Is School’s Decision Recognition or Punishment? Are cheerleading competitions causing tension at your school? One school’s cheerleading squad faces what they believe are devastating consequences for their decision to skip some games to practice for competitions: the introduction of a separate team, the Spirit Squad, to take their place at games. The cheerleaders will continue to participate in competitions, but if they want to cheer at games they will have to try out for the Spirit Squad. If they make it, they could face scheduling conflicts when trying to fit in school, work and other sports. Not to mention the additional team fees and the cost of new uniforms. So…is this a move in the right direction for getting cheerleading recognized as a sport? Or is it a set back that proves the discrimination that cheer squads face compared to other athletic teams? Read the full story from The Delaware County Daily Times below, then sound off in the comments section. O’Hara’s decision draws jeers not cheers from cheerleaders By LESLIE KROWCHENKO, Times Correspondent MARPLE ” ” In her first year on the varsity cheerleading squad, Cardinal O’Hara High School senior Victoria Rossillio had been looking forward to performing flips and tumbles at the Lions’ stadium. It appears she may not have the chance. In a conclusion explained to the girls and their parents Tuesday night, the school’s administration has decided the newly formed Spirit Squad, rather than the cheerleaders, will ignite the crowd during football and boys and girls basketball games. The cheerleaders will continue to perform in competitions. “The purpose of this meeting is to reiterate what was expressed in our emails,” said Principal Marie Rogai. “We want to explain the rationale in person.” The change was based on a concern from the administration that the cheerleaders have not been performing the duties requested of them, “first and foremost to cheer at football and basketball games,” said Rogai. The time commitment required to prepare for the competitions is significant and conflicted with that needed to root for the teams. Last winter, the 24 cheerleaders chose to split into groups of eight to perform at basketball games. The change was an attempt to offer support and spirit while accommodating their practice schedule for competition. The approach did not work, said Rogai, as the girls neither led cheers nor performed halftime routines. “I attended every home basketball game, expecting to see some change, and saw none,” said Rogai. “I discussed with girls at two separate games why they were just sitting in the stands in their uniforms and they told me, “We just want to do competitions.'” As a remedy, the administration proposed the formation of a Spirit Squad to cheer at football and basketball games and other sporting events at the request of the athletic department or administration. The process began in May to define the parameters of the squad and hire a coach. The cheerleading coach was notified at the same time, said Rogai, but the girls and their parents were apparently not contacted until mid-July, shortly before cheerleading tryouts. Some learned of the change from the school website. “There was a disconnect,” said Rogai. “I agree with the fact it was not handled as well as it could have been.” The meeting, which was not intended to be an open forum, did not live up to its billing. Joined by Athletic Director Stephen Langley and Assistant Principal for Student Affairs Ed Allen, Rogai barely completed her prepared statement when mothers and fathers barraged the trio with questions. The queries began with Kevin Colgan, who noted “all the girls want is a compromise.” “The Spirit Squad is a good idea, but the cheerleaders are passionate about what they do,” he added. “Let them cheer at football.” While the girls may try out for the Spirit Squad, the parents argued it was not an appropriate solution. In addition to their studies, some have part-time jobs, and involvement in an additional extracurricular activity would increase their responsibilities and after-school practice time. They added that participation in another activity would also hike the “pay to play” fee and require the purchase of additional uniforms. While one of the main concerns appeared to be lack of support for the basketball teams, Laura Pfeffinger questioned the backing, or lack thereof, for the cheerleaders. “They are supposed to be there for the other sports,” she said. “Who comes to our competitions?” The meeting, which ended abruptly, continued in the hallway, but without the resolution the parents and their daughters sought. “I waited all this time to be on varsity and be out on the track during the football games,” said Rossillio. “We are the ones who will suffer.”
In my experience, decorating posters or banners for school locker rooms and around campus takes an entire practice‚ and then some! As all cheer squads,
practice is crucial and time is limited. Taking away practice time hurts squads, especially when there is a big rival game or Homecoming that week. Here are some tips so practice time remains practice time, and poster making is during a time that is not going to interfere with skill building.
1. Finish them during summer conditioning. This year, our upper-classmen will have summer conditioning. Every Wednesday, we plan to take an hour to plug away on posters and banners for the upcoming school year. If we don’t finish them on Wednesday, no stress‚ we don’t have a deadline! We make as many as we can until the end of summer. By the school season, we have a nice collection to choose from for every game. When we get short, we can
then fit in some time to make a few more, but we don’t have to stress about making so many. We may only need one or two to meet our quota!
2. Designate a banner night. If you still are not too keen on decorating during conditioning practice, designate a banner night. Set the time for a one-two hour slot where volunteer cheerleaders from your team can come to help. Chances are, you’ll get a good number considering there is no stretching, warm-up, or running that they’ll have to do. They get to enjoy just
a fun paint night with some friends! We always like to have music playing to add a little fun and bonding time, too
3. Assemble an after-practice banner team. If summer conditioning doesn’t work for you, hire a few artsy girls on the team to stay after practices to
make banners and posters. It is especially smart to rope in those that are always picked up late, anyways. Have a quota they need to fill and a time limit, so they stay on a steady schedule.
4. Use your booster team. Alright‚ so you worked your tail off trying to get that booster team in place, right? Put them to work! They’ll love to help out. Give them some ideas (may be from Pinterest?) to work with, and I’m sure you’ll get
some fun, creative posters as a result.
5. Give “em to the girls (or boys). Okay, so you don’t have a booster team, you do not like the idea of taking up practice time, and no one wants to stay after practice, including you‚ never fear! Give the girls the gear! Have some artistic (and responsible) leaders take home paint, posters, brushes, and whatever else their creative souls need. Have them work on a few banners at home over the next week, and make sure they bring them back in one piece!
