Are you interested in starting a cheer program within your gym?

Perhaps you have a few members who have mentioned their love for cheer, and you want to provide them with even more value to keep them as members.

Or maybe you have a background in cheer yourself, and you want to use that to create a fun, engaging, and inclusive cheer program that attracts new members and grows your business.

Whatever the case, starting a cheer program is an excellent option for any locally run gym company, as it helps you stand out from the competition, creates a unique selling point, and shows your members you care about their fitness, well-being, and happiness.

Here, we will discuss how to start a cheer program at your gym, considering everything from covering the basics to running in-house cheer events.

Understand the Basics of a Cheer Program

Firstly, let’s go over the basics. I’m not going to bore you with details like “What is a cheer program,” as you likely already know all that, and that’s what has made you interested in setting one up!

However, it is important for us to identify what the goals and objectives of your cheer program are. In most instances, as a local gym, your focus should be on inclusivity rather than skill level. While you certainly want to attract the very best athletes in the area for your cheer program, as they will help promote your gym with their expertise, a local gym’s focus should always be on the wider community and making cheer accessible for anyone and everyone.

It is important to keep that goal in mind at all times, as it should be the focal point of any decisions you make going forward regarding training plans, competition, and coaching.

Once you have identified your target demographic, it’s important to spend plenty of time working on the key behind-the-scenes details, which includes securing an appropriate practice space, investing in the necessary equipment and safety gear, checking that you are up to date with your safety protocols and emergency procedures, hiring or training staff to run the program, and establishing a budget to keep all of those costs in line.

Recruit and Establish Your Cheer Team

Once you’ve got all your ducks in a row, it’s time to think about which coaches will be running your cheer program.

If you plan on running the program yourself, that is a great money saver, but you must ensure you have enough time available in your schedule. If so, be sure to teach your staff how to take over some of your responsibilities if needed, as a cheer program often takes up more time than you might think.

Alternatively, if you also have current coaches who have experience or are interested in running a cheer program, you can use your skills or hire an external coach to train them up, and allow them to take some of the workload off your plate.

Once your coaching staff is in place, you will need to establish your cheer team. Unlike professional or college programs, you want to ensure that your program is open to anyone and that you can adapt the training to suit a member’s ability levels. 

Where possible, try not to dishearten less skilled members who want to give cheer a try, and instead, separate the group into experienced and skilled performers and less skilled or experienced ones. You can then scale your training sessions to suit the particular group, and ensure everyone is able to enjoy cheer and continue to test themselves in a safe and secure way.

Don’t get me wrong, having an elite cheer program is a fantastic goal, but given you are just starting out, it is more realistic to focus on a range of skills and see what ability your new members have before pushing for elite performance.

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Communicate and Engage Cheer Athletes, Staff, and Parents

Once your plan is in place, your members have registered, and you’re ready to get started, it’s time to communicate your schedule to your coaches, athletes, and parents.

Keeping in constant communication with your cheer program members is crucial at all times, but especially at the start of the program, as there will likely be plenty of questions surrounding what the training will entail, when and where it will be, who is coaching, and so much more

Good email and SMS software will be critical to communicating and engaging cheer members in a sustainable way. 

On top of that, setting the foundations of your digital community is also important to allow cheer program members to share tips, engage with one another, and grow their friendships outside of the gym.

For any new program, it is essential to foster a community early, where people feel heard and communicated with, as this will help grow the reputation of the cheer program, enticing other members of your gym to join, or even those who aren’t currently registered to consider taking part.

The right cheer member management software allows you to communicate and engage cheer members, staff, and parents easily. 

Training and Skill Development

Now, let’s look at the content of your cheer program. Ultimately, you can do all the other aspects perfectly, but if your training and skill development aren’t up to scratch, your program will likely fail.

That doesn’t mean you need to start coaching the most intricate moves and routines straight out of the gate, but it does mean you need to consider all skill levels and how you can tailor practise sessions to help each individual grow and improve from the level they started at.

And that isn’t just through skill and technical work. That also means factoring in strength and conditioning sessions too, to allow your members to get up to speed and ensure their body is physically ready for the demands that cheer places on them.

Finally, the training doesn’t just stop with your members. You must also consider providing ongoing training for you and your coaches, whether it be through attending local cheer events or hiring experts to come in and teach new skills and progressions.

So long as you are constantly providing members with improved training and detailed programming, you will see them continue to improve and enjoy the sport.

Plan and Execute Cheer Events

While your focus as a local gym cheer program should absolutely be on inclusivity before competitiveness, that’s not to say that running a local cheer competition is a bad idea.

In fact, it can be a fantastic way to motivate those who are considering your cheer program or the members already in it, and yet another way to promote your gym to the local area.

What’s more, if you invite other local cheer programs to take part in the event and open it up to spectators in the local area, you also put your gym in the shop window for other potential new members.

When organizing local competitions, it’s best to ensure that everybody in your cheer program is factored into the equation. If you have a wide variety of skill levels, for example, it might be best to split the competition into different categories to allow everyone a fair shot at winning.

This type of approach is very common with other sporting events, such as CrossFit competitions, which often split events into Scaled, Intermediate, and RX athletes.

If you decide to host a cheer event, it is important to plan it as far in advance as possible, ensuring the gym is set up to accommodate the athletes, other teams, and potential spectators. You could also try advertising the competition locally to drum up even further interest. Once you have an idea of the size of the event, you could use that information to talk to potential sponsors and vendors to help fund and cater the event too, making it a show people will remember for a long time.

Monitor and Evaluate Cheer Program Success

As with any form of training program, it is crucial that you continue to monitor it, track success, and make small changes along the way when issues arise.

Conducting regular assessments of your team’s coaching and members’ performance and enjoyment is crucial, as it allows you to build a program that provides the best possible training and ensures members are enjoying themselves and progressing their skills. 

As a gym, word-of-mouth referrals is still one of the biggest factors in gaining new members, so it’s crucial that you focus plenty of effort on making the program as good as possible.

Gymdesk’s powerful but easy-to-understand analytics reports let you keep track of key marketing and program design metrics all in one place.

Conclusion

Starting a cheer team doesn’t have to be daunting. If you’ve always wanted to start your own cheer program, getting up and running is within reach if you have a little knowhow.

Follow the steps below. 

  • Recruit cheer team members
  • Communicate and engage with team, staff, and parents
  • Train and develop athletes right
  • Plan and Execute cheer events
  • Monitor and evaluate program success

If you keep to these principles, you’ll build a successful cheer team in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is effective gym management essential for a successful cheerleading program?

Streamlining operations through efficient gym management ensures a well-organized schedule, seamless communication, and effective financial transactions, contributing to the overall success of your cheer program.

What are the key factors to consider when forming a cheer team?

Focus on recruiting skilled coaches, conducting inclusive tryouts, and establishing clear expectations to build a diverse and motivated cheerleading team.

How can cheer programs improve communication and engagement effectively?

Elevate communication through a well-crafted plan, utilize social media for promotion, and foster a culture of regular feedback to create a connected and supportive cheerleading community.

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