What You Need to Know About Cheerleading

Competitive versus Sport

For many years, cheerleading was not recognized as a sport. Today, teams around the nation are competing and cheering for home teams. After cheer was finally considered a sport, it evolved into various types of teams. There is competitive cheerleading, which involves competing against other cheer teams from nearby areas or across the country. Competitive cheer often requires a very high skill level in all areas of cheer; motions, jumps, stunting, and tumbling. These teams also dedicate many hours of practice and even lots of money toward uniforms, traveling, camps, and gyms. A less involved type of cheerleading would be for sport teams. Many sport teams cheer for a specific sport or multiple sports. These types of cheerleaders also put in hours of practice and hard work, but their efforts are shown to a crowd during a sporting event.

Importance of Fitness

Fitness is important for anyone participating in sports. In cheerleading, it is best to focus on three areas; flexibility, strength, and endurance. Flexibility is necessary when practicing and performing jumps. The more flexible a cheerleader is, the higher the jumps will be. Jumps are also easier to do when properly stretched. Strength is very important for every cheerleading skill. When stunting, it is easier to lift and hold flyers, while it also helps avoid injury. Endurance is also critical, although it is easy to overlook. Some stunts last longer than a few seconds, so each person in the stunt needs the endurance to perform it completely. Even a simple, 30 second routine requires lots of energy.

Variety of Skills

Cheerleading is not a sport for everyone, even if it may seem to appear that anyone can jump in and catch on. This sport requires a variety of skills, especially when it comes to jumps, stunting and tumbling. Even simple cheers and chants cannot be done without sharp motions and proper voice. Jumps require flexibility and practice, along with the right technique. Stunting can be a very dangerous part of cheer, so it is very necessary to be prepared and learn the correct form for each position. Tumbling, also very dangerous, can cause many injuries. It is important to learn simple techniques before attempting to tumble.

The Right Look

Appearance is very important for cheerleaders to be aware of. Simple things, such as jewelry, can cause injuries if left in while cheering. Hair is pulled back and away from the face to avoid blocking the cheerleader’s vision while they are performing. Good shoes and clothing are also important to help avoid small injuries.

Voice is an important part of cheer, especially when trying to communicate a message to the crowd or team. When cheering, the words should be loud but clear so that the message can be effective. Teams often practice cheering from the stomach, increasing the volume of the words.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice is crucial for any cheer team. This helps to remember cheers, improve jumps, and memorize routines. Even for stunting, a stunt cannot simply be done only once or twice. It must be done many times, so that each person is comfortable performing it. This avoids possible injury in case a stunt goes wrong while performing. Practice ensures an easier, better performance.

Motivation and Focus

While practicing with a team, motivation and focus will keep everyone on track and make sure no time is wasted. If everyone is committed to a task the team is working on, it will be done faster. A productive practice will benefit the team, as well as provide extra time to work on new things.

Positive Attitude

As simple as it seems, a positive attitude can go a long way. Some practices can be easier than others, so when the team feels exhausted or stressed, positive reinforcement can push everyone to work on their goal. It is easier to get things accomplished when everyone is in a positive mood.

The Challenges and Fears We Face

Cheerleaders can often face the challenge of a more difficult stunt when trying to increase the level of their abilities. Sometimes, it takes cheerleaders out of their comfort zone to face this fear. Stunts can require flyers to be thrown in different directions, while bases must catch from greater heights. Any stunt can seem scary at first, but can be done with the trust of teammates.

60 Second Routine = Hours of Practice

Cheerleaders often learn routines. For competitive cheerleaders, routines are often 2 minutes and 30 seconds. But, even a 60 second routine can take many hours to practice. Choreography must be taught and perfected, stunts must be practiced, and the entire routine must be run through multiple times. Even during these processes, many changes can occur, making the routine a little different. It takes time for a team to learn a routine and perfect it. Once performed, it might seem as though it is done effortlessly, but that is the secret of cheerleading. If the performance looks easy, it was done right.

Thanksgiving Party

You’re invited to join us Tuesday, November 26th at 1:00pm – 3:00pm for our Charlie Brown Style Thanksgiving Party! All we ask is that each participant bring a canned good donation or a $2.00 donation so that we can give back to those in our community that are in need this holiday season.

Are YOU Making 1 or More of these Mistakes?

Are you an all-star cheerleader or parent? Make sure you’re not guilty of one of the most common 10 pitfalls that could be holding you back!

1. DUCK OR GRANNY-STYLE BASING

What’s the one thing you’re most likely to hear from an Master Trainer? “No ducks or grannies stunting please!”. A duck or a granny refers to the shape your back makes when you’re stunting or tumbling. A ‘duck’ is when your backside sticks out, forming an in-curve in the small of your back, and a ‘granny’ is when you’re hunching forward. Duck or a granny-style stunting means you’re losing 50% of your true strength through bad technique, but also you’re tripling your risk of dropping your stunt or injuring yourself. So next time, keep your core STRONG, tuck your tail under, squeeze the shoulder blades in and think “I’m a tree! I’m a tree!!”

2. TRAINING FLEXIBILITY & STRENGTH BUT NOT SPEED & POWER

Yes, you need to be training your strength and you should be stretching EVERY DAY to improve flexibility: it’s a key point of sports science that explains that if you stretch every 2 days your flexibility may stay the same but if you want to improve, you have to do this DAILY to fight against your body’s stretch reflex.

