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Expert Coaching Tips: 8 Ways to Define Leadership for Your Dance Team

Posted by Stephanie on Jan 20, 2017
Dance Arts Centre Studio Dancers Lyrical dance costumes
Dance Arts Centre dancers huddle before a performance.

We've asked some of our coaching friends to share their unique insights with you for this new series: EXPERT COACHING TIPS. In case you missed it, last time we talked about coaches' most important lessons learned!

This week, we're talking about leadership. The dance team coaches we talked to know that it's important not only to be a great leader for their dance teams, but also to establish leadership within their team. See what they had to share, below! 


1.  Consider Volunteer Coaches

"Having multiple volunteer coaches has been an incredible benefit to our team. Being able to pass off various projects to our assistant coaches has helped us function better and more efficiently. It has been better for our coaches and our dancers."

– Brandy Kirschner - Georgia Tech Goldrush Dance Team


2. Respect Everyone Equally

"Consistency is key. We have to treat every dancer/athlete the same way and really be consistent in our rules and regulations. We have also adapted a "tone, tolerance, trust" aspect to our practices. Tone when we talk to others, tolerance in putting up with some things rather than being frustrated, and trusting one another on the team. We end our practices every day with our pledge and it really helps."

Mariah Tweeton - Fargo South High School Dance Team


3. Work Together With Your Dancers as Equal Parts Vison & Execution

"I truly believe if you give your all to your position as a coach, your dancers will see this, appreciate it, and they will give you even more. I don't just treat them as another dancer on the team. I let my dancers know my role is to come up with the vision, their role is to execute and bring that vision to life. It's equal parts vision and execution. One can't go without the other. They need me just as much as I need them. With this level of professional respect, my dancers and I work as a team and they are much more invested in the team and in their role."

 Derric Whitfield - Washington Wizards Girls



If you ❤ the Wizard Girls, double tap that #TapDat #slaysquad #wizzgrizz #dcfamily

A video posted by Wizard Girls (@wizardgirlsnba) on


4. Set Expectations

"Understanding that each child is different. One issue that consistently comes up in planning for a new season and having a successful team is the role of leadership and how that effects your team. I find that sometimes seniority does not have a place in leadership roles and it's really important that we be very clear about exactly what we expect from our leaders and exactly what qualities make a leader."

Mollie Sylvestre - Dance Arts Centre


5. Set Goals for Success

"When our team has a goal set and they don't achieve it, they bounce back with more determination than ever. We have such a driven group of girls that truly want to be happy with every performance for themselves, their coaches peers, school, community, and across their state.

It's so important to them to better themselves at every performance and push themselves so they have no regrets.

Trophies are fun, but our team truly puts more value on knowing that they gave their all and were happ with their own performances. When we walk off that floor knowing we did everything we could, we feel successful. If we know we could have done better, we push ourselves to make sure we achieve that the next time we are on that floor. "

 Kristi Hogan - Mukwonago High School Dance Team


6. It's About the Journey

"I really try to focus on the journey and beating ourselves vs. the placements we receive."

 Kim Chick - Duluth East High School Dance Team


7. Keep it Positive & Include Praise

"The biggest thing I've learned to help me be a successful coach is to include praise. It may sound so obvious and simple, but as a competitive program, it's our duty and our job as coaches to constantly be watching for things that can be improved and made better. But on top of that, to be able to insert praise for individuals. Even if it's during a water break, to go up to a dancer and say, 'wow, I was watching you and you did really great tonight.' That make such a difference. It helps you connect with your dancers and helps them know individually that you care about them."

 Alysia Ulfers - University of St. Thomas Dance Team

 University of St. Thomas dance team game day dresses

University of St. Thomas 2016-2017 Dance Team

"Preparedness and the power of positivity will do wonders for any team."

 Genevieve Adler - Lakeville South High School Dance Team


8. Have Some Fun to Show You Care

"Remember to have some fun with the [performers]. Always pay attention and show that you care about them as people and not just as [performers]."

 Ashley Sanchez - McNicholas High School


"Our leaders play an important role in our success as they do many team bonding ideas [...] to keep everyone excited about dancing throughout the hard times."

 Heidi Shimon - Hudson High School Dance Team


Coaches - How do you define leadership for your team?! Let us know below! 

Looking for more expert coaching tips? Download our the full guide!

Coaching Tips Guide - Free Download

Topics: Dance, Coaching Tips

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