Vision: Planning

In our last post we discussed Vision and how important it is to have a clear and defined vision that will guide you towards your specific purpose as a program. This week, we will talk about the plan that comes from having a clear vision. We’ve all heard the old adage, “Failure to plan, is planning to fail.” Not having a clear and precise plan that is motivated by your vision will stop you from achieving your overall goals. Let’s not waist a lot of time on talking about what a plan is, we should all have a pretty good idea of what a plan is, instead we will focus on giving you an idea of what a plan could look like, and hopefully getting you started on planning out your season.


Divide Your Season Into Segments:


Any season can be divided into three or four parts. Simply dividing it into two parts (summer and competition season) is a mistake. You want to divide your season into at least three parts and design your practices accordingly.  Here are a few examples of how to divide a season:


1.     Tryouts: Build your teams based on who showed up, not on what you want to have.

2.     Summer: After you have built your teams, build your teams. Strength, skills, conditioning, and camaraderie are your focus during the summer. Build them up, build them together, and at the end of the summer build your killer routine.

3.     Pre Season: These are the months leading up to your first competition. Break down the routine into sections, and fine-tune it for competition. A well-polished routine early in the season can equal an early paid bid to The One!

4.     The Season: Here, the focus is competition. Never stop conditioning, but time to focus on the areas where the scores are falling short. Listen to the judges, work the areas of the routine where you are lacking, and build a strong scoring routine.

5.     (Optional) Post Season: These are the last couple of months (March-April) where you will spice up the routine for The One Cheer and Dance Championships! Taking the already perfected routine, vamping it up a bit, and bringing out all of the stops to put on a great show at your end of the year competition!


After you’ve divided your season into segments, get out your calendar and start setting goals. For example,


June 1 – Have an idea for stunt groups

June 15 – Stunt groups are set, all groups hitting foundational skills

July 1 – Hitting rubric elements of routine

July 15 – Stunt sequences put to counts

Aug. 1 – Formations and Routine blocked out, or Choreography done and move into segment 2 of season.

October 1 – Routine together, at about 75% hitting routine clean.

November 1 – Hitting solid scaled version of routine.

February 1 – Hitting Original routine with high execution

March 1 – Routine at highest level and full execution scores

April 1 – Ready for Post-season competitions


Now that you have some goals set, go ahead and dive a little deeper and fill in your calendar of exact days you want to hit exact skills. Don’t be surprised if they fall short, you want to challenge them and give them something to work towards. Have high expectations of your athletes and you will be surprised how they step up to the task!


Finally, plan out your practices. Don’t just talk about a general idea of what you want to get done, but try and plan out the entire practice so that you can utilize your time to its full potential. Here is an example of a two-hour practice broken down for one team coming twice per week.


Juniors: Summer Schedule


Tuesday: 4:00 – 4:05 – Team Meeting and prayer requests (Let them know today’s goals and get them excited to work)

                 4:05 – 4:15 – Warm Up and dynamic stretch (See Debbie Love’s Cheer Warm up at

                 4:15 – 4:30 – Work Out of the day (Strength elements, cardio elements)

                 4:30 – Water Break

                 4:32 – 4:45 Jumps and Jump conditioning

                 4:45 – Water Break (1 min)

                 4:47 – 5:15 – Stunts (Fundamentals and Single leg skills) Allow the individual groups to go as far as they can in their progression. Give a goal of elite level skills.

                 5:15 – 5:18 – Water Break

                 5:18 – 5:45 – Tumbling. Focus on synchronized tumbling. 15 min of progressive tumbling based on effort level given.

                 5:45 – 5:52 – Static stretch, cool down.

                 5:52 – 6:00 – Team Meeting and Closing Prayer.


Above is just an example of a planned out practice. Yours will vary depending on what you noticed about your teams strengths and weaknesses. Go ahead and schedule out your practices, this includes water breaks. This way your team and coaches will know exactly when they will get water so there will be no need to ask during practice. Special exceptions should be made based on specific athlete needs. Planning practices down to the minute, hold you accountable and make sure that you fit everything you need to fit in each short practice. This will also give your team something to work for and achieve during a limited amount of time. Teaching them deadlines and how to make the most out of each moment is invaluable for their future.

Go ahead and plan out a week’s practices and have them on hand. Now that you’ve got the plan, get ready to share it with your staff. Everyone needs to know the plan and goals that are set for the season. Keeping everyone on the same page is vital for the team’s cohesion. Just like the athletes are all members of a team, so are the staff. You need your coaching staff to be working towards the same goal and pushing your program towards the vision. Next week we’ll talk about sharing your vision and plan with your staff and the members of your program.


Remember, plans don’t always turn out…well, as planned. Make your plan, and then submit them to the Lord. His plan will supersede yours and all for the better. After al, it is His vision in the first place. Remember Paul, well he had planned to go places and was stopped by the Holy Spirit. Just like Paul, your plan may change according to His will, but it will always word out to benefit His purpose. So, make your plan prayerfully, and then submit it to Him, after you do this you will be ready to share it with your people.

"Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia." Acts 16:6