A good tryout is crucial to a good year. It not only sets the tone for the season, but it also sets the standard for your entire team. Besides all of that, there’s the obvious: it selects your cheerleading team for you, and we all know how important having a strong team is. If you’re a cheer coach, here are a few ways to get what you need out of your tryouts process: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel Unless You Need To I used to constantly be freaking out at tryouts time. The new part of the year always leaves me feeling like I have to start over from scratch, but that’s just silly. The reality is that I’ve now been through tryouts many times, and I know what works for me. So I’m not going to reinvent the wheel each year.Now, planning tryouts is easy. However, there was a time when a complete overhaul was necessary. So the best thing to do is start now to plan out everything and keep great notes. That way next year you can tweak what didn’t work and keep what did. If you don’t know where to start, then try this free video training. It gives you the rundown of all the moving parts of tryouts, plus checklists and templates to get you started. Communicate Often I cannot stress enough the importance of communication. As a coach who also works in corporate communication, I can say with confidence that good communication gets you everywhere. So be thorough and clear in early communication and send out lots of reminders, but don’t chase people down. This will be a good indicator of the parents and cheerleaders you’ll need to communicate more with during the year.It’s also a great time to encourage them to communicate with you. Answer questions, be helpful, and be generous when they reach out. That will be a great start to a relationship if the athlete makes the team. Help Them Make an Informed Decision My first year of coaching, I had no idea what to say at a parent meeting for tryouts. I was just ready to tell them what a wonderful year we were going to have. “We’re going to cheer at games and go to nationals, and they will love it! It’s so much fun!” (Yep, lots of exclamation marks!) That was kind of my battle cry, but it was also kind of my undoing that year.By mid-season, a girl had a concussion, two others had quit, and one parent was not even a little happy with what cheerleading was costing her. They were all unhappy because I had failed to communicate exactly what they were signing up for. I wanted it to be shiny and happy so everyone would want to be a cheerleader. I should’ve given clear expectations and outlined the year for them better through my original communication. That way they could have made an informed decision, and we would have all been much happier whether or not we were a part of the squad. Include a Way to Hear About Their Character There’s more to building a great team than skill alone. One year, I had a team full of incredibly talented young ladies. The potential of their skills was almost limitless. But I hardly saw any of it after tryouts. They were talented, but they didn’t want to work for it. Their motto was, “We’ll hit it when we perform. We always do.”I don’t know about you, but that kind of attitude drives me bananas. I would rather have a squad full of teachable, untalented girls than one full of hard work-phobic, skilled ones, and I now know that about myself. If you know what kind of people you want to work with to create a strong team, build something into your process that will show those characteristics — interviews, teacher recommendations, teammate evaluations, or something else. Depending on your process, you may still end up with a handful of cheerleaders with the wrong attitude, but they’ll probably follow the lead of the rest of the team. Have Qualified Judges for Your Type of Process It doesn’t matter what type of process you have for team selection, if you have bad judges, you won’t get the team the process was designed for.One year, we hired a company that hires judges for you and sends them to your tryout. We had used our same process for a couple of years with great results, so we were really excited for another tryout day. But it turns out one judge didn’t actually know anything about cheerleading. She was a dancer, which is fine, mostly — after all, my secret, unfulfilled desire is to be a dancer — but when stunting is a part of your tryout, she had no clue what to do with that and messed up all of the scoring, leaving everything confused. So make sure that whether you do team placements or a tryout that cuts, you want to hire judges that can really help you find the team you need across the board. Handle the Results with Grace on Both Ends I think dealing with the results of the tryout is often the hardest part. When the girl that you’ve lovingly shepherded for two years gets injured at the end of the season but tries out anyway with little practice, it breaks your heart to see her without a place on your team. I’m tearing up now just thinking about that. But for the day of tryouts and the day you announce and celebrate, it’s not about her. It’s about your new team. So keep it positive for that time.I would also encourage you to not let those who didn’t make it contact you until the next week. It gives a little room for perspective for you both. When they do call, be calm and listen. Often they’re just hurting and want to know someone cares that they didn’t make the team. You can even let them see their scores for improvement next year, but don’t let them see anyone else’s. And never discuss someone’s scores or tryout with anyone else. Tryouts season is a crazy time, but you can find peace in the process if it’s one you believe in. So this year, make your tryouts work for you and build the team you’ve always wanted. Coaches: access videos, how-tos, and more at http://kateboydcheerleading.com/
Today, I am writing about a very touchy topic: leaving middle school and entering high school.
