Thinking about the end of your winter break is no fun, but, on the bright side, you have new classes to look forward to when you get back! Even if your classes won’t change when you go back to school in January, this break will have been like hitting the reset button. You’ll be rested, refreshed, and ready to go! Follow these four tips to help you get back in the swing of things and adjust to a new year and new classes. Get organized. You probably have papers strewn around aimlessly in folders and binders or crumpled in the back of your locker or the bottom of your backpack. Clean them up and sort them out. Then get a system in place to keep your stuff together throughout the next semester. Either reassign old folders and binders or get new ones, label them, and make sure you use them! Taking the extra second to put your papers into the right folder will make your life easier further into the school year. Know your schedule. Whether you use a planner or a phone app, write down your classes, assignments, and tests, as well as other commitments, like cheer practice, games, and competitions. This will help you prioritize your time and keep track of all your activities. That way when you have a big test the morning after a cheer competition, you’ll see that in advance and know to study earlier in the week. This will minimize stress and help you succeed in both cheer and school. Pay attention. The more you listen and comprehend the material in class, the less time you will have to spend studying for exams later. A quick run through your notes may be all it takes to prepare you, as opposed to hours of studying and learning things you missed the first time. Ask for help. You aren’t expected to be a whiz at every subject. If a subject is difficult for you, don’t hesitate to ask the teacher to further explain something to you or see if a friend can study with you. What helps you adjust to new classes?
From the top of your legs, down to your ankles, we’ve made a list of the basics you need to get the leg-up on conditioning. Keep in mind with all of the exercises on the list: as you progress or just need more of a challenge, choose two dumbbells that you would consider a challenging weight and hold them at your side during the entire execution of the work outs. Remember that you will be holding these weights during the entire exercise, so make sure you will be within comfortable limits for your body. This resistance will provide great results and revamp the work out.
- Lunges: Stand in an upright position with feet hip distance apart with your toes, knees and hips in a straight line. Pull your belly button towards your spine and contract your abdominal muscles. Place your right leg a step ahead and bend your right knee. Remember to keep your back straight while you lower your body until your left knee touches the ground. Finally bring your legs together and repeat the exercise by alternating legs.
- Squats: Stand in an upright position with feet hip distance apart with your toes, knees and hips in a straight line. Pull your belly button towards your spine and contract your abdominal muscles. Slowly lower your body until your butt is in line with your knees (knees at 90 degree angles). If you can’t go down that low, go as low as you can. You might also find it helpful to extend your arms straight out in front of your for balance. As you are lowing, make sure your knees are behind your toes. While keeping your weight in your heels, slowly push your body back to starting position. Make sure to not lock your knees when you reach the top of the starting position. Perform in repetitions and increase the repetitions gradually as your body adapts to the exercise.
- Walking Lunges: Stand up straight with your shoulders back and down and place your feet together. Pull your belly button towards your spine and contract your abdominal muscles. You have the option of keeping your arms flat at your side, holding your hips or behind your head. Take a step forward with your right foot and bend both knees. Your front knee needs to be aligned over your ankle and the back knee should come close to the floor with back heel lifted off the floor. Before your back left knee touches the floor, push up with your left leg. Force your body weight through your right heel while bringing your left foot together with your right foot. Alternate legs without stopping and lunge forward with your left foot. Remember when bending knees, your left knee is aligned with your ankle and your right knee should come inches to the floor with the back heel lifted off the floor. Start with a shorter walking distance, then slowly progress further in distance as your body becomes more acclimated to the exercise.
- Calf Raises: Stand in an upright position and keeping your body straight, rise up on your toes onto your heels. Then lower yourself back down until your feet are flat. The key to success in this exercise is to execute it slowly. Perform in repetitions and increase the repetitions gradually as your body adapts to the exercise.
Remember to do an appropriate warm up and stretch before before executing any of these exercises a light stretch afterwards to prevent soreness.
Get all the prom tips from Cheerleading Blog by
downloading the free Cheerleading Guide To Planning The Perfect Prom!
Prom is just a few weeks away, and whether it’s your first or last time attending, the key to a fairy tale evening is in the planning. I may be lacking the official Fairy Godmother title, and that all-important wand, but that doesn’t mean I can’t help you make a truly magical memory!
