Welcome to our Monthly Spotlight.. where we interview cheer coaches from around the globe to find out what makes them so successful, and what makes their program unique ! This month our spotlight is on Mary Beth Matthews of Cheer Authority Athletics. Read on to find out more!
How long have you been around in the cheer industry?
I grew up as a competitive gymnast.. When I began Junior High, I was introduced to cheer and it took the place of gymnastics. Although I have coached and been involved in cheerleading for over 20 years, This season marks the second season for me as a coach in the all-star cheer world.
What inspired you on becoming a Coach, and how long have you been coaching for?
I’ve worked in many different industries over the past 15+ years, but I have never stayed away from coaching for longer than a few months.
As a child, my mom shuffled me to and from gymnastics practice, an hour both ways, five to six afternoons a week. As I got more involved in cheer, my interest in competitive gymnastics lessened. I found a love in cheer that I had never experienced with gym and it showed. I began helping with community cheer programs, and that grew into private session with younger cheerleaders and later my same age. I was a junior in high school when my parents began to realize how effective my “back yard” services were becoming. In 2003, they built a small tumbling studio behind their real estate office for me to have a place to actually coach. Their idea was to offer an opportunity for me to build a business at an early age, with their guidance. By that they were allowing me a much needed look into “adult-life,” as preparation for the future. As small-business owners, they tried to familiarize my brother and I, with the reality of self-employment, both benefits and hardships. They also knew that Cartwheels Acro, Tumble and Cheer, could potentially provide a bit of financial independence for me, while I attended a university. Although 15 years of experience has provided a long list of daily inspiration, my parents are who inspired me from the start. I coach by the example they provided and I want my athletes to look back at their cheer-life at CA, and be able to say they were prepared for it, with the help of Cheer Authority.
How long have you been running Cheer Authority as the Head Coach?
We converted from a recreational tumbling facility to an all star cheerleading program last season! Within our facility, recreational tumbling and cheer classes are offered, but by multiple coaches. I don’t use the title “Head Coach.” I assume responsibility, but as for the staff at Cheer Authority, we work together as co-workers. I have an amazing staff that contribute the same amount of heart, time and effort as I do.
We know that you have attended several Coaches conferences. We actually met you down at the conference held in Tennessee and the Gaylord Opryland. What stood out to you at our booth, and made you want to choose GlitterStarz for your new gear this season?
GlitterStarz has so great many reviews, when I saw the booth at that conference, I couldn’t wait to see what you had to offer. I had already done a lot of research and asked for feedback from many other gym owners. GlitterStarz was, by far, the most recommended. I pay attention to quality and last years uniform experience for us, was less that perfect. I set out to make our uniforms stand out this year. At the conference that we met, I was looking for a company that was willing to take my idea of a perfect uniform, and make it come to life. I think I officially decided to contract GlitterStarz when Rachel and Meghan sat down beside me in the middle of the floor of the booth with hundreds of color swatches and materials; Both committing to making this years uniform exactly what I wanted it to be. From there, the extensive amount of time spent on the drawing and all of the edits, and then ease of communication and timely production made the process so much easier! All of those things were priorities for me and GlitterStarz exceeded my expectations!
Cheer Authority has such unique colors compared to other teams that we have worked with in the industry. What would you suggest to other or new teams, who are thinking about changing their colors, to help them recreate their team colors, and go more "outside of the box"?
Don’t be afraid to be different that other teams. We should be afraid to be alike or similar. No one wants their teams to just “blend in” with the crowd. Involve your athletes and let them have a say! I have found that they take more pride in the things when they are asked to contribute. Although we’re not judged on uniforms, we’re constantly seeking new ways to show our creativity, and unique and innovative ideas, in our routines so uniforms should be the same. But most of all, find a company that cares about the outcome of your uniforms as you do!
Thank you Mary Beth for taking the time to answer all of our questions. We wish you and your organization the best of luck this year!
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