If you have read my previous articles, you know I’m a 14 year old cheerleader that will be attending my freshman year of high school in September. Where do I begin explaining exactly how I’m feeling?
Well, let me start with explaining a little bit about my middle school experience. First off, I never really went to “middle school.” When most think of the term “middle school” they think of going to a different school than their elementary school. This is not the case for most private schools. I go to a small Catholic school that teaches students in pre-k to 8th grade. Therefore, I’ve never changed schools since I entered the school in first grade. This makes my school very special to my heart and it reminds me of many cherished memories that impacted my childhood. Almost every huge milestone in my life happened while I was attending this school. Unfortunately, I’m leaving this school for good in June and as much as I’d love to stay and hold on I know the best thing to do is to let go and dive into new opportunities and adventures.
High school seems extremely scary because I know it will be extremely different than my current close-knit school. However, I also know that high school will be an amazing experience. It is exciting to try something new but scary to think about having to get used to something so different than my normal routine. In my opinion, the number one scare for many graduating 8th graders is friends. Personally, it’s not that I’m afraid of making new friends, I’m just afraid of making the right new friends. Also, I am afraid of possibly losing my old friends because I won’t see them each day the way I do now. Another fear I have is not making friends at all! Friends are a big part of every girl’s life and can help you grow.
In addition, I am also totally afraid of the academics in high school! I heard it’s seriously hard in high school! There have been so many horror stories about freshman’s grades dropping their first semester of high school due to the new adjustments! But, one thing I do know is that I have to try my best even though I’m very afraid of the workload!
Last but not least, I have been preparing for my upcoming
cheerleading tryouts! I have been working out and practicing each and every day. However, I am still nervous about getting up in front of the coaches at my new high school and auditioning. I’ve never actually tried out for a team before because my last cheer team did not require try outs! Again, I have to try my best and give it my all and if I fail I’ll just try again. Well, that sums up all my worries about leaving middle school and entering high school! Do you guys have any worries about trying something new?
We are enjoying being fully into the fall season with football games, pep rallies, and other cheer events happening regularly. That’s why we talked about everything cheer this month, from what it takes to be different types of cheerleaders to common mistakes to avoid and some other fun fall cheer topics. Here’s what you might have missed:
- Ever wondered what it takes to be an All Star cheerleader? A lot of elements go into successfully hitting the mat to compete. Cheerleaders must rock facial expressions and wild makeup, be comfortable performing in front of an audience, and participate in dancing, tumbling, and jumping. But, anyone can become a competition cheerleader. In fact, there are only four rules that are absolutely crucial to becoming a competition or All Star cheerleader.
- Now that sideline season is here after months of anticipation, you’re finally getting to use everything you’ve been working on. You’re in top cheer shape, and you have all your cheers and routines dow‚ but a few small mistakes could take away from all your hard work. Here are five common mistakes to avoid when sideline cheering.
- With Halloween just around the corner, now is a good time to vent about the things cheerleaders fear year round. While Halloween displays are scaring passersby with spiders and monster masks, these are the things real nightmares are made of.
- Bonding with your teammates is a great way to ensure a fun and successful season‚ after all, you can’t stunt well with someone you don’t know and trust! Getting to know each other isn’t just something you schedule during camp or the first few practices of the season either. You can work on it and keep getting closer all season long. In fact, the ride to and from games, competitions, and other cheer events is a great opportunity! Here are some bonding activities you can do in the bus or car.
- Coaches occasionally face difficult situations during the season. Coaching your child, sibling, or other relative carries the potential for a whole different experience though. While there are plenty of great aspects of coaching a family member, there can also be some awkward, uncomfortable, or tricky situations. Check out a few key dos and don’ts for coaching your child or another relative and share any of your own tips or experiences in the comments!
What cheer topics did you and your friends discuss this month?
Cheerleaders and squads usually have a set routine and workout schedule. They stretch, they tumble, and they work on cardio, either by running or jogging. These three are big necessities for cheerleaders. Stretching helps prevent injuries; tumbling improves your skills; and cardio helps survive a rigorous routine.
But what many cheerleaders and squads may not be doing, but should be doing, is yoga. While yoga has been around for thousands of years, interest and participation has greatly increased in the last few years and it has become a trendy workout for athletes and non-athletes. Even the NFL Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders do yoga as a team!
