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! [Source: Giphy] 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 [Source: Giphy] 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 [Source: Giphy] 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 [Source: Giphy] 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 [Source: Giphy] 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 [Source: Giphy] 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!
The month of October commemorates the survivors and patients afflicted with breast cancer, and it’s a tradition for sports team to show their support! Wearing pink during this time not only shows that you’re aware as an athlete, but also that you are playing an active role in the fight against this deadly disease! Since October falls smack dab in the middle of football season, players usually add some pink flair to their gear in the form of pink helmets, socks, or jerseys. But, as cheerleaders, it’s easy to kick that color scheme up a notch on the sidelines! By adding pink to your uniform, you encourage the fans in the stands to do the same. Why not have a pink-themed Friday Night Lights for a home game? That way, everyone gets involved! Whatever your squad decides to do, one thing is for certain: you’re going to have to coordinate some pink cheer gear into the mix. Plus, most cheer retailers donate a percentage of what you buy to breast cancer charities! Here are some ideas to think pink this October.
Pink poms. Lend a helping hand to raise breast cancer awareness by literally putting it in your palms‚ pink poms, that is! For schools with colors that don’t really cater to pink, poms are a great way to add in awareness without disrupting your uniform’s flow. And, a lot of in-stock cheer retailers make all kinds of pink poms, knowing that it is a great option for October! Anything metallic and glittery will capture your audience’s attention during both day and night games.
Chasse Crystal Holographic Pom
Knee-high pink cheer socks. Hey, if the football team is doing it, why not match?? With all the kicks, tucks, and tumbles that your team does down the sidelines, knee-high socks will catch the crowd’s eyes as you cheer your heart out.
Chasse Cheer for the Cause Knee-High Sock
Pink hair bows. This one is another simple and affordable way for incorporating pink onto your team. Jumbo performance hair bows are the staple of any cheer squad, and there’s always a pink color option for every style. Whether you opt for sequins, patterns, glitter, or rhinestones, there’s a pink bow out there for your team! And, if you really want to promote pink pride, brands like Chasse offer Cheer for the Cause products that have pink ribbons on them, like this bow:
Chasse Cheer for the Cause Hair Bow
Pink warmups. In case pink really clashes with your school colors, rock pink as a pre and post-game effort through pink warmups! October is right around the time the weather dips into cooler temperatures anyway, so warmups with pink stripes or sections will not only show awareness for breast cancer in October, but keep your cheerleaders warm all through the winter.
Chasse Performance Metallic VIP Jacket
Pink shoelaces. Cheer shoes are conveniently white, so wearing laces with color will really pop! For teams on a shoestring budget, pink shoelaces is the most inexpensive way to show support in October, not to mention an easy solution to add pink to any coed squad!
Chasse Pink and Silver Shoelaces
Pink raingear. Like we said before, October is when temperatures drop and weather happens. Although cheering in the rain at a game is never fun, you can make it better with breast cancer awareness-themed products, like this Cheer for the Cause rain poncho!
Cheerleading apparel company Chasse understands the cheer lifestyle. After all, they put the “C” in cheerleading! On their
Facebook page, they shared a spirited infograph with their fans and we love it so much we had to share it with you. Check it out below! It’s all about what your
favorite cheerleading item says about you, from your uniform to warm-ups to bows.
After you check it out, share your response with a comment below! What is your favorite cheer item? Does the description match your cheer personality?
The Science Behind Music
Forgetting your iPod when your headed to the gym is like forgetting your water bottle. If you think your music helps with your
cheerleading workout routine, your thinking in the right direction.
pubmed.org, studies show that songs with a BPM (beats per minute) between 120-140 will increase your workout success by 10%! People who listened to the upbeat playlist had raised heart rates and were far more motivated than the group who listened to the slower tempos. When “the music was played faster, the participants chose to accept, and even prefer, a greater degree of effort.” The group that listened to the slower music had the opposite effect and their entire performance dropped.
How To Create Your Playlist
cheerleading fitness playlist is more than choosing your favorite songs. As mentioned above, to improve your performance at the gym you would need to create a playlist with songs that have 120-140 beats per minute. You can either count how many beats the song has for one minute or you can download software for your computer that will do the counting for you. Even going onto google and searching for songs with a BPM of 120 will bring up a whole slew of pages dedicated to bringing it’s viewers exercise playlists.
