quickly said “OH YES”. The Coach smiled, looked over at the team and said “Carren has been doing her Toe Touch Drills everyday at home since her 1st practice.”. The team member smiled, blushed and said “Oh, I think I need to practice more”.

This situation repeats itself nearly every year with students and team members in gyms across the nation.  It’s time to stop sitting in AWWW of that person who hits a double toe touch after landing a backhandspring, it’s time to realize that you are just as great and that with determination and dedication you too will soon be hitting those backhandspring ending with double toe touches with the same ease in which you walk.

“Confidence doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s a result of something… hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication.” – Roger Staubach

Now, some of you are going to say, “I have no time to practice”.  As a coach, teacher and business owner, I have a full understanding on how tight time can be. Between classes, homework and other school obligations, it may really feel like you have NO TIME TO PRACTICE. But lucky for you, we have some tips that have proven to help even the busiest person get some practice in daily. Try these few Practice Techniques out and we are certain you will be amazed on how much you improve as a team member as well as an individual:
  1. Flexibility and strength are essential to ALL SPORTS!. Did you know that as you sit there reading this article you could be sitting in a split stretch, stretching your arms and engaging your core? While (or in between) Facebooking or searching the web, you can do a few stretches: arms, neck, etc. Grab a 3lb (or bigger) and do a few arm curls.
  2. Always catch the latest episode of 90210 or GLEE? In between commercials is the perfect time to work those hip flexors, try a few V-ups. Sit in your split stretches, do a few kick drills and even run through your routines. The average commercial break spans 2-5 minutes. You will be amazed on how much practice you get in if you workout during each and ever commercial break.
  3. If you are like so many kids, you are stuck in the car very often with a parent. Between visiting your grandparents and grocery shopping, you may spend up to 5 hours a week in the car. That’s 5 hours of opportunity to practice. We have team members who put their competition music on their ipod and each time they are in the car, they put the headset on and run through the routine with “mock” arm movements. Some will close their eyes and visualize the whole routine and how it syncs with the music. Give this a try, it really works.

Well, we have given you just a few tips on how to  become an invaluable team member through practice and dedication. Remember there is NO SUBSTITUTION for hard work, dedication and believing that you are just as great as those Champions you watch on tv. All you need to do is UNLEASH THE CHAMPION IN YOU!

 

Who was named the BEST NFL CHEERLEADERS?

5 Jan

Best NFL Cheerleaders 2012Truth is we just assumed that the Dallas Cowboys would bring this title home this year, but who knew we would be wrong! Well, the ladies of the Buffalo Jills team knew. This season’s title of the Best NFL Cheerleaders went to the fabulous ladies of the Jills.

Based on 9,000 online votes from fans across the globe, the New England Sports Network named the Jills the best cheerleading squad in the NFL.  Beating out the legendary Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.

RAW ALLSTARS wants to congratulate all the NFL Cheerleaders out there for being in the running, we know those tryouts can be cruel and usual punishment sometimes and your hard work never goes unrecognized.

About RAW ALLSTARS: RAW ALLSTARS is an ALLSTAR Cheer & Dance gym located in the Greater Bay Area. Our coaches have helped train/prepare cheerleaders/dancers for ALLSTAR competitions, team tryouts for Jr. High, High School, College and even professional teams (coaches Alumni have made the Raiderettes in the past). RAW ALLSTARS offeres a variety of teams as well as classes, specializing in Small Team Divisions. For more information visit http://rawtalents.org/bayareacheeranddance.html