On Cheer News Network’s website, we read
a great article written by a former competitive cheerleader named Kimberly Daniels who talked about the ways yoga changed her life. Kimberly discussed the physical and mental benefits, from meditation to healing from injuries. Yoga, she explains, has a great way of helping a cheerleader’s body, which is actually damaged
because of a cheerleader’s extreme flexibility.
She explains, “due to the extreme flexibility that cheerleaders have, there is often, if not always, a lack of engagement in the muscles, and hyperextension. Over time, the combination of hyperextension and flexibility without alignment will injure the muscles and body.
Muscle engagement will protect your muscles as well as open them properly, and safely.”
There are many yoga styles and, while Kimberly talks specifically about Anusara yoga, all styles of yoga are beneficial.
So what are the benefits of yoga for an athlete?
- Mental benefits:
Yoga is all about finding peace and becoming connected with your mind, body, and soul. Through meditating and deep breathing exercises, your mind can slow down and you can re-focus on your life and current stresses. Yoga has been known to greatly reduce stress and even helps athletes perform better. This is because meditating allows you to re-connect with your body; you’ll be more aware of injuries, pains, or anything you need to work on more or take a break from. As a cheerleader, you’ve got a lot going on in life, from school to cheer to personal issues. Yoga allows you to calm down and de-stress.
- Physical benefits:
As included in mental benefits, yoga helps you perform better. Yoga is similar to stretching. Your flexibility increases and your muscles loosen and relax. For these reasons alone, yoga is great to do before practicing or working out. As opposed to stretching, however, the focus isn’t trying to push yourself has far as possible. Rather, it’s about extending your body. Yoga can actually help you heal from injuries that may have occurred from stretching or stunting. Additionally, yoga improves your posture and makes your limbs look leaner and longer; that is always a plus for cheerleaders and dancers.
Remember, you can do yoga as a team or individually. Yoga classes are readily available at many gyms or yoga studios. If one isn’t available in your area or you just want to give it a try, there are numerous DVDs for doing yoga at home.
You can read Kimberly’s full story on Cheer News Network
Fun Yoga Resource: Women’s Health magazine has a great overview of 14 different yoga styles, including Anusara. Each style not only includes a definition, but also lists for whom it’s best.
Check it out here.
Do you do or have you ever done yoga? What kind of workouts does your squad do?
- Mental benefits:
A dispute between the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and a former and current member of its Raiderettes cheerleading squad has resulted in the team doubling the cheerleaders’ pay.
The Raiderettes will now be making minimum wage, which is $9 an hour in California.
“Going from nothing to minimum wage is not a major victory, it’s the law,” Diane Todd told the LA Times. Diane is a health company project manager whose change.org petition asking NFL teams to pay cheerleaders a living wage has been signed more than 130,000 times since she posted it in December.
Still, the raise is a big improvement for the cheerleaders.
In past seasons, Raiderettes earned $125 per game for 10 games and almost nothing for the hundreds of hours they put in for mandatory practices, rehearsals, and public appearances, LA Times columnist Robin Abcarian reports.
The deal is a step in the right direction for what has been called one of the
worst jobs in America, and, Robin continues, it “represents something almost revolutionary in the world of NFL cheerleading: a guarantee that the Oakland Raiders will no longer rip off the women who enliven its sidelines and work as team ambassadors when they are not performing.”
read the full column for more on this wage battle and the other hardships NFL cheerleaders face, as well as the current and former Raiderettes who brought the issue to light and the varied reactions they get from fellow cheerleaders.
It’s easy to forget how much we have to be thankful for.
Whether it’s spending time with family and good friends or eating delicious food, it’s always something to look forward to and in most cases, always a party.
I remember many Thanksgivings spent watching football games and swapping stories with relatives and slipping in- and out- of tryptophan-induced slumber.
Regardless of what you are grateful for, every
cheerleader should be thankful for the ability to sit down with close friends and family to enjoy a meal.
So this year, who are you thankful for?
For many of our readers, one thing you could offer thanks for is your
Like any competitive athletic program, cheerleaders spend as much -if not more- time with their cheerleading families as they do with anyone else, whether it’s spent
refining cheer routines, taking long bus rides to
cheerleading competitions or trying to spread spirit on the sidelines, this is one group of people that you can probably offer up some thanks for.
You rely on these people for so many things friendship, a good laugh and most importantly –
cheerleading. Although it’s easy to lose sight of a supporting cast’s importance, many cheerleaders would cease to be without their support network. First and foremost, there would be no flyers. Second, there would be no bases and
spotters. Third, there would be no team competition.
