December 13, 2018

Coach’s Corner: Coach Kelsey Talks Cheer and Why It’s The Ultimate Team Sport

Gymnastics

Let’s talk teamwork, hard work, dedication and fun! This week in Coach’s Corner we’re sitting down with Coach Kelsey, a talented and dedicated member of both Houston Gymnastics Academy and Houston Cheer Academy. Coach Kelsey joined HGA as a recreational gymnastics coach before crossing over to use her skills as a former cheerleader in our HCA program. Here’s a look at what Coach Kelsey enjoys most about coaching and what skill she thinks is most valuable in competitive cheer and beyond.

When did you start at HGA and what made you want to coach gymnastics and later, cheerleading?

I started working at Houston Gymnastics Academy in 2017 but my passion for coaching and cheerleading began long before. I was a cheerleader myself and I always knew I wanted to continue to have an active role in the sport, coaching the next generation of cheerleaders. However, when I started at HGA they were only looking for a gymnastics coach so I jumped at the opportunity to learn new skills and with my training from HGA I became a recreational gymnastics coach. It worked out for the best because now I can utilize my skills as a gymnastics coach to help our cheerleaders with tumbling, as well as their cheer skills.

How do you motivate your cheerleaders to understand the importance of being team players, understanding that to succeed they must put the team goals above individual desires?

Cheerleading is a true team sport, in every sense of the word, so I try to instill that team mentality in each of my cheerleaders. I’m consistently stressing the importance of attending practices because if one component of the stunt group is missing the entire group suffers. It’s important the athletes understand how critical their individual dedication is to the success of the entire team. This is why if one member falls or misses in the routine, the squad conditions together. We fail as a team and we succeed as a team. It can be difficult for some to grasp this at all times but it’s a mentality that will help them well beyond their time at Houston Cheer Academy.

What is your favorite thing about working at HGA and with our HCA cheerleaders?

This is an easy one; it’s the athletes I work with every day. I spend a majority of my time in the gym and on the floor working with these girls and they always make my day better. From the hilarious stories they tell to watching their personalities evolve and being able to witness firsthand their progress in the sport is incredibly rewarding and enjoyable.

Tell us about your proudest moment as a coach, either as a rec coach or cheer coach?

I honestly can’t think of just one moment as a coach because every time my girls learn a new skill or hit a perfect routine at competition, it feels so rewarding. That sense of pride and excitement for the girls is what I love most. One of my younger cheerleaders recently decided she wanted to be part of the group that performs back walkovers in the routine. She dedicated herself to learning this new skill and through hard work, countless practices and multiple failed attempts, she mastered her skill and earned her position in that group. Sharing in her sense of accomplishment and seeing her excitement at achieving her goal is what makes this job so rewarding.

Tell us about your transition from rec coach to cheer coach and the difference in coaching styles between the two.

My transition from rec coach to cheer coach was an exciting, but eye-opening, one. While I’d always wanted to be an all-star cheer coach, I didn’t fully understand the stress and hard work the position required. The difference in coaching styles is not drastic but I will say I’m stricter with my cheer girls. During rec classes I teach them the skills they need to advance to the next level; there’s no winning or losing, no 1st, 2nd or 3rd place finishes. However, for cheer I have to prepare my athletes to compete against fellow elite cheerleaders which adds to the stress but also increases the sense of excitement. I thrive off the competitive spirit and it makes me happy to see my girls embrace it as well.

What would you tell parents whose kids are considering trying out for HCA Cheer in the spring? What are the benefits of being on a competitive cheer team?

Learning to be a member of a team is vital to any person’s success whether as an athlete or business person. So, while the benefits of being on a competitive cheer squad include improved physical endurance and health, thanks to an intense cardio workout at each practice, it’s bigger than just the fitness aspect. That being said, here are my top three reasons parents should enroll their kids in a competitive cheer program like Houston Cheer Academy:

Strength Training: Cheer is a full body workout where athletes will build strength, increasing muscle mass and strengthening bones.

Coordination: It takes an immense amount of coordination to execute a routine and stunt sequence as athletes must master various basing grips, transitions and high-intensity dance routines all while moving seamlessly from one required move to the next.

Team Player and Leadership Skills: I truly believe this is the most beneficial long-term advantage to being on a competitive cheer team as all athletes must learn that in order for their routine to work, everyone must work together. Cheer is bigger than just one flyer, one stunt group or a great dancer. All skills must be mastered and perfected together to see success.

To learn more about the classes offered at Houston Gymnastics Academy, or to register your child, click here or call 713-668-6001 today.