Sweat oozes from my palms. A million thoughts run through my head. I hear chanting “USA, USA, USA!” I think of all the years of sweat and practice riding on this 3 minute performance I am about to deliver. I glance at my coach for any last minute notes. Over the loudspeaker I hear, “from the United States of America… Alysha Depp!”
From the competition floor to the teaching world… this is my life and passion. But where did it all start?
How did I get interested in twirling baton? What made my mom pick little, old-fashioned baton twirling over dance, soccer, or cheer leading for her daughter? If it was an unusual choice back then, how–30 years later–with even more options, would twirling be picked as a child’s sport? If I had not twirled, would I even consider the option of enrolling my own daughter in a baton class? If we want the sport we love to continue, it takes all of us to make this happen.
The growth of our sport is in the numbers. It means getting down in the trenches and teaching flat twirls. It means creating classes, renting facilities, and handing out flyers, all to generate interest in a baton class. We all love coaching the advanced twirlers who want to work, who practice on their own, and who follow our advice. But advanced twirlers have to start somewhere. We need more people twirling, and this starts with the need for more teachers.
Teachers are the future of our sport. We can have the best developed competition, the perfect facilities, the highest trained judges, and the most technical systems, but if no twirlers come, then we have nothing.
How do we get more people interested in teaching baton? How do we inspire older twirlers to “pass the baton” and transition into teaching? How do we equip teachers with the support needed to stick with it? So many wonderful coaches have pulled the plug on their programs and lost interest for valid reasons. In business they say it’s seven times more costly to find a new customer than to keep a current one. Let’s apply that same principle and work to keep our teachers and provide what they need to persevere!
If every member of USTA committed to starting one brand new baton class in their area just imagine where we would be.
Starting from scratch isn’t easy. Nowadays you can’t just put out a simple ad stating that you teach baton, instead you first have to educate the public on what baton is and why one would choose it instead of more popular choices like cheer leading, soccer or dance.
There’s many hurdles with getting started and sticking with it.
The growth and development department has a passion for keeping our sport alive and growing it. We seek to encourage teachers and equip them in all areas of growth.
Growth & Development Department
Need help starting up a twirling program in your area? The Growth & Development Department is dedicated to growing our sport, and it starts with teachers. We are here to support those making the transition from athlete to teacher as well as for those wanting to improve their twirling business. Don’t reinvent the wheel; we have a meeting of the minds to help each other grow and improve our twirling programs. We want to aide teachers in their journey. We are also looking for mentors willing to invest in the next generation of teachers. Together with all of our ideas we can work together to build up our sport!