Coaches Chat #212 – Dree Hogan

COMMUNITY FIRST

It is the offseason in MFFCC and we catch up with a Wolverine who stays busy.  We sit down with Dree Hogan from the Winter Haven Wolverines.  Dree serves as both as a coach for the Wolverines Pee Wee Cheer squad, but she also doubles as Cheer Coordinator as well.

Most offseasons you’d find most coaches either relaxig, basking in the previous season’s glory, or steadfastly gameplanning for the season to come.  Here the Dree and the Wolverines just keep going, as they service the kids in their community.

Dree was gracious enough to share some insights into the Wolverine program.

GETTING TO KNOW DREE

How long have you been in your current position?
I am currently going into my third season as the Cheer Commissioner/Coordinator

What level do you coach?
The peewees division.

Do you coach anything else besides cheer?
I coach my daughter in basketball. This year we have a large turnout of girls wanted to play softball.
I’ve been asked to coach the girls’ softball team, but I haven’t decided yet.

How many years of experience do you have in coaching?
Five years of experience coaching cheerleading

Have you coached multiple levels? If yes, what was your favorite level?
I have coached flag, Mighty Mights, Pee Wees, and Juniors. My favorite was Pee Wees.

WOLVERINE LIFESTYLE

As an outsider take us inside what it is like within the WH Wolverines?
In 2004, football and cheerleading were added to the already established baseball and softball program and the name was changed to Winter Haven Wolverines. The program has been led by our President Bernita Riley and Athletic Director James Hogan. The vast majority of the kids we serve are at risk kids. They need positive intervention from caring adults. This is what our year-round program does using sports at the center point. In December, we participated in a toy drive to give back to the community.

How have you managed to reach out to the surrounding community to get them involved with the program?
Every year we participate in the Winter Haven MLK Parade. We use that opportunity to hand out flyers and talk to people about our program. We also use social media to post and share different events within our organization. We have our own Facebook page: Winter Haven Football and Cheerleading.

In addition to being a coach, you also serve as cheer coordinator. Is there any added pressure in having that extra responsibility?
Yes, there is added pressure in having that extra responsibility.

My goal each season is to have a successful cheer program.  I must recruit girls and boys from all ages, not just the age group I’m coaching.  Additionally I am responsible for maintaining our cheer books and have a system in place to make sure the paperwork stays organized.  For example, there has been many times when I was in the middle of teaching a cheer routine and had to stop to help a parent with paperwork, collect payment, help another coach, attend a meeting, etc.

As a coach, we want to do what is best for our squad. As the cheerleading coordinator, I must do what is best for the entire cheer program.

COACHING PROFILE

Purple and Gold at MFFCC Cheer Competition '17

In your own words can you share 5 things that should be found within a good cheer coach?

  1. Positive Role Model
  2. Cheerleading Experience & Knowledge
  3. Good Communicator
  4. Dependable; Reliable, Punctual
  5. Team Player

In evaluating cheer coaches and assistants, what do you look for?

  1. Are they a positive role model
  2. Do they have cheerleading experience & knowledge
  3. Are they a good communicator
  4. Are they dependable; reliable, punctual
  5. Are they a team player

I am proudest of my girls when they believe in themselves and perform to their fullest potential

– Dree Hogan

COMMITTED TO THE YOUTH


Growing up who were some of your mentors growing up?  What was a lesson, or advice that you apply to yourself today?
Growing up, I was part of a mentorship police program called Explorers Post 900.  A man named Deputy Andrew Williams led our team.  He was a good mentor, he taught me a lot about taking responsibility for my own action.

I can not control others, but I can control myself.

What made you get into volunteering for youth sports?
Being involved in youth sports have always been apart of my family life.  My dad has been involved in youth sports since I was three years old.  He has coached football, basketball, and baseball. When I was young I cheered for the Bartow Yellow Jackets.  I remember how important cheerleading was to me and the bond I had with my coach.

When my daughter was five years old I signed her up for cheerleading.  I saw one lady trying to teach 13 little girls how to jump, but it was a mess. I went on the field and started helping and that’s how I started coaching.

How important is the parental support to not just the Wolverines but in youth sports period?
Parental support is very important in youth sports. Parents are usually the first people to introduce a child to sports. The more involved a parent is, the more likely the child will enjoy the experience. Knowing their parent is on the field watching them builds up their self-confidence and self-esteem.

Parent support include verbal encouragement, presence at the games, and providing financially. We try to keep parents involved by having mandatory parent meetings. We discuss upcoming events, behavior issues, birthday celebrations, etc. We also post videos so that parents can see what their child is doing at practice.

In the past we’ve had Parent – Daughter Challenges.
This is where the cheer coach uploads a routine, and then the parent and cheerleader must send a video of themselves doing the routine together.

Describe your coaching style? What are some things that Coach Dree uses to get the best out of her girls?
My coaching style is a mixture of being firm when needed, while letting the girls have a fun and enjoyable experience.  I am hands-on during practice.  We run laps together, we stretch together, and we cheer together.  To get the best out of my girls I use a reward system.  Sometimes I will bring candy, sometimes I may order pizza.

First time cheerleaders, how do you build them up?
Through encouraging words, small groups, and one on one time. 

It is easier for a football coach to teach a kid how to get into a 3 point stance. Everyone knows that Cheerleading is the toughest sport!

– Dree Hogan

IN CLOSING...

The cheerleading in your area, would you say that it is growing in terms of participation, or staying the same?
Participation in cheerleading has definitely grown in our area. When I took over as Cheerleading Coordinator we had 21 cheerleaders.  Although our numbers were low, our cheerleaders had a fresh look, new coaches, and new routines.  Our girls brought home three trophies and were featured in two different newspapers articles.

This season our numbers more than doubled and we brought home seven trophies. I expect for our upcoming season to be even bigger.

In each organization there are always a lot of unknown names and faces that do a lot of heavy lifting and making things happen behind the scenes. Who are some of those people?
With me being a member of the Army Reserves I sometimes must go away for training.  My assistant cheer coordinator, ReSheena Hardy has done an excellent job in taking over when I’m away. She has also helped each squad learn how to tumble and stunt.

Marquitta Carter, Ronika Mincey, and Keva Mchellon are all team moms who do a lot of behind the scene stuff for football and baseball.

During the season, are you constructing routines for that Saturday only, or building for Competition Weekend?
At the beginning of the season I construct different routines for Saturday games only. Later, we focus on competition cheers.

 

Your stress level during competition, does it rise up?  How do you keep calm when those 2 minutes and 30 seconds are ticking away?
During competition my stress level is low. Everything is usually preplanned, and time management is very important to me. The girls must arrive at a certain time, they must get makeup and get dressed at a certain time.

My stress level rises when the girls don’t stay on schedule.

Ever have a routine in your mind it looks good, and when it is put to the mat doesn’t look the same?
Yes, this year I tried to teach the peewee and mighty might cheerleaders how to do a ripple. That did not go so well.

You are most proudest of your girls when?
I am proudest of my girls when they believe in themselves and perform to their fullest potential

 Any advice you’d like to share with a younger person looking to get into coaching?
Make sure you ‘re ready to commit from the start of the season to the end of the season. Make sure you are ready to be a positive role-model in their life because they will look up to you.