Discover how Coach Samantha Robinson, who was voted into the Coaching Corps Hall of Fame earlier this month, uses her cheer gym to teach kids about responsibility and help them be more confident.
Samantha Robinson has been involved with cheerleading her entire life. From a young age until college, she was always a part of a team, then life, as it often does, got in the way.
Through her daughter, however, Samantha went back to her passion but this time as a coach.
“I started when my daughter wanted to cheer,” she explains. “I helped her midget cheerleading team for three years, then saw the need for an All Star cheer team because the one around here closed.”
So five years ago, Samantha, who is a special education teacher, decided to open her own cheer gym. There, she coaches girls & boys ages 3 to 18 and regardless of their age, she enjoys seeing them grow into their own and develop a newfound confidence.
“Whether you get them young or older, by the end of the season, they’re doing things that they might have not thought they could ever do,” she describes. “We have kids that won’t leave their mom’s side at first and then by the end of the year, they’re out there doing individual things by themselves.”
“Try at least once”
According to Coach Robinson, this is why being exposed to good coaching is important for kids and teenagers alike.
“Once you’re able to give them encouragements, then they’re more willing to try, or to give it their best to prove that they can do it. I always tell them you have to try at least once with my help. As long as they give me that, A for effort then they are good.”
Coach Robinson remembers how it was her All Star cheer coach, Rosa DeMarco, who instilled values, such as the confidence to showcase yourself on stage or focusing on yourself to better the team you are a part of, in her at a young age.
“In order to help your team you want to be able to be the strongest you can be as an individual,” she analyzes.
Today, that sense of responsibility is something that she tries to share with her students, inside and outside of the gym.
“Each week, we give them a word. For example, we’ll say ‘responsibility’, and they have to come up with some actions that they bring to the gym and outside of the gym to showcase that word. We try to give them ways to understand words and situations through through what we do in the gym.”
“You’ve got to make sure you’re connecting with them first”
When Yahir, one of her students, nominated her to the Coaching Corps Hall of Fame, Coach Robinson was shocked. She didn’t even know until one night her husband showed her the nomination and people kept messaging her about it.
“It truly was a blessing because I don’t look for anybody to give me praises,” she describes. “I do it off of my own. So, for something like that to happen and for people to be responsive about it, it was amazing.”
Yahir, who just turned 15, is in his second season under coach Robinson and she took it upon herself to help in the gym but also to make sure that he was doing well in school. That’s another point of emphasis that she shared with all her students.
“Not only do I coach them but I help mentor them to make sure that their grades are there. I always tell them “succeeding in school is your first priority. You need to get that stuff done before you can come to the gym.”
Connecting on a human level with each players to be able to reach them and help them unlock their full potential is the one advice Coach Robinson think is crucial to keep in mind for all coaches out there.
“You’ve got to make sure you’re connecting with them first,” she explains. “You always want to take into consideration that each kid is unique and you have to know how to get to them so they can fully take advantage of what you’re trying to teach them.”