As a member of the
cheerleading community, you understand all the details that go into your performance look. Perfecting a beauty plan for prom is no exception to details, but don’t forget to adjust your goals from performance-ready to prom-ready. Here are prom’s worst red carpet fails, and the winning ways to avoid them.
Fail: Thinking that your stylist is psychic, or has the same taste as you, and ending up sporting a beehive at prom.
Winning: Showing your hairstylist pictures of looks you do
and don’t like.
Fail: Messing up your picture perfect hair trying to put your
hair bling in yourself.
Winning: Bringing your hair bling for your stylist to use when placing each hair perfectly.
Fail: Glowing like a radioactive fruit with dew streaks, rocking the lobster look or leaving a skin-crumb trail behind you.
Winning: Coloring inside the lines by remembering to exfoliate before and moisturize after tanning, and not abusing bronzers.
Prom queen tip: Resist the urge to tan the day of prom. You skin will need at least a day to calm the redness and to lose that tanning bed smell.
Fail: Tempting your skin to react with breakouts, blemishes or blotches by using new makeup or skin care products.
Winning: Sticking to what you know to keep your skin’s appearance balanced and calm.
Fail: Irritating or peeling off the sensitive skin around your eyes as a result of your at-home-hair-removal attempt.
Winning: Knowing when to take your beauty needs to a professional that is armed with training, and a magnifying glass.
Prom queen tip: Schedule your eyebrow waxing session for at least one day before prom. Try going immediately after a hot shower, since the steam will open your hair follicles.
Fail: Getting overshadowed by shiny prom decorations because your look and makeup are bland.
Winning: Customizing your look with bold accessories, colors and
Fail: Underestimating your nail polish’s commitment to its evil plot to chip.
Winning: Overcoming your nail polish’s evil plot to chip by allowing plenty of time for your polish to dry, then letting it dry for an additional 5 or 10 minutes.
Prom queen tip: Dig out your wallet and pay for your manicure before the polish goes on your nails.
Fail: Sitting out during the Cha Cha Slide because you didn’t hydrate before your massage and now your muscles are sore.
Winning: Protecting your muscles and immune system by hydrating, hydrating, hydrating before and after a massage, the same way you prepare your body for a performance.
Prom queen tip: If you are wearing new shoes, spend some time breaking them in around your house before the big night.
See you next week when I break down what to expect when the big day arrives!
Have your own fail-proof plan to winning prom beauty? Speak up below!
Cheerleaders and pom-poms go together like milk and cookies. This is pretty much a scientifically-proven fact. Poms are bright and fun, just like the cheerleaders who use them, so they should be as much a staple of competition routines as they are for sideline cheers. Here are five ways to incorporate poms seamlessly into a competition routine.
1. Spell Your Team Name.
This move requires practice, but looks amazing once the squad gets it down. Spell out a school abbreviation (such as “MHS “) or mascot using your poms. Have half of the squad kneel in a row while the other half stands behind them. The front row handles the bottom half of the letters while the back row handles the top. To spell out your letters, everyone should put their arms straight out wherever they need to be to form a giant letter in front of the squad. This may mean a few diagonal arms or squishing closer together to get the letters looking just right.
In a cheer, this can be slowed down a bit, with everyone shaking their poms at each letter for effect; it also works well with the “Give me a (letter) ” sideline cheer to get the crowd going, so you’ll be able to practice a lot. You can also time it to your music, but be wary not to make the timing too fast or it may be difficult to form readable letters. If your poms are a stark contrast to your uniforms, your letters will jump out even more. This move works best with small poms that will make crisper lines, rather than fluffy poms that may overlap.
In a line across the mat or in clusters, create a pom-pom wave by having every cheerleader strike a motion in quick succession. Doing a traditional “wave ” with a fluid rise and fall of arms is fun as well‚ so long as you keep it clean. Poms draw the eye to your hands, so if the squad performs an extended motion across the mat, it creates an appealing sense of movement and grandeur. This move relies on speed and works best choreographed to music.
3. Flyer or Tumbler Poms.Much like holding up signs, cardboard letters, etc., flyers can hold up poms for a little extra pop in stunts. This looks especially nice when incorporated into cheers where fliers can perform motions. If some of your squad is not part of the stunt group and is transitioning to their next positions, the added attractiveness of poms will hold more of the audience’s attention, giving other cheerleaders some flexibility in getting to their spots.