6. SOS to the Student Council. Maybe, you’re not even into
the whole decorating thing‚ that’s fine, too! Give the responsibility to the Student Council (after asking them, of course). Our Student Council makes a ton of signs to hang around the school. Try working with the sponsor of Student Council, and ask for some help with the banners. I’m sure they would be eager to help out. Just remember to give them credit, considering they are doing the work.
By now, you probably have a good direction of when you want to work on banners and posters. Get creative, make it fun, and don’t stress! Remember: this is also about making the football and basketball teams happy. I know our boys are so grateful to see a big banner when they walk into the locker rooms! That is what it is really all about!
How else can cheer coaches fit in time to make banners? Share what worked well for your team in the comments!
Jumps may be a basic move in cheerleading, but they’re used in
cheer choreography at elite levels in
cheerleading competitions, they are mandatory to know at
cheerleading tryouts and they are even used to hype up crowds after a performance or
a team’s touch down.
Jumps are an easy move to learn when
beginning cheerleading and are great building blocks as you become more experienced and your choreography routines get tougher.
It’s very important to develop
good technique for jump entry, and to practice your jump in repetition for conditioning and to help build your muscle memory. Always
warm up and stretch before physical activity.
The Straight Jump (also known as the T Jump or the Pencil Jump) is the most basic jump in cheerleading, but it is a great move to help cheerleaders practice their timing and their body position for more complicated moves.
- Start your jump entry with your feet together, your arms straight down on your side and your hands in fists.
- Clap your hands and then put your arms into a high V position.
- As soon as your arms are up, bend your knees and cross your arms downward into an “X” position in front of your knees.
- As you are continuing to swing your arm motion back out and up, use your bent knees to launch yourself into the air.
- Jump straight up, keeping your legs together, your head and chest up, and your back straight. The straight jump should be done with a stiff and tight posture. Your arms can hit a T or a High V position (pictured here). Point your toes!
- When you land, bend your knees to absorb the shock, and bring your arms straight down by your side, keeping your hands in fists.
- Straighten your knees once you are steady, and finish the jump with a clap.
*While executing these each of these steps, make sure they are done quickly and consecutively of each other so the result is one continual motion.
Check out the Complete Guide to
Conflict Resolution Tips For Cheerleading Squads!
In cheerleading, “cheer’ is often given all the glory, but coaches and captains know how important it is that the “leader’ part isn’t overlooked. Being in a leadership position for a squad isn’t about popularity or just putting on a
cheerleading uniform; it is about responsibility, dedication and passion.
Anybody that is or has been in a leadership role on a cheerleading squad knows that the job requires much more than just running practice. A team is like a family, and like every family, someone sits in the head seat at the table. Being a leader isn’t about being a bully, it’s about being the type of person that people can and do look up to.
The cheerleading season is only going to continue to intensify. If you are new to the game, find yourself struggling mid season, or just need a refresher, here are some tips to help you take the lead and steer your squad toward success.
Efficiency. Coaches and captains should make practices as effective and efficient as possible by showing up early to make sure all equipment and music is ready to go when practice is supposed to start. By staying focused and on track during practices, coaches and captains will inspire their team to stay focused too.
Attitude. Coaches and captains are responsible for handling younger and older kids, as well as parents. They need to practice patience and negotiation and stay away from pride and tempers. Squad members and their parents need to feel comfortable coming to the leaders with their conflicts. Cheer squad leaders could benefit from some introductory training into psychology.
Respect. You have to give it to get it. Being bossy, rude or demanding is not going to motivate anyone to do what you say, or inspire them to want to make you proud. A leader should not only think about
what words they use, but also about
how they say them.
Communication. How can you lead, coach or teach if you can’t communicate? The key to successful communication is to recognize that it is about evolving. Learn what words and tones your squad responds to and use those to reach them. How you
want to say things isn’t as important as them hearing what they need to, so adjust your strategy and learn at every opportunity. Make sure each squad member, including all people in a leadership role, are clear on what is and isn’t expected of them during the season.
Knowledge. A cheer squad leader has a lot of rules to keep straight. They should know the
ins and outs of each game they will cheer for. They should understand their school or organization’s handbook and know how to enforce those rules. And they should study and adjust for the rules of any competitions that they enter. In addition, they need to have a working knowledge of basic first aid and CPR procedures. If you don’t all know all of these things already, learn them ASAP.
Organization. Trying to keep all of the rules straight, as well as managing practice and game schedules, team member records, competition deadlines and
game and competition choreography can get overwhelming. That is why the coach, captain and, if needed, co-captain all need to work together using the same organizational system. It is great if everyone is organized on their own, but using multiple systems to organize the same or similar information will only lead to confusion. Figure out the best approach for your team and give anyone that has a leadership role a quick training session.
Accountability. A leader needs to be accountable for their actions, but they also need to give their squad the tools to be accountable for their own actions. By clearly communicating the goals and requirements for being a part of the squad, you will have an easier time managing the squad, keeping everyone eligible to participate and motivating your squad members.
Energy. Keep your energy high and positive. Instead of a demerit system, focus on rewarding the good work that your squad members complete. This positive reinforcement will motivate the team and help remind everyone what cheerleading is all about – fun!
Remember, the key to being a great leader is to know what your responsibilities are and to perform them to the best of your ability. The way that you lead will teach your squad or teammates something about the world. You are not only teaching them cheer and dance moves, you are teaching them life skills and defining all the action words above: efficiency, attitude, respect, communication, knowledge, organization, accountability and energy. Set a great example for your squad, and they will give you back loyalty, hard work and dedication.
Come back next week to get coach and captain tips for managing team conflicts!