Coaches’ Resources

Our Team Is Here For Your Team.

If you’re a new coach, need a quick refresher, or looking to take your program to the next level – the Varsity Spirit Coaches’ Spirit Kit is filled with tools and resources to help YOU. We hope that it can serve as a program framework as you embark on your upcoming season.

Determine Your Purpose

Setting program goals is the most important part of the planning process. Developed correctly, your program goals should influence your planning process. Below are some questions to guide you through the goal-setting process.  

  1. Choose Your Why:
    • Are you planning to provide an avenue for teens to participate in something positive?
    • Do you see a need for dancers and cheerleaders in your school or community to perform?
    • Are you interested in taking a group of athletes to competition?
    • Are you being asked to start a team by the school administration?
    • Are you looking to start a small business with an all-star program?
  2. Define your experience:
    • Do you hope the athletes will become more responsible?
    • Do you expect them to learn to work with others in a team situation?
    • Do you plan for them to develop the skills necessary to be selected for a high school, college, or professional team?
  3. Focus:
    • Are you planning to have a team where having fun is the main goal?
    • Are you planning to compete and therefore will be expecting a high level of commitment for practice and performance?

Once you have brainstormed the answers to the questions above, create a statement or list articulating your goals for the program. Use these goals as the foundation for the remainder of your program planning. Determining your personal goals and intentions as a coach will also help to influence your decisions made as a coach. Go back to these when you may be struggling with some of the more challenging aspects of coaching. 

Team Rules and Constitution

Having guidelines and expectations outlined for your team in a handbook or constitution format can make your job as a coach much easier. When expectations and rules are laid out for your athletes to follow there is no question about why things are done a certain way. It is important to have these expectations completed for dancers to read over either as soon as they are named a team member or prior to the start of tryouts. 

Topics to include in your constitution:  

  • Team structure  
  • Member requirements  
  • Tryout process  
  • Rules and Consequences  
  • Expectations of Athletes  
  • Social media policy (optional) 

Constitution Checklist

Working With Your Administration

Communication with your administration is crucial to the success of a new coach and an effective program. There are a few key individuals you need to communicate with to find program success. 

  • Athletic Director 
  • Principal 
  • Band Director 
  • Teachers 
  • Team Coaches 

Importance of a Spirit Program


Tryouts are the kick start to your season! There are many different ways to conduct this process. Below are some helpful action items to help you layout the process that will work best for you.

  1. Create an application packet with these items: 
    • Application form- name, address, phone numbers, email address, class schedule
    • Tryout process
    • Teacher evaluation form
    • Copy of team constitution
    • Medical release form
    • Tentative calendar of events
    • Parent/dancer/coach agreement form
  1. Get the Word Out: Put signs up around the school to let everyone know when tryouts are and what skills are expected. Have the school make announcements over the PA system in the weeks leading up to the tryouts. Don’t forget about your social game—be sure to market your tryout well in advance on your social media outlets.
  2. Schedule a Parent Information Meeting: Your parent meeting is the most essential part of the tryout process. This is when you need to tell the parents what you expect from your athletes throughout the season. Explain the rules and expectations of your program thoroughly. Make parents aware of the cost of uniforms, camp, competitions, etc. Also, let them know your planned practice schedule. You should eliminate any chances of parents raising questions about the way you run your program. 
  3. Secure Judges: Consider hiring judges for your tryout process. They should have a non-biased opinion to aid in the selection of your team and should not be involved in the tryout clinic. Contact judges at least one month prior to your tryout date. Judges are typically compensated for their time and efforts. It’s always nice to take care of them with snacks and water at the ready, especially if you have several dancers trying out!
  4. Scoresheets: Scoresheets are a vital part of your tryout process. This determines what you think is the most important part of your dance team. You may want to have a team that is more skilled in different in all areas, or you may want a team with a strong level of technique. Be sure to make copies of your score sheet and hand them out at the parent meeting. You want to let the parents know how their child will be scored.
  5. Tryout Process: Tryouts should be organized before you announce the tryout date. You can use a couple of graduating athletes (senior or 8th grade) to teach the material to the participants trying out. Make your tryout order. Depending on how many kids tryout, you should have 2 to 4 kids per group. After all of the particpants have finished, scores will be tallied. 
  6. Communicate the Results: Electing how you would like to announce the results of the tryout is entirely your preference. There is no right way or wrong way, but a few options are detailed below.
    • Announce the team the day of tryouts by number or name immediately following score evaluations.
    • Post the new team’s number or names in a designated location following the tryout. Consider posting on a Friday to allow dancers some time to comprehend the results.
    • Post results on team or athletic website
    • Email results individually to each athlete who attended the tryout. The personal touch may go a long way for those not making the squad.

Parent Meeting Checklist 

Try Out Reminders 

Contact your State Director to request a Tryout Kit and to help you with all of your tryout needs!

Budgeting and Fundraising

Once you have mapped out year-long plans for your team, you will be in a position to create a projected yearly budget. Estimate the amount of money each item will cost, and always round up. Make a timeline for when the funds will be needed, so that when you plan your fundraising activities, you can match them to the due dates. Conducting fundraisers that meet projected expenses are imperative in order to pay for your budgeted items. If a fundraiser falls short of your expectations, be sure that you have prioritized your expenses and can make cuts. 