Some cheerleaders can tumble while holding poms, but where free hands are optimum for this part of routines, it’s certainly not expected. It can mess up hand placement or hurt the hands, so put safety first. Poms look best with simple tumbling. If your squad has fewer tumblers or less tumbling skills overall, consider including poms to pump it up. Have four or five cheerleaders with poms line up in a single-file row, and either cartwheel or do a standing roundoff at the same time or in quick succession. The arc of the poms will add appeal to simple stunting and create a greater sense of motion. Have a strong tumbler perform a complicated pass down the center of the “aisle’ the pom tumblers create; even without tucks and layouts, the pom tumblers have the ability to make the tumbling section that much more unique and fun to watch.
While stunt groups or pyramids are going up in the background, have cheerleaders in front performing motions or dancing with poms. This gives the routine levels while keeping both parts interesting. A stunt in the background with motions or dance in the front looks fine, but the poms separate the non-stunting cheerleaders and give them an element of interest to keep spectators and judges watching them as well as the flyers appearing in the sky behind them.
When you’re ready to move into a new, pom-less part of your routine, what do you do with the poms? Toss “em! When transitioning from one section to the next, such as going from cheer to dance, make removing your props part of the routine. Toss your poms off the mat when you swing your arms back running into a tumbling pass, or have flyers drop their poms to spots to move out of the way while flyers come down from their stunts.
If you’ve incorporated poms into the last part of your routine, consider throwing them up in the air or out towards the crowd as your finishing move. Think of it like graduates throwing their caps in the air. Be careful not to hit other squads, judges, or spectators (which is why throwing upwards and slightly forward is best). For added impact, have the last sound effect in your music be something fun, like a firework explosion.
Poms must be included in competition routines carefully. Stepping on them costs points from the judges, and if not enough practice goes into their use, they can draw attention to sloppy motions or missed timing. However, poms have great payoff in presentation and an added pop of excitement in routines. Many squads don’t include poms on the mat, which is a real shame, but it only makes the squad that does use poms stand out more.
How do you use your poms? Tell us your spirit tips in the comments below!
There are diets and healthy eating regimens and then there are eating disorders. The two are very different from each other and both are common amongst adolescent adults, particularly females. As a teammate and friend, know the differences between the two and what to do if you believe someone may have an eating disorder.
What defines a diet?
Before you can identify unhealthy eating, you have to know the differences between a diet and an eating disorder. Many athletes, even in high school, are on a diet. A diet doesn’t always mean the goal is to lose weight; a diet can also refer to an
eating regimen. For example, a diet can be eating lean proteins and cutting out sweets or greasy foods. In school, this is the only type of diet an athlete should be on. A cheerleader’s goal shouldn’t be losing weight just to become skinner; the goal is to be healthy and fit. Remember, muscle is weight and
cheerleaders need muscles to perform safely and powerfully!
What’s an eating disorder?
An eating disorder is harmful to one’s body. An eating disorder can either involve eating too little or eating too much. The entire goal of an eating disorder isn’t necessarily to become skinny (although that is common, especially among adolescents). Someone may fall prey to an eating disorder because of stress or because she isn’t feeling in control of her life. The two common forms of eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia.
Anorexia can be easier to identify than bulimia. Anorexia is when someone eats little to no food; it is essentially starvation. Bulimia is when someone self-induces vomiting or takes laxatives. They may be eating a normal amount of food around friends and family but then purge when in the bathroom alone. Those with eating disorders also often exercise frequently and constantly worry about their weight.
How else can I identify an eating disorder?
If you don’t always eat with a friend or see what she does after lunch, it’s hard to notice someone’s eating habits. When someone is suffering from an eating disorder, he/she may lie to cover it up. At lunch she may tell you that she already ate, that she had a big breakfast, or that she’s feeling sick and doesn’t want to eat. Or, if she has bulimia, she may eat a healthy portion but go to the restroom to purge once you’ve left.
There are other ways to know if your friend is in need of help. First, as mentioned before, eating disorders are often brought on by stress or lack of control. If a friend seems overly stressed, upset, or emotional, talk with him/her. While it’s not an automatic sign of an eating disorder, he/she could be having a lot of trouble in general and needs someone to talk to.
