ALERTNESS.jpg" Alertness and courage are life's shield."
~Phillipino Proverb

"As you strive to reach your personal best,
alertness will make the task much easier.
Be observing constantly,
quick to spot a weakness and correct it or use it,
as the case may warrant."
~Coach John Wooden

This means constantly observing what's going on around you. It means keeping an open mind. It means always being eager to learn and improve. It means to "look alive," and "stay-awake."

Obviously this is important during a game so that you don't look ridiculous. You have to know what's going on in the game in order to call appropriate chants, stop chants when it's the right time to stop, key-into what gets the fans to respond, the needs of your squad mates, etc. These are skills that get built with experience.

Obviously it's important while stunting to stay focused, to keep your eye on the flier and make sure that she never hits the ground.

But perhaps most importantly, it's important when it comes to self-awareness. Were you AWARE that your grades were slipping? Were you AWARE that adults were watching when you were smooching your beau? Were you AWARE that preschoolers were around when you were kussing?

Ah- but being alert is not just about being aware during a game, to the game, the crowd, and who's watching you. You'll never learn much in life if don't stay alert. Coach Wooden says it better himself than I can-

"Too often we get lost in our own tunnel vision and we don't see the things right in front of us for the taking, for the learning.

My favorite hero is Abraham Lincoln. He had alertness. He once said that he never met a person from whom he did not learn something, although most of the time it was something not to do. That also is learning, and it comes from alertness.

As you strive to reach your personal best, alertness will make the task much easier. Be observing constantly, quick to spot a weakness and correct it or use it, as the case may warrant." ('Wooden,' 1997 McGraw-Hill)

Work depends on alertness- what needs to be done
Friendship depends on alertness- have you noticed how they're feeling, acting, what they're going through?
Enthusiasm? Are you alert to how your enthusiasm rubs off on others? To who around you could use some enthusiasm? This after all, is what cheerLEADING is all about.

Alertness is certainly important to self-control. You should always try to be aware of how your words, actions, and attitudes effect others. Part of maturity is protecting others from yourself- in other words, being respectful of others about where your rights end and theirs begin.

But again, at a game it will always be important to be alert to which chants the fans seem to respond to best, when they're getting a little negative or unsportsman like so you can try to redirect their energies, and what times in a game the players seem to need the most encouragement- that's all part of your job as cheerleaders.

One of the most important forms of alertness for cheering. Be alert to new ideas. While you shouldn't copy a chant that another squad does right after they do it, or even in the same quarter- because they may be insulted, think you're making fun of them or take it as a challenge to start a "cheer-war." THIS is all poor sportsmanship.

However, you can and SHOULD be alert to things that you like or think would work for our games & pep rallies. Copy cheers, adapt them, change them, rearrange them. Don't repeat them that same game, but DO work practice them, work on them, share them with your squadmates, bring it up at cheer practice (if/when we get to have any) and premiere it at the next game. Writers and cartoonists call this "lifting ideas," a lot nicer than "stealing." You may also want to be alert to cheers/chants you see at MS,HS, College, and Pro games you attend or see on TV.