Whether you were a cheerleader for one year or all four years, graduating high school and leaving behind your squad is tough. Your teammates are your family; you’ve endured triumphs, losses, heartache, challenges, and successes with them. Whether you’re planning on saying goodbye to each team member individually or as a group, plan ahead. Think of a few special words to share. Talk about your time on the squad, what you learned, and advice or tips for younger members. Hopefully you’ve already started, but it’s never too late to start saving memories in the form of pictures or journal entries. Make a scrapbook of your time on the squad. You can take it with you if you move or go to college and look back on it whenever you’re feeling blue or nostalgic. If you had a disagreement or argument with a squad member, take the time to talk to her and clear the air before leaving. It will give you closure so you won’t later regret anything. You don’t want to leave with any bad memories or ill feelings. Leave on a positive note with nothing but good vibes! When you graduate and say goodbye, it can be difficult to avoid depression or feelings of sadness. First, remind yourself that change is inevitable. Just like when you first started cheering in high school, you were nervous about joining a new squad and starting at a new school. But things got better and, maybe even within weeks, you were well adjusted. Even though you’re heading off to college, it’s just like four years ago when you first started high school. It’s hard at first, but it gets easier. This may sound obvious, or easier said than done, but find happiness. You are in control of your attitude so think optimistically, see opportunity instead of misfortune, and think like a winner! A positive mindset results in a positive mind. Similarly, when you find yourself feeling blue, think of the happiest moments of your cheer years, not your worst. While you may think it will only make you miss your squad even more, it will actually help you smile and find happiness. Another great way to avoid depression is to stay in touch with your coach and former squad mates! Become pen pals or schedule a weekly or monthly Skype date where you can catch up and chat about what the team has been up to. You’ll feel part of the squad and it will make your transition to post-cheer life easier. For those that plan on cheering in college, don’t fall into the pit of comparison. It won’t do you any good to constantly compare your high school squad with your new college squad. Your teammates will be different, but they’re cheerleaders just like you. Just as you did four years ago, you’ll bond with your new team and make new memories. Are you a senior preparing for graduation? How are you handling goodbyes? What will you miss most about your squad?
Winning is fun and what we all strive for, but when it comes down to it, cheerleading is about the experience first and foremost. In 20 years, the memories and friendships will mean more to you than the trophies. The best way to ensure a good cheerleading experience is to banish negativity from your squad. Last month on the blog, we talked about ways to do this. Here’s what you need to know:
- When we think of bullying, a lot of us immediately think of kids getting pushed around on the playground or in the back of the school bus. While those things are real and happen way more than they should, bullying can also be emotional. Whether it’s physical or emotional though, it is still bullying and needs to be stopped. Emotional bullying can just be harder to see and handle. In fact, you might even be emotionally bullying someone without realizing it.
- Social media plays a major role in banishing negativity from your cheer squad. The Internet is a huge help with accessing information for schoolwork and staying in touch with friends and family, but it can also be a place where negativity spreads. The important thing to remember about the Internet, and especially social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, is that something you post in the moment can last forever.
- We all know bullying is bad and harmful, but one form of emotional bullying is still way too common on teams. Even close-knit cheer squads are susceptible to gossip, and it’s important to banish that kind of negativity from your team. Rumors and gossip can tear through your cheer squad and have a damaging effect on your season. Here are six ways gossip hurts your squad.
- You know banishing bullying of any kind from your team is vital. You can’t perform well, provide a good experience for your team, and just have an all-around good season with that kind of extra noise weighing you down. But how do you keep negativity from seeping into your team? Cheer coaches can banish bullying by following these four steps.
What steps do you and your squad take to ensure a positive cheerleading experience for everyone?
Would cheerleading still be cheerleading without the uniform? Probably, but
the cheer uniform is still an important part of a cheerleader’s look. While in the early days there was only one look, today there are countless uniform styles and designs. This leads us to our February poll topic – uniforms (and, specifically, the top).
We want to know what style of
uniform top your team wears. After you cast your vote, you’ll be able to see the results at the end of the month. Be sure to check our polls every month and cast your vote!