Finally, you can go into iTunes and both enter and sort by the BPM. Remember after a rigorous workout, you’ll need to cool your muscles down by doing a light walk on the treadmill. This would be the perfect opportunity to add some slower songs at the end of the playlist to help slow your heart rate down.
In conclusion, your playlist is more than something fun to listen to at the gym. It’s a motivator and will help you increase your workout success by 10%! We want to know what some of your favorite workout songs are. Leave a comment below!
Nothing wows an audience like an expertly executed heel stretch, performed with smiling grace. Achieving that grace takes a lot of work. With practice, you’ll be able to make the heel stretch look as natural and effortless as breathing.
Obviously, this move requires a great deal of flexibility. Make sure you are fully warmed up and at your most limber before you practice.
1. Stand with all your weight on one leg, keeping it slightly bent for balance. Swing your “heel” leg back as if you’re preparing to kick a football.
2. Tilt your torso forward a little and kick the imaginary ball – but keep the trajectory going. Lift your leg as high as it will go. As a beginner, you will likely need to give your leg a hand, grabbing a hold of your heel and pulling your foot toward your face. Do not grab your toes or any other part of your foot. Use your left hand to grab your left heel, the right hand for the right heel.
3. Once you have the heel firmly in your grasp, keep pulling it toward you until your leg is parallel with your torso and forming a right angle to the ground.
4. Keep smiling, be graceful and don’t show the slightest sign of strain as you lift the arm not holding your leg straight up in the air. Hold this arm beside your head so that it is against your ear.
5. Now it’s time to wave. With your elbow locked in place, angle your arm slightly forward – then twist it while moving it away from your body. If you are lifting your left heel, you’ll move your left arm to the right of your body; the right arm swings to the left when you raise the right heel.
Tips: Keep the leg you’re standing on at a right angle to the ground. If you have long legs, keep your hand below the heel. If your legs are short, keep your hand above the heel. Under no circumstances should you grab your toes, as this could cause you to lose your balance.
Remember to always dress in the correct
practice wear for comfort and safety.
Campus TeamWear has Lycra tops and matching skirts with built in shorts, perfect for movement, stunting, and tumbling. Remember to wear the correct
cheer shoes for practice.
Asics have a great line of shoes with good support that are made for stunting, and for those who want a style that is a little more budget friendly, the
Chasse cheerleading shoe line has perfect shoes for tumbling because of the support and the grip.
Any athletes who are serious about improving and competing at their full potential
should be strength training. Cheering requires strength, so the better equipped your muscles are to do it, the better you will be at it. It won’t even take up that much of your time. Go to the gym if you can and want to, or do it while you’re watching the Voice. It’s a small commitment that will have big results.
Here are four exercises that will turn you into a lean, mean cheering machine:
1. Lunges. You can do these with or without weight. No matter how good of shape you are in, you will be sore after doing these, so don’t overdo it. Start with walking lunges with no weight. Do three sets of 20 lunges, taking a break in between each set. The “break” is a good time for an exercise that targets another muscle group, like your arms or abs. If this becomes too easy for you after a while, you can grab 10- or 20-pound dumbbells to hold while you do them. If you’re doing them at home and don’t have weights, improvise. Hold a gallon of milk in each hand or a brick from the backyard.
If you want to get really crazy, do jump lunges. Lower into a lunge, then jump back up instead of standing up. Switch your legs in the air and come back down on the opposite leg. Then jump again and land with the other leg in front. Try this 10 times without weight. When it becomes too easy, you can do more repetitions or hold 10-pound dumbbells while doing it.
2. Squats. Squats are so good for you. They work everything in your leg, especially if you continue up into a calf raise at the end. But they are also serious business and can lead to knee injuries if done incorrectly. There are a lot of squat variations, but, in general, keep your feet just wider than hip-width apart with your toes pointed slightly outward. Bend your knees and go down low enough that the tops of your legs are parallel to the ground. Think of it as the tops of your legs making a table. Someone should be able to come set a ball on the top without it rolling off. But you should also keep good posture, so if you can’t go that low without hunching your back forward, just go as far as you can. If you have knee problems, you will also not want to go down as far. There shouldn’t be any pain (other than your muscles burning, but that’s a different kind of pain). Once you’re down there, come back up, pushing through your quads and hamstrings. Go all the way up on your toes into a calf raise before coming back to your normal standing position, then go back down again. Try three sets of 10 at first, resting in between each set. Add weight as you get more comfortable. You can grab dumbbells like you did with the lunges, but if you have access to a gym, you might find a weight bar on your back more comfortable to hold. Start with just the bar, as most weigh 45 pounds, then add to it incrementally as you get stronger.
