CONFIDENCE.jpg" Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent."

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do."
~Eleanor Roosevelt

"Courage is being scared to death- but saddling up anyway."
~John Wayne

"You must have confidence," writes Coach John Wooden, "You must believe in yourself if you expect others to believe in you. However, you can't have poise and confidence unless you've prepared correctly. (remember that failing to prepare is preparing to fail.) Every block is built on the others. When all are in place, poise and confidence result. You don't force them to happen. They happen naturally from proper preparation. "

Webster's Dictionary explains that it is "a state of mind or a manner marked by easy coolness and freedom from uncertainty, diffidence, or embarrassment... faith in oneself and one's powers without any suggestion of conceit or arrogance confidence that comes from long experience>...an ease or coolness under stress that reflects perfect self-control and command of one's powers... a manifest self-possession in trying or challenging situations."

Some kids bring confidence to cheerleading. Generally cheerleading gives kids confidence.
Flying, basing and spotting in stunts. Leading chants; shouting, jumping and kicking in front of hundreds of people. Leading pep-rallies... practice, practice, practice... being LOUD and PROUD!

Heck, just having to perform in front of the whole student body or half the town gives you a certain amount of confidence- once you get over whatever stage fright you had, there won't be many times you'll be afraid to be in front of people anymore!

I wish we still had 10-20 people trying out for cheer- not because the competition means you get a higher caliber of cheerleader- you guys are great- but because having to go through the tryout practice is a real teat or confidence. Over the last 20 years I've known a couple of girls who gave phenomenal tryouts, you'd think they were college cheerleaders, unfortunately they became lazy and sloppy in practice and at games. These girls were "over confident." True confidence is built on the other 13 bricks and includes not just poise, but work, conditioning, alertness, loyalty, Enthusiasm, cooperation, etc.

Then there were a few girls who I absolutely knew had outstanding skills, knowledge, and work-ethic- but unfortunately for them, they completely freaked out when it was time for tryouts. A couple of times girls wound up in tears. It was too bad because I knew that they were brimming with potential. At least once they decided they couldn't stand being in front of crowds, at least once there wasn't anything I could do- there were too many other candidates that performed better, and I know a couple of times it worked out in the end. Even the girls who don't make the squad have said that just having to go through the tryout process helped build their confidence.

And as Coach Wooden explained, working on industriusness, friendship, loyalty, cooperation, enthusiasm, self-control, alertness, initiative, intentness, conditioning, skill, team-spirit, and poise- these are going to give you REAL confidence.

My hope is that through cheerleading, you will build all 15 of these bricks into your character and your thinking. If you do, they may not make you a billionaire or the first woman President, but I guarantee that they will bring you success- that is, the peace of mind that comes from knowing that you did your best. And THAT could make cheer one of the most important things you do in high school. Even if this is the last season you cheer and you don't come out again (and I hope you all will, whether it's during football or basketball or both), but even if you don't- it will be worth it if you gain at least some confidence from it. That will probably happen even if you think this Pyramid business of Coach Wooden is a bunch of bunk.

I've known tons of girls who agree that it made a difference in their lives. Some who were timid, shy and unassuming before cheer and confident and comfortable both with themselves and with others after. But remember, if your confidence is not merely building up an immunity to stage-fright, but if it's backed up by the other 13 bricks in the Pyramid of Success- you'll be ready for just about anything life throws at you.

Everybody need a little confidence. How do you get it? It's not about a sense of entitlement, it's about a sense of accomplishment. Esteem may give you value, but efficacy gives you confidence. If you have the other 12 blocks of the pyramid, then confidence and poise will come along naturally. If there's anything that cheerleading (and I'm sure other sports like VB, XC, BB, and Track) can give a girl, it's confidence.