This poll is now closed. You can see the results here.
Your teammates know you better than anyone else. They not only see you at your very best and worst, but they are right there with you, being at their very best and worst. You win, lose, sweat, laugh, cry, scream, dance, and dream together. Most of all, you eat, sleep, and breathe cheer together. So basically, your cheer squad is your soul mate. Here are 10 reasons why:
- They like all the same things you do. Well, just the one thing really. What else is there?
- You are obsessed with the same things: cheer accessories! You all collect cheer bows and then discuss how to best organize and display them‚ VERY important conversations that non-soul mates would not understand.
- You speak the same language. No one else really makes sense.
- You enjoy
romantic walksamazing stunts on the beach. Is it technically a beach trip if you don‚Äôt snap a stunting pic? No, no it is not. Your soul mates know this. They understand.
- They don‚Äôt think you are crazy when you start stretching during every spare moment.
- They have the same schedule as you, and thus are really the only people you will be seeing or speaking with during peak cheer season anyway.
- They share your core beliefs.
- They always, always, always have your back. No matter what.
- They don‚Äôt get mad at you over stupid things.
- They love you the way only your cheer teammates can!
Are your teammates your soul mates? Tell us why in the comments!
- They like all the same things you do. Well, just the one thing really. What else is there?
One of the best things, we assume, about being a non-cheerleader is that when you’re sick you can actually stay home from school. You wouldn’t necessarily mind staying home and skipping school when you’re sick, but schools usually have a rule about not being able to attend practice if you weren’t at school. So while regular kids stay home and watch E! True Hollywood Story on DVR all day long, you sniffle your way through classes so you don’t miss practice.
We get it. You’re hardcore. If you have a few breathes in you, you’ll be out there. But that’s not always best for the team. If you have a bad cold, continuing to cheer is probably OK. You’ll just be kind of miserable due to not being able to breathe/talk normally, and you probably shouldn’t share water bottles with anyone. But there are times when you’re too sick to compete. Here’s a guide:
- You’re too weak to function. If you haven’t been able to keep food down for an extended period of time, like a couple days, you don’t have the energy to compete. Even with that competition adrenaline rush that will normally numb a sprained ankle, you can’t fight not having any energy whatsoever. Know what else you might not be able to do? Catch your flyer, land your jump, complete your back handspring, etc. That’s not really a risk you‚ or your team‚ wants to take. If you haven’t been able to eat in a couple days, take one for the team and sit this one out.
- You’re too nauseated. If you’ve been…you know, revisiting what you last ate pretty often, that might be OK. Plenty of people get sick from nerves right before or after their performance. However, if your stomach has been pretty active and you think there’s a good chance you might get sick during the performance, it’s probably a good idea to not put you or your team in that position. While your dedication would be admirable, the judges probably won’t be impressed.
- You’re contagious. Being on a team means sharing a lot of things, and colds are one of them. It’s unfortunate and annoying, but that’s just how it goes. (Of course, you can drink a lot of water, eat healthy, and get plenty of sleep to keep your defenses up.) While all getting the same cold is almost a tradition for any kind of team, there are some things you shouldn’t pass onto your teammates, like a severe flu, for example. Not only will a bad flu most likely meet the first two requirements for sitting out, but it will also not win you any teammate of the month awards. Be a good friend and stay home if you’re experiencing things you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
How do you decide if you’re too sick to cheer?(Images from Giphy)
Cheerleaders should work on and improve their flexibility all year. It’s the key to tumbling successfully and safely. If you’ve still got time off before school starts, you’ll have more spare time to stretch. However, even if you’re about to start school again, you can make time for basic stretches, whether it’s while doing homework or folding laundry.
We put together a list of a few of our favorite
stretches and exercises that focus on flexibility. As your schedule gets busier, try to continue working on these stretches, even if you can’t do them as often.
As simple as some may seem, they really benefit cheerleaders’ flexibility – the key to performing and cheering in your
team uniform on the sidelines or on the blue mat!