As with the lunges, you can drop the weight and do jump squats. From the squat position, drop down and then jump up as high as you can. Land softly with slightly bent knees, come back to standing, and do it again. Start with three sets of 10, resting in between each set.
Another great variation is single-leg squats. Start with no weight or grab dumbbells and put one leg on a chair or bench and the other out in front. Do a set of squats on that leg, then switch and put the other leg on the chair. Aim for three sets of 10 to 15 squats on each leg.
3. Push-ups. Push-ups are a great arm exercise because they work your entire arm” “and even your core. You’ve probably been doing these since grade school PE classes, but the only thing you really need to remember is to keep your back straight. Don’t raise or lower your hips. If you feel the need to do that, you’ve reached the maximum amount you can handle (which is the goal!) and should stop and rest before doing another set. Mix up your hand stance, which will target different parts of your arms. You’ll be able to tell what muscles you are working, but basically when your hands are close together, like directly beneath your shoulders, you’re working your triceps. As they get farther out, you’re emphasizing the shoulders. There’s no wrong answer for what muscle you should emphasize, and you’ll find that in some positions you can do push-ups all day long, while in others it’s a struggle to do two. Work on your weaker areas!
4. Planks. Now that we talked about an arm exercise that also works your core, let’s try a core exercise that also works your arms. Planks work your abs hard and will tone your arms in no time. You can either do these with your forearms and elbows on the ground, which will put more emphasis on your abs since they’re handling more of the load, or do them up on your hands, in a push-up position, which will make your arms do more of the work. Both your arms and abs will be worked plenty in both positions, so you can either mix it up and do both stances, or just choose your favorite. Do a front plank with both hands/arms on the ground, then turn to one side and put your other arm in the air, then do the other side. Start with holding the plank position (back straight, hips not sinking or rising to take the pressure off your core) for 30 seconds on each side. Do that every day for a week, then move up to 45 seconds for a week, then a minute. Planks have a great mental aspect to them as well as it takes and builds discipline to make yourself hold that position as you start to shake from exhaustion. That discipline will carry over into other areas of your life.
Don’t forget to warm up beforehand
‚ jogging, stationary bike, jump rope, jumping jacks, etc.
stretch when you’re done! As always, drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout.
What are your favorite strength-training exercises?
Even if the end of high school doesn’t mean the end of your cheerleading days, things are about to change. You’re going to
head off to college; get a job; do “grown up” tasks like laundry and grocery shopping. When facing these new stepping-stones of life, turn to cheer for help.
That’s right; there are a lot of aspects of cheerleading that you can use in the real world. Find out how!
- Scheduling and organizing
Who knows how to balance a schedule better than a cheerleader? Between school, homework, practice, competitions, and social activities, cheerleaders quickly learn that the only way to remember everything is to organize their calendar. This will help out a lot in college when you need to remember dates for tests, essays, registering for classes, and social events.
How many times have you simultaneously stretched and studied for a test? You probably can’t even count the number of times you’ve mentally rehearsed your routine while in the shower. Cheerleaders multi-task all the time. This trait comes in handy when you find yourself buried under multiple projects that all need to be completed at once. You’ve mastered the skill of balance – bouncing back in forth between tasks and finding time to complete them all, even if it’s at lunch or while you’re doing the laundry.
Let’s face it. A big part of nailing an interview or class presentation is performance. You’ve got to act confident, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable. Cheerleaders know all about the art of performance. At competitions, games, or pep rallies, you can’t look nervous (even if you are!) or confused (even if you forget a part!). You’ve got to be confident and push through, even if there’s an unexpected bump in the road. Tackle an interview or class presentation like you would a cheer performance (minus the toe touches and cheer uniform).
- Handling disappointment
During your cheerleading years, there’s probably been a time where you didn’t make the team you wanted, messed up a performance, or didn’t win at the competition. You’ve learned how to handle disappointment and accept second (or third or fourth) place. In college, at a job, and in life, you’ll experience disappointment or what is sometimes perceived as “failure” (even though it isn’t!). You won’t get the internship; you’ll get a B on an assignment; you won’t get the highest grade on a test. As a cheerleader, you know how to get your spirits back up and move on, knowing you’ll conquer the next approaching hurdle.
