Tough-talking competitive cheerleading coach Patty Ann Romero uses persistent yelling and no-nonsense tactics to successfully take her squads to the top of their sport -- and even a bleeding lip is no excuse to stop practice.
"I'm an extremely aggressive coach," Romero said. "When I see it's a split lip, which in this business is really nothing, I know when it's serious and I have to react in a certain way."
But when exactly does strict coaching cross the line?
While Sue Sylvester may have perfected the TV version of a brash cheerleading coach on the show "Glee," Romero is the real deal and she showcases her strict, traditional coaching on a new CMT reality show, "Cheer," which airs Fridays at 11 p.m. ET.
"At the end of the day, my kids know I love them," Romero said. "But when we step on this mat its business, I have a job to do and your parents are paying me for a service."
There are a lot of rules In Romero's gym in Kenilworth, N.J., such as no cell phones and no Facebook when the girls travel for competitions. The squad competes year-round and practices three days a week until as late as 9 o'clock at night.
"We're not allowed to have any contact with them whatsoever," said Lori Borino, a mother of one of the girls. "I have birth to the child and she can't say hi to me. She can't say hello to me -- I borned her. Even a prisoner gets a call."
These parents who pay more than $1,800 a year to have Romero coach their girls are even forbidden from watching the girls practice. Romero put up a thick curtain in front of the window to the gym's viewing area and has kept it closed. Some parents don't seem bothered by it.
"I'm not a coach and I wouldn't even know what to say to them," said Denise Thorne. "That's [Romero's] job and I'm paying all this money to have her coached right."
But others feel differently.
"I'm paying all this money and I want to occasionally see what I'm getting for this dwindling checkbook," Borino said. "Give me a little show-off night. Take a day or two out of the month [to] take the curtain down and let us admire this stellar staff you've hired."
But behind the curtain, Romero does not spare the squad from her sharp tongue and take-no-prisoners attitude, even when one of the girls falls and gets hurt, and her harsh talk sometimes brings them to tears.
"It's a lot of pressure, especially competition season," said 18-year-old Jackie Thorne. "Patty Ann has no patience. She wants what she wants when she wants it."
While Romero said she doesn't think she is hurting her girls' self-esteem by yelling at them, she said the way she used to coach years ago was worse.
"Years ago I was wreaking havoc," she said. "I didn't have a mentor, I didn't have someone to say, 'Patty, don't say that, you have to handle that differently.' So I truly learned from many mistakes. I choose my words carefully but my words are strong."
But Romero admitted that, even now, sometimes she thinks she is being a little too tough.