Front stretch: Sit in a pike position by putting your feet together, straight out in front of you without bending your knees. Keeping your back as straight as possible, slowly stretch forward reach towards your feet until you feel the stretch in your legs. Hold the stretch for a couple of seconds and then continue to reach toward your toes as your muscles release. Your goal should be to reach as far as you can until your upper body is essentially lying flat on your legs.
Elevated splits: This stretch is for the cheerleaders who have mastered their splits. Sit in a side split, put your arms up over your head and lean back. For more of a challenge, slightly elevate your back leg with rolled towel, blanket, or a pillow and repeat the process as your muscles release. This stretch is great for the scorpion or the arabesque. If you want to stretch for a bow and arrow or a heal stretch, you can do this stretch with the front leg elevated. Instead of leaning back, lean towards the elevated leg.
Hip flexor: Stand in an upright position with feet hip distance apart with your toes, knees and hips in a straight line. Take a big step forward with your right leg and bend it at the knee, so your thigh is parallel to the ground. Your left leg should be slightly bent and with your knee almost touching the ground. Lean forward so your elbows are touching the ground. If this is too hard, you can use your hands for stability as well. Your pelvis should be tilted back while pushing your hipbones forward until you feel a gentle stretch in that area. Hold as your muscles slowly release and switch legs.
Back bridge: Lay down on your back with your palms on the floor, above your shoulders and your knees bent. Straighten your arms and legs by pushing your hips and abs towards the ceiling while keeping your hands and feet in the same position. Once you are in the “bridge” position, straighten your knees and move your feet so you can comfortably have your toes and heels flat on the floor. Hold this stretch for a few moments and then return to the floor. Bring your knees up to your chest and place your hands on your shins. Gently roll up onto your butt and then back onto your back and shoulders. Repeat this a couple of times to release and relax your back muscles.
Butterfly stretch: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and the bottoms of your feet touching each other. While keeping the bottoms of your feet together, pull your heals towards you and push your knees down, towards the floor, until your muscles release.
Remember, when performing any of these stretches, it’s important to be
wearing the right practice wear. Stick to form-fitting shorts and shirts that allow you to stretch and move around in them, like Lycra or cotton. Don’t forget sports bras for support! For any of these stretches, you can either go barefoot, wear socks, or wear your
cheer shoes. Wearing your cheer shoes is great for when you’re still breaking them in or are getting used to moving around in them.
How do you work on your flexibility? Do you have a favorite stretch?
SPOILERS AHEAD: read at your own risk if you aren’t up-to-date on your television shows!
Fall means pumpkin spice lattes, comfy jeans with cute sweaters, and the start of a new season of TV shows! These are the returning shows we can’t wait to have back in our lives and some new shows we are eager to try out. (Be careful if you aren’t caught up on any of the seasons” ”
The Mindy Project
Mindy and Danny finally got together for real in the season two finale. We can’t wait to see how Morgan and the rest of the Shulman & Associates crew handle that.
Season 3 premiere: September 16 on Fox
Jess and Nick broke up. Schmidt is supposedly done chasing Cece. We doubt either of those things will last, but will we finally find out Schmidt’s first name in season four?
Season 4 premiere: September 16 on Fox
We hear that Rachel is returning to Lima to reinstate and lead the glee club for the show’s farewell season. We are sad the show is ending, but we are going to try not to let that keep us from enjoying the final season. The season 6 premiere isn’t until 2015, so our excitement has a couple months to build up!
Season 6 premiere: TBA on Fox
Girl Meets World
If you watched
Boy Meets World with your older siblings or cousins, you are probably already excited about the sequel,
Girl Meets World, which follows Cory and Topanga’s daughter, Riley. Many members of the original cast have roles or cameos.
Airs: Fridays at 8:30 pm on Disney Channel
Once Upon a Time
We left off with Belle and Rumplestiltskin getting hitched, and we are so excited to see Elsa from Frozen on the show for season 4!
Season 4 premiere: September 28 on ABC
Dancing with the Stars
This season’s stars include Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones, YouTube star Bethany Mota, Pretty Little Liars star Janel Parrish, Sadie Robertson from
Duck Dynasty, and Alfonso Ribiero (Carlton from
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air!). We are also excited to see Julianne Hough return to the show” “this time as a judge, although we’re not sure how she will handle judging her brother, Derek Hough, who is one of the professional dancers.
