“We will be trying out some stunting positions today. So be ready for something new, ” said Coach. The team was separated into groups and given positions. Kassie was asked to base. “BASE?!?,” Kassie squeaked. She was one of the teams’ strongest top girls and all-around talented athletes. She reluctantly got set to stunt, and lifted the girl with ease. “This year we’ll be moving up a level and doing more complicated skills. Some of you may find yourselves in different positions. Try your best. We need to see what works best for the teams as whole, “ Coach explained. Kassie crossed her arms, and started thinking of a ways to take back her spot as a top girl.
On the next water break, Kassie was making her way to the water fountain when she was stopped by Coach. “Kassie! I am so happy with how much you have been helping out our new top girl over there. You’re being a great leader and as a veteran top girl you can really use your talents to help her gain confidence. Great job!” Coach beamed. Kassie smiled and said, “Sure thing coach.” As she continued to the water fountain, surprisingly, she found herself thinking about all the new things she wanted to try.
As she made her way back to the practice mat Ally caught up to her, “Can you believe that Coach is making all these awful changes?” Kassie replied, “She’s pushing us to try new things and to become all around strong cheerleaders. We could really use our talents to help the new girls out and become a really good team.” Ally thought about this for a moment and replied, “Maybe you’re right…” The two girls made their way back to the team and worked their tails off the rest of practice.
How many times has your coach asked you to try something new? Or have someone else try “your” position? Probably dozens of times. And every time it happens, it never seems to make sense at first, until you back up and take a look at the big picture. It’s all about the team and the success of the group as a whole – not about how much you like to base, top or be up front for the cheer. Coaches often challenge us to be all-around athletes who can succeed at anything we put our mind to!
I was very fortunate to have a coach who pushed me to believe in my team, and to put the squads’ needs ahead of my own. And later when I became a coach the team was my top priority. Every decision I made was for the team – even if they didn’t see it right away.
Never limit yourself to one talent. Push yourself to be the all-around athlete your team needs you to be.
- Jessica Baker