Since we spend so much time with our respective cheerleading families, however, we often take their role in our lives for granted.
In addition to the physical responsibilities they share with us, in many cases teammates foster bonds that span lifetimes, providing many of us reasons to get together, for years to come.
With that being said, there’s no surprise why everyone looks forward to Thanksgiving. It’s that perfect opportunity to spend time with friends and family, eat great home-cooked food and give thanks for everything you have in your life… ….so long as you can stay awake to remember it all.
Current cheerleaders, past cheerleaders, coaches and other athletes will likely all have some advice to give you about
your cheerleading career. It’s important to know which advice to filter out. Be sure to consider who is giving the advice! Here are four tips that you should always ignore.
You have to scream loudly to be heard.
Cheerleaders, like stage actors and actresses, should actually learn how to project their voices. Screaming could cause a sore throat and hoarse voice. It’s also important to keep in mind that when an entire squad is doing a chant, you will be loud as a group, no individual needs to be the loudest.
Wear lots of exaggerated makeup.
Cheerleaders do often wear exaggerated
performance makeup during big events so that the entire audience can see them. That doesn’t mean that they wear a lot
‚ often a team has some guidelines on
what they should wear. Also, not every performance will call for full makeup, such as sideline cheerleading. A natural look should always be worn at cheer practice.
Push yourself no matter what.
There are times that you can, and should, say “no.” If you don’t feel like your team or gym equipment is safe, or if you don’t have a spotter, don’t get pressured into
doing a tumbling move or stunt.
Live by the “No pain, no gain” motto.
There is a difference between being sore and being in pain. Sore means you have been working hard and your body is changing and growing stronger. Pain is a warning that something is wrong. Ignoring pain means risking serious injury that could bench you for the season, or worse, cause serious, permanent damage.
What’s the worst cheer advice you have heard or received?
In an effort to be really good this year, we have waited until now to share our top holiday music picks with you even though we’ve been openly listening to them since December 1 (and secretly since mid November). Here are our top eight holiday music picks:
1. Christmas by Michael Buble. His soothing voice singing you holiday songs is just what you need this and every year.
Listen to if: You are taking a bubble bath, enjoying a warm beverage next to the tree, or baking holiday treats with your mom.
2. A Very She & Him Christmas by She & Him. This is actress Zooey Deschanel’s band, and its holiday album is classic meets hipster. You really should at least try this to see if it’s up your alley. Start with the band’s rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.”
Listen to if: You live in the city but wear flannels, own at least two fedoras, and wear non-prescription glasses. Also if you like the show New Girl or tried out “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and enjoyed it.
3. Christmas in the Sand by Colbie Caillat. Imagine the cute catchiness of “Bubbly” brought to holiday music. It’s a good combination.
Listen to if: You live in a place where the weather outside never gets frightful. Also if you just remembered and immediately played “Bubbly” and “Realize.”
4. Rob’s Christmas by Rob Thomas. If you’re on Spotify, this is a great playlist of holiday songs put together by Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20. It’s got some poppy bands you probably haven’t heard of putting their spin on songs you’ve definitely heard of and some rock legends like Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, and John Lennon.
Listen to if: You are a little too edgy for the holiday songs that are on repeat in every department store right now. Also if you are with your dad and want to make up for all the times you’ve made the poor guy listen to Selena Gomez in the car.
5. All Is Bright. If you listen to your music on Amazon, try this holiday playlist. It’s more than 40 songs of holiday cheer to serve as the soundtrack of your festivities.
Listen to if: You are in the car on your way to Grandma’s house for the family holiday get-together.
6. Elf (Original Soundtrack). This is hands down the most spirited holiday music out there.
Listen to if: This doesn’t make you want to throw a tightly-packed snowball at him:
7. Sounds of the Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection. Did you know Taylor Swift has a holiday album? She does. It’s a little country. It’s a little sad. It’s original Taylor Swift.
Listen to if: You are a little down this year because of a move or breakup or just growing up and you miss the way things used to be but also can’t help but be happy at the same time because you love the holidays. Also if you really like Taylor Swift and want to hear her excellent rendition of “Santa Baby.”
8. Your favorite singer or band. They probably have a holiday album, and you will probably enjoy it. If your favorite band does not have a holiday album, it might at least have a holiday song or two out, so do some quick Google research. If you still cannot find anything holiday-ish from your favorite singer or band, try your second favorite. One of your top five is bound to have made a holiday album.