Season 19 premiere: September 15 on ABC
The Biggest Loser: Glory Days
Two new trainers will be introduced this season, joining returners Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince to whip contestants into shape. This season’s contestants are all former athletes, and we are especially excited to watch 18-year-old Blake Benge, who was a cheerleader in high school but has struggled to maintain a healthy lifestyle now that she isn’t in sports. Gina Haddon and Andrea Wilamowski are also former cheerleaders who want to get in shape to set healthy examples for their families.
Season 16 premiere: September 11 on NBC
A to Z
Here’s a synopsis of this new show straight from the its narrator: “Andrew and Zelda dated for eight months, three weeks, five days, and one hour. This television program is the comprehensive account of their relationship.” If that peaks your curiosity, NBC has
made the first episode available to view online before its TV premiere.
Series premiere: October 2 on NBC
We can’t wait to check out this Batman prequel. We also love this quote from the
preview: “However dark and scary the world might be right now, there will be light.”
Series premiere: September 22 on Fox
This show is based on the DC Comics crime-fighting superhero and is sure to be a favorite of any comic book fan.
Series premiere: October 7 on The CW
What shows will you be watching this season?
Fall is upon us, which means it’s that time of year when cheerleaders and coaches are thinking about preparations for the season ahead. To kick off team
bonding with the new squad‚ and to personalize your warmup uniform‚ plan a day for your team to get together and crochet team cheer bow headbands! This cute and cozy accessory is easy to make and fun for the whole squad.
This project takes one
skein to make. These are terms for different ways yarn is packaged, but they are roughly the same amount. If you go to your local craft store, any package of yarn will do. Be sure to get size 5, or bulky, yarn for this pattern. If you are new to crochet, I would recommend using a light or bright color yarn so that it’s easier to see your work.
This headband is a great project to
bring your team together and keep your ears warm on the sidelines as the fall season gets underway. Happy crocheting, cheerleaders!
Difficulty level: very easy
Time: under 2 hours
- Crochet hook, size J/10 (6 mm)
- Yarn needle
- 1 package of yarn, 5/bulky weight
I’m a visual learner myself, so if you find that you’re able to learn better from watching someone crochet rather than reading instructions, that is totally fair! You can find videos and step-by-step illustrations on websites for craft stores and brands. Here are a few resources for visual learners:
- Red Heart Yarn ‚ short videos for crochet basics
- Lion Brand Yarn ‚ short videos and step-by-step illustrations for crochet basics
1. Create a slipknot around your crochet hook and pull it snug. You should have a tail of about 3-5 inches of yarn on one end of the slipknot, and the yarn strand on the other side is attached to the ball. I’ll call these the “tail’ and the “yarn’ to keep it from being confusing.
2. Chain 9. Chains are the starting point of any crochet project. To chain, keep the tail off to the side and hold your work and the yarn in place. Dip your hook under the yarn and then twist the hook so it goes up and over the yarn. This is called yarning over. Catch the yarn under the hook and gently pull it through your slipknot, and you’ll have your first chain. As you make more, you’ll notice how the loops resemble chain links. Make sure that you pull the chains tight enough to hold their shape, but still a little loose to keep the headband stretchy.
3. Turn your work, which means you turn your work around so that the last chain you made is now your first chain.
For this project, we are going to be working with double crochets, which sound like they’re double trouble, but they’re not as intimidating as they sound. For double crochets, each stitch we make will be two chains tall. Pinch your chain gently between your fingers to hold it in place while you work. It helps to keep your fingers one or two chains below where you are crocheting. Use your other fingers to hold the yarn steady.
4. To make your first double crochet, yarn over, but instead of pulling the yarn through to make a chain, keep it on your hook. You should have two loops of yarn on your hook.
5. Insert your hook through the top two loops of the third chain. This term is a little tricky, because it actually means the third chain from your hook. Count backwards: the loop on your hook is zero, the chain next to your hook (the ninth chain you crocheted) is now your first chain, followed by your second and third chains. You want to insert your hook into what was originally your seventh chain.