BUT, just being obsessed with flexibility and strength to improve your cheer skills, is not helpful at all. For example in tumbling, jumps, baskets and flying skills, it’s not your strength or flexibility that will help, but your speed and power. This is determined by: how quickly you can get to your maximum flexibility point OR how far in your maximum flexibility can you get in one count. Ignoring speed & power is the fastest way to never progressing!

3. NOT READING EMAILS FROM YOUR COACH

Your coaches spend HOURS behind the scenes putting all of the information together for your season and competition schedule. Ignoring the emails and missing important information as an athlete or parent makes you one of “those” dreaded team members. Imagine a coach has to spend 10min chasing and explaining valuable information to EACH parent or athlete on the team, with 30 athletes. That’s FIVE HOURS per team. Ask yourself:

  • Could my coach’s time be better spent training / planning team training?
  • Is my lack of pro-activeness turning off the other parents / athletes / coaches?
  • As a coach, would I rather pick athletes / parents who are easy to work with?
  • Is my lack of taking responsibility affecting my progression on the team?

Remember that coaches don’t just pick athletes based on their skills, but on their ability to act as a member of the group: they’re much less likely to prioritise people who waste too much of their time!

4. “HIT & RUN” YOUR CHEER SKILLS

You finally got your back handspring, hurrah! You’re no longer landing on your head and your feet stay on the ground when you’re done. Congratulations! However, skills are not a “negative VS positive” scenario. It’s not “handspring VS no handspring” like an “empty VS full” or “day VS night”. Skills have a degree of execution, so you could be performing a handspring at 1/10 execution just like it’s 10/10 execution. Even though achieving perfection is not obtainable, chasing it is what makes you a great athlete. So if you have your back handspring, remember you still have a LOT of work to do so that your muscle memory remembers to do it correctly in a full out routine!

5. EATING TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE

‘Low Carb’ might be ok if you’re in a WeightWatchers group but not if you’re an athlete. Muscles need glycogen to keep going for long periods of time. They can either get it from carbohydrates or from breaking down the glycogen in the muscles themselves.. wasting away your muscles when you’re an athlete is definitely NOT a good idea. As an athlete, you need carbohydrates in your diet to train to your maximum ability, but before you go and stuff yourself with lasagna and doughnuts, you can watch this video explaining the basics of nutrition for cheerleading sports performance. Digestion takes a lot of energy, which conflicts with the energy required for your training. Plus, does it sound like a good idea to do flips in the air with a full stomach? Yes, you need energy for training, but make sure you’ve digested or ingested something light rather than packed yourself full before training.

6. BELIEVING IN “NO PAIN, NO GAIN”

A little soreness in sports is normal. Sharp pain or pushing through an injury is a stupid idea, in any sport. “The show must go on” and all that and we’re not saying you should sit down at the first sign of a bruise (good luck with getting through the season!). However wearing a badge of honor because “you’re doing it for the team” when really you should be in a cast or the pain is sharp is the worse thing you can do for your team. Be honest with yourself and your coach. Finding a replacement early on is much easier than finding one at the last moment when that injury just couldn’t handle one more tumble pass. PLUS, you might even give yourself a chance to return to cheerleading next season!

7. SKIPPING CONDITIONING

You would never expect a marathon runner to run a race without months of preparation, yet athletes expect to do exactly that. A skill is not only made up of motor skills (your body’s ability to understand and translate a movement into action) – it’s also based on your body capability of withstanding the speed, power, strength and flexibility that’s required for the skill. Asking your body to perform skills that it cannot do is like trying to build a house on moving sands, so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t stick!

8. GYM HOPPING

The grass always looks greener on the other side. Nothing is perfect, either. But when you join a gym you join a team, a family. By gym hopping you’re not only letting your team-mates and coaches down, but you risk getting a reputation as a hopper. This is not good news because news travels fast and some coaches may be reluctant to pick you at the next tryouts because of this. Ask yourself:

  • Am I leaving because I’m not gelling with the team or because I’m not getting my way?
  • Am I not getting my way because I’m not trying hard enough or because I’m expecting results to come too quickly?
  • Is this a good time to leave my team? Have I honoured my promise and commitment until the end of the season?

9. NOT USING YOUR LEGS ENOUGH

“But coach, I’m bending my legs!” – USING your legs is a whole different story than DIPPING your legs. If you’re not applying the same force against the ground and pushing off it, you can dip all you want but it’s not doing much. A dynamic dip and push-off against the floor (for basing, flying, tumbling or jumping) is one of the biggest weaknesses we see in cheerleading. Try drilling the INTENSITY exercises below to improve your dynamic dipping skills!

10. HAVING A FIXED MINDSET

Imagine you’re about to climb a mountain. Are you thinking: “What’s the quickest way to get to the top” or “Getting to the top will feel great after I’ve made the effort to climb it”. If your goal is to get to the result as quickly as possible, you see effort as temporary, you give up easily and you’re prone to mental blocks, if sounds like you may be suffering from having a fixed mindset. See the diagram below.

Egg Your Yard FUNdraiser

Thank you to all the families that supported our Easter FUNdraiser! We are so happy you all enjoyed it!

🧺We will be egging yards the evening of April 20th for a FUN Easter surprise for the whole family to wake up to. You can choose if your eggs are filled with candy, toys or a mixture of both!

Fill out the form below to join in on the EASTER Fun!

12 Days Of Deals

12 Days of Deals

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Black Friday Deals

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Second Chance Sign-Up Saturday

Join us THIS Saturday, November 17th 10am – 2pm for 2nd Chance Sign-Up Saturday!

If you missed our first open registration then NOW is your chance to come on down & register for a class or cheer team!

We can’t wait to see you there!

1935 E. Main St. Visalia, CA 93292