Listen to if: You want to get into the holiday spirit, but you just don’t like holiday music. Also if you are just really obsessed with your favorite singer or band.
What’s on your holiday playlists?
As if the first time wasn’t amazing enough.
You may have seen our previous post of a viral video of a
cheerleader making a basketball half-court trick shot. The incredible cheerleader that wowed the crowd at the William Carey
basketball game was Ashlee Arnau. The
jaw-dropping stunt seemed impossible to repeat.
However, a high school cheerleader has done just that. In nearby city Brooklyn, Mississippi, a Forrest County Agricultural High School cheerleader performed the very same shot. While lacking the audience and
cheer uniform Ashlee had, it was completed with the same amazing finesse.
Watch the video below to see the shot!
What amazing cheerleading stunts or tricks have you done or seen before? Share with us and leave a comment below!
Once you’re involved in cheerleading, you’re most likely in it for life. However, there are some things that cheerleading entails that can cause you some problems along the way‚ problems only cheerleaders would know! See if any of these unfortunate cheer predicaments ring a bell:
O.B.D. (also known as, Obsessive Bow Disorder), when the amount of bows you own is SHOCKING to everyone else, but to you, you need more! You have a bow for every occasion, for every team you have ever been on, and some just for fun. You wear bows on and off the field, and yes, you may have a bit of a problem‚ but who cares! Bows are so cute and fun to wear. Plus, they look amazing lined up on your bedroom wall and they remind you of how far you have come since starting cheerleading.
2. Hair drama.
It is all about getting that perfect poof! No matter how hard you try and how many YouTube videos you watch, you cannot get the dang poof to be just perfect. You tease, you spray, you bobby pin the heck out of it, and still one side looks off, another side somehow deflated, and you cannot get your bow to look right. You finally get it halfway decent and after your routine, it just looks like a big blobby mess of hair. When you get home, you start pulling out an impressive amount of bobby pins from your hair that would rival Mary Poppins’ never-ending purse! Then, finally, when you think you are done, it takes three rounds of heavy-duty conditioner to get all the teasing and hairspray out. In the end, you are still happy because for two minutes of your life, you had perfect cheer hair!
3. The Practice Blues.
Cheerleading requires a lot of practice, and sometimes, those practices‚ let’s face it‚ suck. Conditioning day is the absolute worst‚ you did not sign up for cheerleading to run! Honestly, who really wants to run? You joined cheer to cheer, and do crazy flips in the air. Conditioning may suck, but nothing is worse than getting your stunt team switched. You bonded with your stunt team and you trust them. Now, you have an entirely new group that you have to get to know and build that trust with‚ all while you soar through the air, hoping they don’t drop you. Lastly, all cheerleaders like to practice at home or show off their skills; this can turn into an epic fail rather quickly. You may fall or break the chair you are using, or accidentally kick your little sibling or dog in the face. But, hey, it happens, and they shouldn’t have been there anyway, right?
4. Field and competition mishaps.
Nothing is worse than a mishap during a competition, because you might feel like you let the whole team down. Sometimes, you don’t land the stunt or you do the wrong step, and you just pray the judges didn’t see it and move on. Sometimes, it is just not your day and things don’t work out. That is okay: you just try your best, and hopefully, next time you will nail it! When cheering on the sidelines at a basketball or a football game, chances are, you have been hit by a ball or have been run over by a player at some point. It is just part of a day in the life of a cheerleader! You are in the zone, cheering you heart out, and all of a sudden, a wide receiver takes you down (and with all hope, he is a cute one).
The worst part of being a cheerleader is dealing with the stereotypes. Stereotypes exist, ranging from “all cheerleaders are popular’, or “uneducated’, or “ditsy’, and that “boys don’t cheer’. Just being cheerleaders does not guarantee popularity: cheerleaders can be popular because they are involved in activities in school, and are outgoing and spirited. Cheerleaders are not stupid; school require cheerleaders to maintain at least a ÔøΩÔøΩÔøΩB’ average to be part of the team. Some professional cheerleaders are working towards degrees, or have degrees from colleges including Harvard, Florida State, and Boston College. Cheerleading is a great way to gain scholarships for college. Cheerleading is a female-dominated sport, yet times have changed and having men involved in cheer is gaining popularity. Having men on your team‚ especially for stunting‚ helps your team reach an entire new level! They are able to increase the height and difficulty of a stunt.
What are more problems that only cheerleaders would understand? Share your story in the comments!