Another sign is significant weight loss, hair loss, and a thinner face. If her clothes seem suddenly baggy or she’s much lighter to lift
at practice, she may have an eating disorder.
How do I handle a situation like this?
First of all, never jump to conclusions. Weight loss or stress isn’t an automatic sign of an eating disorder. First of all, athletes so hard and so often that they can easily forget to take the time to eat a whole meal. (However, if this is the case, a parent or coach may still want to talk to her
about nutrition, as a healthy weight is crucial as an athlete). Second of all, cheerleaders in general face a lot of stress and everyone handles it differently.
If you do believe your friend has an eating disorder, don’t ignore it or assume it’s not a big deal. Whether he/she realizes or not, an eating disorder is a cry for help and is seriously dangerous. People can ruin their bodies and even die from eating disorders. You can save her life by getting help.
When you help her, don’t bombard her with criticism or angry tirades about how bad an eating disorder is. She probably knows that already and even if she doesn’t, she won’t respond positively to negativity. You should first reach out to a coach or parent (either your parents or the friend’s parents). You should always get an adult involved. The friend’s parents deserve to know what’s going on so they can help. Depending on the extent or severity of the eating disorder, she may have to seek treatment, see a doctor, or take time off from school.
If you decide to approach your friend with the coach and/or parents, keep the atmosphere comforting and safe. Your friend is going through something very tough and needs to feel loved by her friends and family. An intervention only works when the person feels safe.
- There is a big different between a diet and an eating disorder
- A cheerleader’s focus should always be on health, not weight. Everyone’s body is different!
- Eating disorders are serious and should never be taken lightly.
- Eating disorders aren’t always about losing weight.
- Never assume someone has an eating disorder.
- Always get help for a friend who is suffering from an eating disorder.
- Focus on helping a friend, not criticizing or lecturing her.
- Males are also victims of eating disorders and shouldn’t be overlooked.
For more information about eating disorders, visit the
National Eating Disorders Association.
Competition season is right around the corner! You are going to need
accessories, and a uniform that makes your team stand out. A good competition uniform turns heads and makes your squad feel confident and united, but it also has to be comfortable and flexible so you can perform all out. These uniforms will do all the above:
- Sublimated Uniforms
The sublimation trend is really popular right now, and it’s easy to see why. The uniforms look great, are affordable, and won’t wear out. Sublimated uniforms last because the design is infused directly into the fabric using heat. It is not attached to the uniform, like embroidery or tackle twill, so it won’t crack, peel, or fade.
- Showtime Cheerleading Uniforms
The Showtime line from Chasse offers a stretch metallic cheer uniform with a wrap-around design. We love the metallic accent color!
- Trophy Metallic Cheerleading Uniforms
With the Trophy line, Chasse gives you lots of options to create the competition look your team is shooting for, from crop tops and long sleeves to shorts and skirts. We love that the uniforms are performance-ready with stretch material and C-Dri moisture-management fabric.
- Double-knit Cheerleading Uniforms
Many high school teams stick with the classic double-knit uniforms for competitions. The Metallic Cheerleading Uniform from Soffe is our pick for competitions because it puts a modern spin on the traditional look with metallic taping.
What is your favorite competition uniform trend?
There are those who do and those who teach; but cheer coaches and captains do both! Your squad is only as good as your cheers so it’s important to take the time to create creative and fun ones that you can recycle for another season. As football season approaches, now is the time to teach cheers and chants for games and pep rallies so your squad performs as great as your
team uniforms look!
When preparing to teach your cheers, keep in mind that everyone learns at a difference pace. Some catch on right away while others need the moves to be repeated a few more times. If some of your cheerleaders aren’t learning the routine quickly, don’t assume it’s because you’re a bad teacher or they’re bad cheerleaders. Give yourself time to teach and your squad time to learn.
Cheers and chants are an important part of a cheer squad’s season so they shouldn’t be rushed.
A great way to be able to teach
and help individuals along the way is to have an assistant coach or captain teach the routine while the coach walks around and watches out for anyone making a mistake or looking confused. Or, have the coach teach the routine and the assistant coach or captain help anyone struggling. It’s best if any mistakes or confusions are caught early and corrected.