When we start crocheting, the first two chains that we skipped will be pulled up to form the end of the row, kind of like a bookend. They’ll help to keep the height of our row of double crochets even.
6. Once your hook is through the third chain, use it to grab the yarn and pull it through the chain. You should now have three loops of yarn wrapped around your hook.
7. Yarn over again, and pull it through the first two loops on your hook. You should now have two loops on your hook. Yarn over one more time and pull it through the two remaining loops. You should now have one loop on your hook. Congratulations, you have completed your first double crochet!
From this point, it’s rinse and repeat. But since there’s a lot of bulky text up there, here is the simple version of how to double crochet: yarn over so that you have two loops on your hook and put your hook through the chain. Grab the yarn and pull it through so that you have three loops on your hook. Yarn over and pull it through the first two loops, then yarn over again and pull it through the next two loops. You will have one loop left.
8. Double crochet your way across the row. You will have seven double crochets when you finish. Chain 2 and turn your work. Notice that what you just crocheted forms a new row of chains along the top. Yarn over and double crochet into your first chain. The two extra chains at the beginning of the row work the same way the two skipped chains from Step 5 worked, to keep the row even.
9. We are crocheting our headband around instead of up, which makes it easier to customize for the size of each person’s head. Repeat Step 8 as many times as necessary. Be sure to count your double crochets so that there are 7 in each row. Test out the length by wrapping your work around your head as you go. Because yarn is soft and will stretch out more with wear, you do want it to fit snugly: the ends of your work should just barely meet around your head. Once you reach this point, it’s time to turn this long strip of double crochets into a headband.
10. Once you’ve made your final double crochet, keep your hook in that loop. Cut the yarn, leaving about 8 inches (like a new tail), and use your hook to draw this remaining yarn through the last loop. Remove your hook and tug the yarn tightly to close up your work. This is called fastening off.
If you accidentally start unraveling your work, don’t worry! Just put your hook back into the most recent chain, re-crochet your way to the end, and try again.
11. Take your yarn needle and use the leftover yarn to stitch the two ends together and make the wrap shape. It’s okay if the stitches are uneven or crooked‚ we’re going to cover them up in a minute‚ but make sure that the ends are tightly stitched together. Once it’s all been stitched, use the needle or your fingers to tie a knot in the yarn as one last fastener. Using your yarn needle, weave in the original tail as well (not the new one you used to make the seam). When you reach the end of the tail, make a knot and cut off the extra.
The headband part is complete, but to complete the cheer bow look, we need to make the ‘knot’. This part is nice and easy!
12. The side where you made your stitches is the inside of the headband. Turn your headband right-side-out. You should have 5-6 inches or so left of your second tail hanging down from the bottom of the seam you stitched. With your hand, pull the tail up through the headband and wrap it over to the front. Keep wrapping the tail up and over the seam and pull snugly. This will cinch the headband, giving it a bow-like appearance, and will also hide the seam. When you have a few inches left, loop the tail through the ‘knot’ on the inside of the headband where it’s hidden. Make a couple of knots, then use your needle to weave in the last of the yarn.
Your headband is complete! Now all that’s left is to test it out on the sidelines.
Let us see your cheer bow wraps in the comments
A mud run obstacle course? Sounds like fun! A mud run obstacle course that also acts as
a fundraiser for cheerleaders? Sign me up! Thanks to our friends,
Cheer News Network, we learned about an amazing fundraising program that you’ll definitely want to read about. Check out the press release below:
Nationwide Obstacle Mud Run Designed For Cheerleaders
New Nationwide Obstacle Mud Run Designed Specifically for Cheerleaders and Non-Profit Groups
Fun5KRuns LLC. has launched their new “Muddy Cheer Challenge” obstacle mud run designed specifically for All Star cheerleaders, high school cheerleaders, college cheerleaders and all non-profit groups looking for an easy way to fundraise.
