Every cheerleader and athlete, and almost every sport fan, has heard of and likely participates in a traditions, rituals or superstitious acts. People that are not involved might laugh or find these acts ridiculous, but among your team, school and community, they are rules that you live by. Traditions Traditions are pieces of information or nostalgia that are inherited and continued by a new generation each season. In cheerleading, this might include an awards ceremony, a welcome dinner for new squad members or a goodbye party for seniors. It also applies to teaching old cheers to all the new members. Rituals Rituals are based in belief. People perform a certain action that they believe will affect their performance or the outcome of a game in a positive way. Does your team use a specific playlist to warm up before competitions? This is a ritual! Cheer rituals could also apply to eating or drinking a certain item on game day or getting together as a team to do hair and makeup for competitions. Superstitions Superstitions are based on circumstances. They occur when someone equates a series of actions or events with a particular outcome – which could be positive or negative. Groundhog’s Day is based on superstition! Cheerleaders may have superstitions based on locations, weather or even attribute the trophies they have won to a “lucky’ item of cheer clothing worn by the team or the coach. How do traditions, rituals and superstitions in cheerleading help individuals and teams have a better performance experience? Here are some reasons to embrace them, and welcome them, into your routine: The positive thinking that results from performing traditions, rituals and superstitions intervenes when anxiety is threatening to control athletic performance. Believing that a performance is going to be flawless will actually help it in that direction. The absence of negative thought helps individual athletes and teams relax and focus, minimizing the risk of mistakes and missteps. As a fan, seeing your team’s cheerleaders in school apparel, face or body paint and other gear can be perceived as social support. That feeling can create a connection that will increase the likelihood of fan participation! They will feel like they can trust you and that they want to have fun with you. The outcome will be an amazing amount of energy bouncing from cheerleaders to fans, and motivating the team on the field! We all know that the past is an important part of our present. Traditions, rituals and superstitions that are deeply rooted in the history of cheerleading, specific teams or a school’s sports help connect people and bind them together. When cheerleaders participate in a ritual together, they create memories and build a relationship for the future. When cheerleaders share a ritual with fans, they help the fans feel like they are members of the team, and that they are important. This sense of community and family is what will motivate fans to support the team no matter what the final scores are. For an individual athlete, one value gained from traditions, rituals and superstitions is the feeling of control that it gives them. Gaining control of any situation boosts confidence – so feeling like you are in control personally, will help you feel like you are in control of the outcome of your performance, and the performance of your team. For a cheerleader, this helps optimism defeat pessimism and keeps that sunny attitude and peppy disposition – a must for all members of a cheerleading squad! Share your favorite personal, team or community traditions for a chance to be featured on next week’s blog and to be entered to win a shirt from Chasse Cheer!