Cheer's Monica Aldama Continues to Coach Navarro Squad While Competing on DWTS
The Navarro College cheer squad is still training under Monica Aldama while she's off competing on Dancing with the Stars.
Opening up to PEOPLE about joining the cast of stars vying for the Mirrorball Trophy, the cheerleading coach, 47, reveals she is still keeping command virtually, with the help of her assistant coaches, Andy Cosferent and Kailee Peppers.
"I'm so lucky to be able to have both Kailee and Andy with this. I didn't know this was going to be a situation at the time," she says of DWTS.
"But I was still in Corsicana when the team got there, so I was able to have a practice with them before I left," she adds. "And then we've done some Zooms, and I get videos every single day of practice, check-ins and stuff. So, even though I'm not technically there, I still feel like I'm a part of the process."
Aldama adds that even though coaching virtually isn't quite the same, she has faith in her program, and her assistant coaches to fill in the cracks caused by her absence.
"Our program has a lot of structure to it, it's like a well-oiled machine. So even though I'm not there, I feel like it's going to run really smoothly," she tells PEOPLE. "They know exactly how I would run things, and what we've done in the past. So, yeah, I feel good about the season. I'm excited to see what they're working on every day and give my input. We're making it work."
According to Aldama, the Texas school decided to resume in-person classes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has required the team to undergo extra precautions when training.
"We're doing some things a little differently. The first two weeks we did two groups and little pods, and just try to get into it easy," she explains. "And then of course we have lots of screening, and temperature checks, and all of that, that we stay on top of every single day."
"We just have an attitude of gratitude right now, just grateful to even be together, regardless of if we have to go through extra steps to get to the gym or whatever," Aldama adds. "We are just staying very positive and hopeful."
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The pandemic has also encouraged Aldama to focus on her own general health and wellness, as the cheer coach recently partnered with Robitussin and their new launch of natural products, in hopes that she can inspire others to do the same.
"I've used Robitussin for as long as I can remember. I have two children of my own, so it's always a staple at my house. And I'm really excited about the natural products that they're now putting out, because as I'm getting older, I've really started focusing on my health and using a lot of natural supplements," says Aldama.
Staying healthy right now is particularly important for Aldama as she gears up for the rest of the DWTS season.
During the show's premiere last week, she received one of the highest scores of the night with a 19 out of 30. Still, being the competitor that she is, Aldama wasn't pleased.
"Well, I'm tough on myself, so I was really disappointed that Carrie Ann Inaba gave me a deduction," she says. "We train for no deductions like crazy in cheerleading. So for me to get a deduction was, 'Oh man, I'm sure my kids are just going to tear me up about that.' "
"But my toe was on the ground. I really was squeezing," Aldama adds. "But I'm sure it came off the ground and she saw that. So yeah, I was a little bit disappointed that she gave me a deduction for that."
That disappointment is just fuel for the fire, as Aldama prepares to "wow" the judges next week with her jive.
"I've just got to work on the technique so that I can try to hit those technical points with them, and of course, performance. And we'll see if that'll raise my scores a little bit," she says.
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