Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Alpha Verve - SNCC 2011

You know I should have posted this entry like few weeks ago, but it's either I had been real busy or had been procrastinating. I would just want to write down some of my thoughts and feelings I had for SNCC with Alpha and also for the past 1 year.

I had been coaching for more than 5 years now, but this is my first year as a coach for a team participating in Nationals, as the coach of Alpha Verve. I took up coaching Alpha Verve last year in May 2010. I have to admit that in the beginning, I was nervous, as I would be meeting new people, and being in a new environment and different culture; as compared to when I was coaching my Hall for HO and when I was in my previous team ACES. 2010 was also the year that had been very significant for me, the year that I decided to do something about my life, to change myself for the better and to get out of my comfort zone. For that reason, I decided to go ahead and take up coaching Alpha Verve, to step out of my comfort zone and to bring value to more people. I am very glad that I did that.

When I took up coaching Alpha, the players were mostly fresh, or with 1 year of experience. It was the year that many of the seniors that had been with Alpha for the past 3 to 4 years graduated. I knew that alot of work had to be done. We did lots of basics in the beginning, correcting the fundamentals, so that the seniors, when the freshmen comes in, can teach and demostrate the proper techniques of cheerleading and educate the freshmen as efficiently as posible. It is worth it, the basis training is what allowed them to pick up more advance skills as they move on, and also for the juniors and freshies to catch up quickly.

Something that I really loved about Alpha Verve is their organization. They had a very well formed committee led by their captain Terence that managed the team very well. I never had to worry about anything other then to focus purely on coaching them and playing an advisory role. The team was very disciplined; other than captain Terence, they had many good leaders such as Joseph and Liyuan who takes charge of the warmups and helping me to keep the team organised and motivated during trainings. Every other members as well also played their role from logistics (Congren), uniforms (Elaine), banner designing (Eng Meng), liasing for performances (Weiting) and of course everyone else for working so hard on the mats. Another group of very important people also are the seniors, or Avatars as they call it, who came back to help out and guide the team, esp Biyi, Nigel, Jane and Jiayi. The seniors are the beacon of light for the juniors, to guide them whenever they are lost or in doubt.

With all these help from the managing committee and Avatars, we were able to conduct training efficiently most of the times. And soon after the sports awards performance, everyone is able to reach a same level and stardard; the freshies and juniors were able to catch up sufficiently to start training together with the seniors for Nationals. Of course during this period we also had to face some dropouts as well due to various reasons, mostly studies and time commitment issues. But nevertheless, everyone was still there supporting each other, as a family and working towards our common goal set at the start; though sometimes it takes some reminders to remind them what their goal was and to realign everyone.

And now to fast forward a bit nearer to Nationals. Every team has their own difficulties and problems they need to overcome, for us it was injuries and confidence issues. Just less than a month away from Nationals, we had to source very hard to find replacement for our flyers down. I would like to thank Terence and Joseph especially for looking around so hard and trying their very best to get replacements. Also a big thanks to Jiayi for coming back to help out in the team in such short notice. The seniors really had a big part to play for this nationals. I would also like to thank Jane Lee, even though you are not formerly from Alpha, but you came down and helped despite not knowing everyone except Alice. I would also like to thank Wildcards, especially Chaang, Gary, Ochi and Hann Bin for providing me with suggestions and accompanying through this difficult period; and also for all your help during the trainings. Thank you Jon for the wonderful music and redbull jellies too.

When everything seemed good to go, everyone was in good spirits, then just 3 days before SNCC 2011, Alice fractured her finger. Again we had to source high and low for solutions and contingencies. This time round it was even more desperate than before and I almost could not sleep because of that. After a day of scare and worrying, fortunately for Alpha, we got ourselves a very strong flyer in Alice and she decided to continue with heavily bandaged fingers and enduring through the pain.

Now when the day of SNCC arrived, it was as if the drama never ends, Alice fell from split mount during our final all out rehearsal and injured her shoulder. She was sent to the hospital with only 2 hours left to competition. Again we had to find a contingency and with only 2 hours to go, we had no other option, but to ask Xuewei to stand in for Alice, for only she knows Alpha routine inside out. Alice fell was really looking pretty bad and serious, I never thought she would be able to make it. But with only about an hour to go, Alice proved to us all again what a strong flyer she was. She came back with tears in her eyes when I saw her, but still made the decision to go out there and compete despite the pain and truama she had been through just hours ago. Let's not forget that Alice is already fighting the pain from her fractured fingers and now this. For this, I had to commend Alice and if there was a best cheerleader award for SNCC, it definitely has to go to her for her perserverance and courage. Alice you definitely showed everyone out there what a cheerleader is about, and for giving everything for what you want to do most.

Finally Alpha took to the mats and performed their best ever routine, despite a fall right at the end. The rush of emotions immediately afterwards was almost indescripable. It felt like relieve, happiness and some minor dissapointment (for the last fall) all rolled into 1, but majority of it being happy and really glad that everyone did their best out there. After the performance, many came over to us and congratulate us and said that this was the best ever routine Alpha Verve put up in Nationals. This acknowledgement really means alot to me and the team.

Something most important that I learnt from this experience of coaching Alpha for 1 year is that, never expect everything to be smooth sailing. And as a coach, a leader of the team, you must never be defeated no matter the situation, you are their source of support and direction. I learnt to be strong in the face of adversity, this lesson I will never forget. Though let's hope that after all these, Alpha can have a ever better year ahead.

I shall leave you guys with some photos taken during Alpha's best ever performance.

P.S: Alpha, we are better than ever!

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