Budgeting and Fundraising Considerations  

  • The fundraising activities you choose should fit the school and/or community’s needs and situation.
  • If selling products, aim to make a 50% profit margin.
  • Try to offer a product or service that no other school group offers.
  • Get all fundraising activities approved by your administration and be sure that they fit within district legal policies.
  • Keep meticulous records of money collected and deposit monies promptly. Never put yourself in a situation where you might be accused of mishandling team funds.
  • Consider turning the fundraising responsibilities over to a parent booster organization.

Learn more about Varsity Spirit’s fundraising partners and how your team can get involved HERE! 


Practice is where good teams turn into great teams. A well-managed practice ensures you are getting the most out of the time you have with your athletes To help make practices as effective as possible we have provided a few suggestions below.  

The amount of practice time needed will depend on several factors:  

  • The number of games and performances on the schedule.
  • The amount of time needed to choreograph, teach and clean routines. Gauge your athletes’ ability to retain choreography.
  • The amount of time you are willing to spend with the team considering your work and family schedule.
  • The technique and fitness level of the team. Teams should build time for these activities into practice. 
  • Athletes schedules outside of the team. The amount of practice time available will be limited if team members are permitted to play other sports, participate in other time consuming school activities or work. 

A productive practice should include:  

  • A warm-up (including strength and conditioning)
  • Dedicated technique time
  • Performance preparation
  • Routine cleaning time
  • Wrap-up, reminders, and team goal assessment


Camp is the kick start of your season! Varsity Spirit branded camps provide an environment for your athletes to learn and grow, while you are able to gain certifications for the season. At camp your squad will bond, connect with other squads, learn new material, improve technique, strengthen memorization skills and prepare for the upcoming season! When selecting a summer camp consider your budget, ideal dates, preferred location and curriculum offered. You will be able to search and choose a camp tailored for your squad’s needs. In general, each camp brand offers the following camp types. 

UDA Camps

NDA Camps

UCA Camps

NCA Camps

USA Camps


Preparing for a competition can be stressful and strenuous, but with proper knowledge and guidance, competing can be fulfilling and incredibly rewarding for you and your team. Once you have mapped out your competition plan, include it in your team constitution. 

UDA Competitions

NDA Competitions

UCA Competitions

NCA Competitions

USA Competitions

Spirit Raising

Spirit teams do more than just perform at games and competitions, they are also spirit leaders on campus and in the community. Collaborate with the cheerleading/dance team contact to make sure that each team is doing what they can to keep the school full of spirit. Keep in mind some of the following ideas to help raise spirit around your school and community.  

School Decorations and Signs: Keep the student body involved with signs and decorations posted around the school. Not only does this inform students about dates, times, and locations of events but it also gives the school a more spirited feeling! Always check with your administration before hanging anything throughout the school.  

Pep Rallies: Pep Rallies are a great chance to get the students involved with your team and the athletic teams. Many teams perform upbeat and fun routines at pep rallies that get the crowd pumped up and excited for upcoming games or events. At many schools, the cheerleading team is in charge of organizing the pep rally so it is important to collaborate with them or offer to help with planning and preparation. Some schools even incorporate games during the rally to involve all students.  

Community Involvement: If possible, get your team involved in the community whether it be volunteering or marching in parades. Take advantage of these opportunities to create school spirit in the community to help build a positive reputation for your school and team’s program. 

Digital Resources

Coaches juggle many things — managing a team, training athletes on skills, creating and teaching choreography, knowing what to do in the event of an injury and communicating with parents. Now, thanks to technology, coaches can manage all that from their smartphone or tablet. Check out these recommendations for the best mobile apps for coaches. 

Apps to Download: 

  • Coaches Eye 
  • BAND 

Continuing Education

Varsity University, an enterprise powered by Varsity Brands, offers comprehensive educational programming to schools and athletic programs worldwide. Through a combination of specialized online courses and in-person seminars, Varsity University provides the resources necessary for educators, coaches and gym owners to enhance the student experience. Click HERE to get started!


Varsity Spirit’s commitment to the health and well-being of young people is embedded in our high-quality educational curriculum and our leading role in the establishment of instructional safety standards. We also believe in encouraging cheerleaders and dancers to be leaders on and off the field by getting involved and giving back to their communities. Below are ways YOUR team can get involved!

  • IMPACT → Now
    • Varsity Brands acknowledges the unique challenges that administrators, teachers, school staff, and students are now facing. IMPACT NOW is designed to help schools and districts address unprecedented needs with a partner who is dedicated to elevating student experiences.
  • St. Jude :
    • Each summer, we ask every cheerleader or dancer attending a Varsity Spirit camp to send fundraising letters to friends and family around the country, asking for donations to the renowned hospital. In the fall, the fundraising continues at Team Up for St. Jude Spirited by Varsity Game Day events. Cheerleaders and dancers invite their student bodies, teachers and communities to join fundraising efforts by hosting a spirit week, filled with class challenges, pep rallies and a game benefitting St. Jude. Cheerleaders and dancers have already raised millions for this amazing organization
  • Generation Spirit:
    • Generation Spirit (formerly The Sparkle Effect) empowers students nationwide to create spirit teams that bring together peers with and without disabilities. These teams transform school culture to one where all students feel valued and celebrated, igniting a spirit of inclusion that lasts for years to come.