Check out the Cheerleader's Guide To A Successful School Year!

The most notable benefit of participating in school sports is the physical aspect. As part of the team, you'll being working out at practices or games at least 5 days a week, and maybe conditioning on the weekends. But isn't there more? Behind the smiles, outside of practices and beyond the pep rallies, what does it really mean to be a cheerleader for your school?

Making friends. One of the best parts about being on a sport team in school is making lifelong friends. Cheerleaders are responsible for inspiring school spirit, which often has a social aspect. In addition to getting the chance to bond with your team, you will also have the chance to meet other students and members of your community.

Meeting a Mentor. Whether it is your coach or an older teammate, many athletes will find themselves looking up to someone. This person can serve as a mentor not only for athletic issues, but also for life. This mentor can help you make some of the tough decisions that you may face during your time as a young athlete.

Being a Mentor. On the flip side of that, you will also find yourself as a mentor to younger, aspiring athletes in your community.

Scholarship Money for College. Most athletes are required to maintain a minimum GPA. Combine athletic talent and good grades and you may find yourself with a full ride scholarship to college.

Life Skills. You might be overlooking the fact that, as a student and athlete, you are learning valuable life skills every time you practice, compete and participate in fundraising activities. The teamwork, self discipline, time management and responsibility skills that you are learning and using every day as an athlete will be an asset when you are ready to go into the job field, have a family or solve a general conflict.

Health and Happiness. So we already know that being an athlete means you are more likely to be physically fit, but what about emotional health? Believe it or not, all that activity you are doing is actually making you healthier and happier! The physical demands of being an athlete help your body release endorphins and antibodies, helping you fight off sickness and depression and reduce stress.
Have any "˜hidden' benefits of your own to add? Post them in the comments section for our readers!