If you are told that you are an alternate for the cheer mat, you have a right to be upset about it. It’s okay to be disappointed. However, that doesn’t mean that it is the end of your cheer career. It doesn’t mean that you should give up. You have to remember that if you are told you are an alternate, it doesn’t mean that you are a bad cheerleader. It just means that someone else may have fit that role a little better than you, or they may have a skill that you don’t have. Look at this is a positive way. This means that you know exactly what you need to work on. You know what skills you need and how to make yourself better. In some programs, the mat list is not set in stone. If you get the skills you need and prove yourself to your coach, they may put you in the routine.
An Alternate Is An Important Position
An alternate is one of the most important and hardest roles to be on the team. It is an important position because you have to be ready to step in at any time in case of an injury or issue preventing someone else from stepping in. You are going to be the person who could save your team from a disaster. Injuries in cheerleading are not uncommon, and there is a chance that you will have to step in if someone gets hurt close to competition time. This makes you very important to your team.
Being an alternate is hard for two reasons. The first isIt is that you have to learn everyone’s part by heart. Every part that you could fill in for is your job to learn and do. It will require versatility and motivation to learn all of the parts. The other reason it is hard is that it required mental strength. It can be hard to stay motivated to continue practicing your skills from the sideline when there is a chance that you won’t get to complete them. It’s hard to watch your teammates compete without you. However, you have to remember that your team and coach might need you, and they want you to succeed just as much as the athletes on the mat.
Stay Engaged In Practice
Hard work and personal motivation is going to say a lot to your coach. There are a couple of things that you can do to stay engaged in practice:
- Watch the parts that you might fill in for and learn their part of the routine. If you do get thrown in unexpectedly, it will be better for you and everyone else if you already know the routine.
- Suppose you are missing any skills you may need to make a mat and work on those skills. Practice them every day until you get them. This will not only show your coach that you want to do what it takes to make the mat, but it also increases your chance of making it onto the mat for the next season.
- Do everything that you can on the side of the mat or an unused part of the mat. Run every routine with your team. Do the skills with them like you are on the mat. Go to open gyms and ask people to do the routine stunts with you.
It may be hard, but remember, when you have to be on the sidelines, cheer your teammates on. They need you, and you need them. Just because you are an alternate, you are still a part of the team. Every single piece has a role to play. You are still important to the team. If your mind starts to think negative thoughts, try to flip them into positives. Use your position as motivation to get better for the next season. Make it your goal to get onto the mat. Remember to prepare yourself to the best of your abilities to step into any position if your team needs you to. Work hard, stay motivated, and remember that it’s not the end of your cheer career. It’s just a step on the way to success.