I’ve been assistant coaching for nearly ten years. In that time, I’ve encountered several cheerleaders with bad attitudes. Their bad behavior is usually limited to minor things, like having trouble paying attention or being an “I can’t” girl. I have never had any serious behavioral issues… but I should have known that was too good to be true.
This season, I encountered my first really bad kid. She was like every behavioral problem rolled into one girl. She was a back talking, eye rolling, daydreaming, defiant know it all. At first, I didn’t know what to do with her. I didn’t want to single her out and embarrass her, so I ignored her incessant eye-rolling and huffing. Eventually, I got sick of it… At first, I just verbally called her out. When I realized that wasn’t working, I started making her run every time she had a bad attitude (she was running every practice). Nothing worked, and I was out of ideas, because I had never dealt with this sort of problem before.
Then, two weeks before competition, I saw her do the unthinkable. She turned into a bully. I watched her shove another girl as they stood in line.
I just about lost it. I can put up with a lot of things, but abusing a teammate is something I have zero tolerance for. I stopped practice and made her apologize to her teammate. Then, I swore to her that I would not hesitate to kick her off my team if I ever saw her bully another teammate again. Could I actually kick her off? Well, no, I couldn’t kick a girl off my team because of company policy—but she didn’t need to know that. Surprisingly, it worked. She’s been as sweet as can be since then.
I guess some girls prefer a cheertatorship to a cheerocracy. (;