Cheer coaches will always tell you that one of the hardest parts of their job are the parents. So how do you avoid being THAT cheer parent? Below are some of the things that cheer parents do that drive coaches CRAZY:

Ignoring information from emails, newsletters, and memos... then complaining you don’t know what is going on. Make it a priority to stay informed. Read every piece of information that comes your way. Create a folder for paper documents and create a folder on your computer for digital files. This way information doesn’t get lost and it’s easily accessible. Make a point to attend, take notes, and ask questions at parent meetings. If you cannot attend, ask another parent to take notes or follow up with you. As a parent, it is your job to stay informed.

Not paying on time. Financial commitments should be laid out well in advance. If a full season of cheerleading is not affordable for your budget, do not commit to signing up. Fees have to be paid on time to cover gym expenses, competitions, uniforms, and everything associated with the team’s expenses.

Not coming to us first when there is an issue. There is nothing worse than spreading rumors or starting gossip with other parents. If there is ever an issue, you should always go directly to the coach, director, manager, or gym owner.

Coaching from the sidelines. There’s a reason why your child has a coach. It is incredibly distracting when parents try to over-talk the coach, offer advice, or coach from the sidelines. It creates an awkward tension among the cheerleaders and coaches, sending conflicting messages to the cheerleaders causing them to question their coaches. Poor sportsmanship at competitions. Your role as a parent is not to approach the judge’s stand or a member of the judging panel if you disagree with the placements/scoring. Remember to support the other teams in your division: at the end of the day, every team worked hard and all of the kids deserve the applause.

Living vicariously through your child. Being a helicopter parent is a big NO-NO. It’s important that you remember that this is your child’s sport, not yours. Too often, children feel like it’s about pleasing their parents than having fun doing something they love. It’s incredibly healthy to drop off your child at practice and pick them up when it’s over. Hovering over your child restricts them from feeling independent and growing their maturity. It is definitely acceptable to watch your child every now and then, but watching every practice puts unnecessary pressure on your child and makes it difficult for them to focus and do their best.

Lack of social media etiquette. Never bash another gym, athlete, program, etc. If there is an issue at your own gym, never take it to social media. Keep your emotions in check and discuss issues directly with those involved.

Being late to competitions and/or practice. Every competition and practice starts with a warm-up and stretching. This is a mandatory step for the safety of your cheerleader. Everyone needs to be at there early to check in, go over last minute changes in the schedule or routine, makeup/hair touch ups, uniform checks, and just getting everyone prepared to compete. If your child is late, they will miss this integral part of cheerleading and risk injury to themselves. If they stretch after they arrive, then they are putting the rest of the team behind and wasting valuable time.