Patience and teamwork are the keys to success for our Coach of the Week, Beth Ryan, from Willoughby, OH. Ryan strives to apply these important fundamentals not only as a volunteer cheerleading coach, but also in her professional and family life. While this may sound like a simple task, forbearance is not always an easy undertaking, especially in youth sports.
If you’re a coach, you know first hand that working with a youth athletic program involves a great deal of understanding and a keen ability to work well with others. Other coaches, parents, referees, bus drivers, competition organizers - the list goes on and on. Stamp these folks with the volunteer label, and patience can become even more trying.
But rest assured, Ryan’s learned that if you’re volunteering, most folks are there for the right reason, making the atmosphere generally amiable. Still, steering through logistics outside the gym or field can test a coach's patience. Which is why she works to demonstrate her ability to stay calm, collected and resourceful with her cheerleaders and their loved ones first and foremost.
And she has done so for the past five years with Wiloughby Redhawks cheer squad - improving her leadership skills and motivating her team to work effective and efficiently. Ryan understands that teamwork should be her primary teaching focus, especially in the sport of competitive cheer. Which is why she’s not afraid to take a step back when her athletes start the season with varying skill levels across in the four major sport categories: tumbling, stunting, cheering and dancing. If her girls successfully work together, they’ll amplify their strengths and improve their weaknesses each week.
Over the years, she’s learned to recognize that each player learns differently. She knows that her athletes will succeed and improve if goals are set and the coach displays tolerance during the learning process. That’s why she take her time when teaching a new cheer or element. If the fundamentals are there, the athlete can and will eventually achieve their goal.
Patience with the parents as Ryan has come to understand, is sometimes more challenging. She has learned that the best way to keep parents engaged, is by keeping all lines of communication open and available. She wrote, “It’s very important to always have an idea of what the parents expect out of you as a coach, as well as the trust you want them to have in you.”
The good news is, Ryan has backup. For the past three years, Ryan has worked side by side with Beth Brown, a fellow Redhawks coach. Ryan shared that she feels immensely lucky to work with a coach that has such a beautiful heart and loves to cheer. In fact, for Ryan, Brown brings an expert knowledge to the team (she’s a former cheerleader), and a enthusiasm for the sport that shines through during the season. The cheerleaders and their parents definitely take notice too.
But it takes more than two stellar coaches to make the season successful. Ryan wrote that she is proud and impressed with how well the Wiloughby Youth Football & Cheerleadeing program is run. While patience and teamwork are invaluable skills to have when working in this environment, she is constantly thankful for all of the opportunities she has been given to mentor, lead and be apart of a dedicate sports family.
She has her own loved ones to thank too. Happily married to her husband Rob for 13 years they have two beautiful children. Kayla, 12, has been cheering for six years and is currently enjoying the 2010 season with Mom and the Redhawks. 10-year-old Zach plays football. So when Ryan’s not reinforcing her patience and team building on the field, she’s certainly doing so at home.