Fun5KRuns’s mission is to host mud run events nationwide for the entire cheerleading world to enjoy along with their families and non-profit groups that are looking for a way to easily raise money while removing all the work and worry for these organizations. This type of fundraising company is the first of its kind in the cheerleading world. Cheerleaders are known to raise funds for their teams and gyms by selling cookie dough, candy bars, organized sleepovers, tumbling and cheer clinics. The founder of Fun5KRuns, Morgan Fairley, a former All Star cheerleader and coach said “Having firsthand knowledge, I know that cheerleaders are always looking for a new and fun way to raise money along with looking for new and exciting ways to promote team bonding. I came up with this concept of The Muddy Cheer Challenge. It is designed to unite gyms, promote team and gym bonding and to give back to the community all at the same time raise money for their teams.”
“We will be working with Brett Stewart, a NCCPT personal trainer, fitness coach, a triathlete and marathoner and author of several fitness books. He and his crew will be designing our obstacle courses with kids, families and everyday people in mind” said Fairley. “This will not be a timed race, but more of a fun mud party for all ages to enjoy. Our goal is to help these gyms, teams and organizations to have fun but also raise money at the same time. We want to put the fun into fundraising while removing all the work and worry. We think we have found a special niche in the business that is unique and innovating. Each group that signs up to be a host at one of our events will get a portion of their runner’s entry fee. The Muddy Cheer Challenge will also be making a donation to a local charity based off the profits of the entire run. Cheerleaders are known to give back to their community, so we are also encouraging non-profit groups, churches and schools to sign up as a host. We are “CHEERing” on the community to participate in this one of a kind event.”
“Our website and facebook page went public on August 20 with six scheduled runs in the southern region of the United Sates for 2014. The response and interest we had on our first day reinforced our belief that this will be a successful endeavor. We have had requests from all over the states to have an event be held in other locations. We are now re-evaluating and looking into doubling our events for 2014.”
The Cheer Challenge is open to all ages. Ages 12 and under are 50% of the adult’s fee and special needs athletes participate for free. Advanced registration is required and the earlier the registration, the more the groups make. Registration begins on January 1, 2014 for the 2014 runs. All participants will receive a Muddy Cheer Challenge T-shirt and a completion medal. There will also be games, music and food for the spectators. Spectators are asked to make a donation of dog or cat food or a pet item that will be donated to a local animal shelter.
For more information on being a host group, sponsor and event registration and schedule, please visit http://muddycheerchallenge.com/ or interact with us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MuddyCheerChallenge.
Thanks again to Cheer News Network for the scoop!
Watch for more ‘Meet The Models’ spotlights coming soon!
ALENA (model, athlete)
Tennis player and swimmer
What do you like to do in your spare time? Hang out with friends!
What is your favorite snack? Popcorn and iced tea.
Movie: Dolphin Tale
Book: Monster High
CASSIDY (dancer, beauty queen, model)
Former cheerleader, current dancer and reigning Miss Greater San Diego Teen USA
What position were you when you were a cheerleader? I was a flyer. I loved trying new stunts!
What are your “must-have” makeup bag items? Chapstick or lipgloss, powder and blush.
What are 3 songs on your iPod playlist right now? The One That Got Away by Katy Perry, Starry Eyed by Ellie Goulding and Countdown by Beyonce.
Store: Pac Sun
ALYSSA (student, athlete, model)
Loves the beach!
What do you like to do for fun? Play soccer, model and swim.
What is your favorite snack? Peanut butter cups.
Actress: Cameron Diaz
Store: Tilly’s and Nordstroms
ALEXANDRA (model, student, athlete)
Has been a vegetarian for 6 years
Who do you look up to? Selena Gomez. She remembers where she came from and keeps her morals.
Who are your top 3 style icons? Angelina Joile, Natalie Pormane and Jennifer Aniston.
Book: The Hunger Games
Movie: Finding Nemo
What advise do you have for our readers? Be yourself! It’s okay to be weird, and sometimes it makes people like you more!
ALEXIS (student, model, horseback rider)
Has been riding horses for 10 years!
What do you like to do in your spare time? Get together with my friends and ride horses!
What is your go-to snack when you have a sweet tooth? Butterfinger ice cream.
What advise do you have for our readers? Take opportunities, because they won’t always be available!