- Trying again (and again)
Not everything comes easily. Some things are harder to master or learn than others and you need to know how to keep working at it without giving up. This trait is especially necessary at work. You’ll be expected to improve, to learn new and harder tasks, and to redo an assignment if need be. Luckily, as a cheerleader, you’re familiar with the mantra “try again.” You know that some things take time and practice! By using your cheerleading experience, you won’t give up if you don’t succeed at first. You’ll keep at it until you’ve got it down!.
- Working as a team
This is perhaps the biggest characteristic you’ve mastered as a cheerleader. After years of practicing and performing with your squad, you know the importance of teamwork. At school, at work, and in life, you’ll need to work with others. Even if you don’t get along with all of them, as a cheerleader you’ve learned how to effectively contribute to a team task and work with others in a professional manner.
Whew! You may not have realized just how many traits you’ve mastered, thanks to cheerleading! Whether you cheer after high school or just hold onto the fond memories with you in the form of pictures and scrapbooks, you’ll always have the characteristics of a cheerleader.
What do you think is the greatest thing you’ve learned as a cheerleader? What are other traits cheerleaders learn?
- Scheduling and organizing
Success is a funny word‚ mostly because the definition is always changing. It’s a very personal thing.
How you define success defines what you aim for and what you accomplish, and I used to think success was all about trophies and tryout candidate numbers and the ever-elusive “prestige. ” But, and this is just between you and me, that stuff didn’t really end up being that important.
I mean, prestige is good and all, but it didn’t help me build the kind of program I really wanted. I wanted a program with good athletes, but I also wanted one that built good people and bonds that lasted beyond each person’s days on the team. It should be a place where moments and memories are made. The hard part is that almost never happens naturally, and it certainly doesn’t happen naturally year after year. I realized I was going to have move into action. But, I never do that without first making a plan.
That’s where January comes in.
You’re a good bit into your season now. You’ve gotten the hang of some of your teammates’ quirks. You might also be getting into competition preparation, but you know once that hits, tryouts will be here so fast.
So that makes January the perfect time to get ahead on your next season. Here are a few ways you can do that:
January puts you over the hump in your cheer year: you’ve gotten through the early days, which are often the busiest, and the holidays. Now, you’ve got some headspace to really sit back and reflect on the year so far by asking questions like…
- What has been good so far?
- What hasn’t been good so far?
- What changes need to be made to improve the program?
- To improve myself further?
In many ways, January is the calm before the storm. It’s after football season, it’s before competition season really gets crazy, and it’s just far enough out to start working on tryouts.
This is it‚ your chance to get ahead. You don’t have to just get by in the hustle and bustle. January is the perfect time to start…
- Thinking through your big picture for the next season
- Editing your handbook and other materials for next year
- Plotting out dates for next year’s big events
- Looking at uniforms
- Putting tryouts together
- Planning the end-of-the-year banquet or party
Even just starting on one or more of these things can help you feel less rushed and stressed as the next season inches forward. If you want to get a jumpstart on your planning, I can help you with my plan-a-thon which starts soon. You can sign up here.
Improve Your Skills
It’s the time of year that everyone is thinking about how to improve themselves, but if we’re honest, we don’t always follow through. This year could be different for you and your team. It’s a new year and new chance to find some training or conference to help you get better as a coach so you can lead your team to victory on a few different levels this season and next.
Make a list of improvements or resolutions you want to make. Then, start looking around for conferences or resources to help you get there. If you need some suggestions, I’ve got a list of them for you here.
You can make really January count this year by starting to think about next year. If you want to get ahead and get organized for your next season, join me and some other coaches for my plan-a-thon.
January can be your secret ingredient to having a killer next season, but you have to start now!
- What has been good so far?
One thing successful cheerleading squads have in common is that they have strong leaders. These cheerleaders are role models for their teammates and set the tone for the way athletes on their team act for years to come. Good leaders don’t have to be the stars of their teams, but they practice these five habits:
What other habits do strong leaders practice?