Rather than teach an entire routine at once, try teaching in small segments. Start with two or three 8-count sets of routines and repeat until everyone memorizes those segments. Then, continue with the next few sets. After a new set is taught, repeat from the very beginning so the first sections aren’t forgotten.
When teaching a more difficult or long routine,
keep the spirits of everyone up during practice! When a practice session becomes too serious, people are more likely to stress out or get frustrated. Keep the mood light and fun. Compliment girls who are doing well and encourage others to keep smiling. It’s easier to teach and learn a routine when everyone is having fun.
Teaching a routine doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating. If you ever hit a roadblock and are having trouble completing a routine, turn to your squad for help! Your cheerleaders, assistant, and captain may have some fresh ideas that you never thought of doing. By collaborating, it’ll be easier to teach the routine!
However you choose to teach, make sure your squad wears
the right practice wear. By wearing comfortable and breathable tops and shorts, they’ll have an easier time moving.
Lycra tanks and shorts are particularly great options because they conform to the body’s shape. This will make it easier to spot any small but critical mistakes, like wrong hip placement.
What are your tips for teaching cheers or routines? What works best with your squad?
There’s no doubt that when you become a cheerleader, you aren’t just taking on a sport. You are taking on a family, a lifestyle and a dream. Cheerleading is one of the most time-consuming, and rewarding, commitments an athlete, coach and family will ever make.
The experience is worth every single second, but it also lends itself to a lot of questions. That’s why our team started the Cheerleading Blog. We built a network of experts that the cheer community can turn to; a team of athletes, parents, supporters, coaches, mentors and teachers.
Since we started, we have been opening discussions and offering advice for both the serious and spirited sides of cheer. Looking through all of our articles as the blog’s five-year anniversary approached, we were overwhelmed by all the information we had collected and shared over the years.
That’s when it hit us: we needed to find a way to update the most informative, inspiring, and just plain fun articles with new perspectives and fresh advice. So, we’ve been working on a top secret project and we’re excited to say that we can finally share it with you.
We are releasing our very own free print magazine called CheerLiving!
partnered with Chasse and some other really amazing industry leaders to create CheerLiving – a reimagined way to reach out to our readers and cover the most relevant issues for today’s cheer community.
Our exciting first issue is being released now through limited distribution with our partnership with Chasse. The full, free, digital version is available online now through subscription.
Sign up now and get instant access to the entire issue!
Our first issue centers on what’s happening in cheer now. As one season ends, a new one begins and brings opportunities for new bonds, new skills and new gear! We celebrate everything new with activities for teambuilding, tips for
ordering uniforms, and guidelines for the football season.
Our cover girl is none other than Maddie Gardner. Maddie might be the busiest cheerleader out there. Between college classes and cheerleading, hosting a cheer show, and
being the face of a cheer company, Maddie truly is full out, full time; incorporating cheer into every aspect of her life. In this issue, she uses her own experiences to help our readers balance life, cheer, and school.
We’re still Cheerleading Blog and we will continue to do what we always do: provide the most up-to-date news, information, and advice on everything cheer. Our goal with CheerLiving is simple: to help you reach your goals. Be sure to send us your questions, comments and feedback. We’re happy to share your stories, tips, and advice, and we love to hear about how your team celebrates the whole season – from tryouts to senior send-offs and all the fundraising, pep rallies, and competitions in between.
You can subscribe to receive the magazine or find out more information at
Every year, usually in May or June, students of all school levels
prepare for graduation. For high school and college, graduation is a big deal and includes many forms of celebrations and traditions. In anticipation of the graduation season, here’s a look at some of the major graduation traditions:
The Pomp and Circumstance Song
We’re all very aware of what most call “the graduation song.” The song was written in 1901 by Sir Edward Elgar. It’s known as the Pom and Circumstance and first played at a graduation ceremony in 1905 at Yale . Other schools quickly picked it up and it spread throughout the United States. In a matter of no time, the song was being played at nearly every school for graduation. Today, it is still widely used at graduations and other ceremonies.
The Cap and Gown
At both the high school and college level, students wear a traditional long gown and cap in their school colors (or just black). The graduation gown has been around for nearly forever, dating as far back as the 12th century, with academic scholars at schools wearing them as a way to show their status.
