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Practice Discipline: Three Strikes and You're Out

When you have a group of spirited cheerleaders it is easy to lose control.

Cheer Practice Discipline

Fortunately, in most cases, the cheerleaders want to do well and be respected for their hard work. Therefore, if you have a strong discipline system in place from the beginning it will help keep everyone focused and avoid constant redirection. I want each cheerleader to love what they are doing and that includes enjoying their time at practice. However, if you're constantly redirecting a cheerleader due to behavior and lack of focus, it becomes a distraction to the entire team. It's unfair to everyone to not have a discipline policy in place.

Over the years I've tried many different disciplinary actions, but I've found one system to be rock solid (with a little modification for each team's individual needs.) It's called the "three strikes and you're out" system. Original, right? Maybe not, but it works.

Here's the idea...

Strike One: Drop and give me 10!

Okay, so it doesn't have to be that drastic, but think about what "strike one" should look like for your team. For my younger teams, strike one might mean doing a jump. For my older teams, strike one might be doing 10 or more push ups or V-ups.

Strike Two: Drop and give me 20!

Some cheerleaders will require further disciplinary action. If they receive a second strike, I usually double the consequence from strike one (2 jumps, 20 push ups or V-ups, etc.)

Strike Three: Drop and give me 30, and you're "OUT"!

Unfortunately, there may be a time or two that a cheerleader will make it to strike three. In this case the strike triples, but they also lose out on something else. At my youth practices, they lose out on fun time at the end of practice. For older cheerleaders, it might mean taking away something that means a lot to them, whether that be not allowing them to tumble or stunt at the next game, sitting out during a portion of the game, or having a discussion with a parent. You can decide what "out" means to you and your team, but it should be a consequence that no one wants to face.

Keep in mind, this is NOT about humiliation. It is about being held accountable for your actions. Cheerleaders work hard and want to be treated as true athletes, and rightly so. Therefore, they should understand that practice is a time to work on skills and bond as a team, not a time to distract or fail to listen to the coach.


This system will help minimize distractions and allow for fun times to happen all on there own while still getting things accomplished at practice. Your cheerleaders will quickly learn what is acceptable and what is not. This allows everyone to have fun within boundaries.

For me, if time allows, I like to use the last 5-10 minutes of practice for a team building game or to have fun in some way. This will reward all of the cheerleaders that chose to listen and improve themselves at practice. Unfortunately, those who receive three strikes are not eligible.

I hope this helps your practices run smoothly!

Keep shinin' and keep smilin', Sisters!

Do you have a great discipline system? I'd love to hear how you handle practice and behavioral issues. Comment below and share your thoughts.

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