- They know their teammates. You might have heard people talk about different people’s coaching or leadership styles. Strong leaders don’t have just one way of motivating people. They shift their methods depending on whom they are working with. A good team captain will know her teammates well enough to know how to reach them effectively. She knows that one teammate thrives under pressure and will pump her up by talking about how big of a competition this is or how many people are in the stands to watch this halftime performance. Another teammate might get too nervous from big crowds, so a good leader would remind her that no matter who’s watching, the routine is the same one you’ve been working on for weeks or months now. You have to know your teammates well to be able to lead them.
- They welcome input. Approachability is key for strong leaders. Team members should be comfortable coming to them with any questions, concerns, or ideas. The leader doesn’t make them feel inferior or silly for asking questions and genuinely listens to their ideas and gives thoughtful feedback even if the idea isn’t implemented. An environment like this is key for a successful team.
- They give their all, all the time. Good leaders are well-rounded. They give their all to the cheer squad, but they’re also good students. That’s because they are high achievers who can’t just turn it off. They do their best no matter what they’re working on. You’ll never find a strong leader looking for shortcuts or doing anything half-heartedly.
- They have fun. No one wants to follow someone who isn’t passionate about what she does. Good leaders work hard, but they enjoy it. They help foster a positive environment where their teammates can excel.
- They welcome challenges. No matter what comes their way, good leaders are up for the task. They see a problem as something to work through, not something that will stop them. Because of this, when other athletes are hanging their heads in defeat, leaders are brainstorming ways to overcome the challenge. They might not have the solution right away, but the point is that their first instinct is to put up a fight, not give up.
A cheer coach is responsible for a long laundry list of things‚ including every cheerleader on the team, their belongings, and their safety! Being a cheer coach is far from a simple job, and it gets downright stressful most of the time. As a coach, you have to uphold the team’s motivation, positive attitude, and cooperation; you have to make sure you coordinate travel arrangements, practice schedules, and team events like photo day or fundraising efforts. And let’s not forget about all the planning and stress that goes into transporting your team to summer training camps! Since cheerleading is a yearlong activity, a cheer coach’s responsibilities never cease, so keeping a few things on-hand makes the juggling process a whole lot easier. Here’s a list of four things that all coaches must have:
1. A whistle. It seems like constantly blowing a whistle at your cheerleaders would render you like a drill sergeant, but it’s definitely the most effective way to get their attention! We’re talking cheerleaders here‚ little socialites who love to talk! Plus, if you’re coaching a travel team, a whistle can cut through any noisy bus ride and bustling competition parking lot. It’s all about team safety and a whistle will make sure your cheerleaders know exactly where you are at all times‚ whether they’re paying attention or not!
2. A clipboard and pencil. You’ve seen them practice the routine almost a thousand times, and have even busted out a video camera to make sure you correct the glaring mistakes. But you can’t film them every time! A clipboard makes it easy to take notes on any noticeable flaws during practice, so it doesn’t slip your mind when it’s time to give your team your end-of-the-day critiques. A clipboard also doesn’t involve battery power, making it the most dependable item in your arsenal.
3. A solar phone charger. Speaking of battery life, make sure you have an extra phone charger with you at all times‚ and a solar one at that! You’re not only the team coach, but also the team chaperone that must communicate any emergencies with all of the cheer parents if anything happens. You would be in pretty deep water if travel plans go awry and your team gets stuck en route to a competition without the parents knowing what is going on. Or perhaps an unfortunate injury happens during practice and a dead phone doesn’t allow you to call the hurt cheerleader’s parents to explain the situation; those parents would not be your biggest fans! A solar phone charger charges your phone off the sun, so you’ll have a full battery wherever you may be.
4. A dependable bag. With all of these necessary coaching items, you need a bag to hold them (along with all of your personal essentials, like your wallet and your car keys!) A small bag is great for practice and around town since it can compartmentalize your daily needs, such as the Chasse Micro Duffle Bag from Omni Cheer. You probably also need a bigger bag that can withstand all the cheerleading excursions you might embark on, so a travel bag like the Chasse Dream Duffle is perfect to sling over your shoulder on the road‚ especially with it’s comfortable padded shoulder-strap! Both of these bags can be bought with a cheer imprint or your team name embroidered on them, making it an easy and inexpensive way to proclaim to the world that you’re proud to be a cheer coach!
Are you a coach and have other items that you cannot coach without? Tell us your must-have coaching items in the comments below!