Oak Hall Cap & Gown explains, “In 1321, the of Columbia mandated that all Doctors, Bachelors, and Licentiates must wear gowns. In the latter half of the 14th century, excess in apparel was forbidden in some colleges and prescribed wearing a long gown.” It wasn’t until the late 1800s that schools began introducing different colors of gowns. The cap dates back to the 14th century as a way to signify superiority and intelligence.
Many schools and various stationary companies offer students the opportunity to buy fancy invitations that the student then sends out to family and friends, inviting them formally to the graduation. Sadly, this is all just rooted in the gift-giving tradition. Good etiquette basically states that if you receive a formal invitation to an event, you should probably give the host or celebrated individual a gift.
Tossing Your Cap in the Air
This tradition is all thanks to the Naval Academy.
CNY News explains, “Prior to the graduation of 1912, graduates of the academy were required to serve two years in the fleet as midshipmen before being commissioned as Navy officers, therefore they still needed their hats. The class of 1912 was commissioned from the time of graduation and received their officers hats, thus their hats were no longer needed, leaving the graduates free to toss their caps into the air and not worry about getting them back. The tradition then caught on at other institutions throughout the country. Now the action is regarded as a symbolic gesture of the end of a chapter in a graduate’s life.”
Moving the Cap Tassel
This act has only been around for fifty years or so, but it’s very much a tradition. Traditionally, before receiving your diploma and officially graduating, you keep your tassel on the right side of your cap. Once you graduate, you move it to the left. This signifies your shift from student to graduate. As for how it exactly started, no one is exactly sure!
You did it! You had a goal of making a cheer team, and you made it happen! You might have always wanted to be a cheerleader, or perhaps it just dawned on you one day that cheering is something that you have to go for; either way, you buckled down, put in the effort to get fit for tryouts, and totally nailed it. Well done!
However, as you head to your first practices, you will be experiencing some mixed feelings. Don’t stress‚ every new cheerleader goes through the same mental anguish. In fact, it’s so common, that we decided to pair GIFs to it.
Confession #1: Newbie Insecurity
It hits you the minute you show up to your first practice: “oh no, these people are gooooooooood. ” You know that you are up for the challenge to become a great cheerleader, but how can you possibly measure up to your teammates who have been doing this since Pee Wee? Sure, learning cheerleading doesn’t happen overnight, but you realize that you have to really step up to learn faster than the average bear. Pressure’s on!
Confession #2: The Flexibility Freakout
Part of being blown away by your new squad is not understanding the physics behind their innate flexibility. Again, you have to keep in mind the cheerleaders on your squad probably have been doing this for as long as they can remember, so their flexibility is pretty standard. Believe it or not, you’ll be that flexible some day too! But, for now, you’re going to catch yourself from time to time staring and slightly confused with what your team can do with their limbs.
Confession #3: Counting Is Harder Than You Remember
You think of yourself as an intermediate dancer, and you successfully mastered a dance routine to get you through tryouts and on the team. But, what is this 5,6,7,8, and 1 nonsense? Ending on “1′?!? And, doing motions that seem contradictory to the count, yet everyone else is getting it? What is happening?? Calm down, you’ll start hearing this new count in your sleep, but in the meantime, hang in there as best you can.
Confession #4: Keeping Your Imagination in Check
Once you’re immersed in the cheer world, you will find yourself thinking of more and more things to improve your routine. What if you do this… or chant like that?!? All these creative ideas are going to whirl through your brain at a million miles a minute, adding to the overall excitement of finally being a cheerleader. This is great, because that means you’re starting to eat, sleep, and breathe cheerleading! This isn’t so great for your coach, however, since they already have their ideas for the season. Don’t get discouraged that your ideas don’t matter! Write them down and come back to them when they apply. That way, your coach won’t be mad that you threw a wrench in their plans and you get the bonus of contributing to the next routine. Everyone wins!
Confession #5: The Question of Quitting
You are sticking it out, but it all seems so overwhelming. It crosses your mind that just as easily as you began, you can bail. Right when you’re ready to throw in the towel for good, you come to find that you’re actually making progress! And, your whole team is behind you! OK, maybe you can’t quit after all. You’ve got this! If you remember to maintain the same confidence that you had at tryouts, you can truly accomplish anything!
What are more confessions of new cheerleaders? What was your experience when you first joined a team? Share your story in the comments!