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 “cheerleading family”. Why not? 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!
It’s Monday and most people’s least favorite day of the week. In the
cheerleading spirit, we present a spirited video with an “aww” moment at the end.
At Holy Cross College, the mascot, Basil the St. Bernard, scores an incredible half-court shot on the basketball court, cheered on by the cheerleaders
waving their pom poms. But the excitement doesn’t end there. Because Basil made the incredibly difficult shot, one student in the audience won a grand prize of free text books for a semester (and if you’re familiar with college text books, you know they come with a hefty price tag)!
Check the video out:
We think this would make a great halftime performance for basketball cheerleaders in high school or college! Work with your mascot to create different shot challenges. If certain shots are made, someone in the audience could win a prize. Can you think of another idea? Share below!
The most significant part of many cheerleaders’ summer breaks is cheer camp. You wait all year for it, and summer means it’s finally here! We covered everything you need to know about cheer camp on the blog last month, from what to expect to how to pack. Make sure you know the essentials before you go:
- Cheer camp is time spent with your cheer friends and dedicated to becoming better cheerleaders. It doesn’t get much better than that! If it’s your first time going to cheer camp though, you might be feeling nerves along with excitement. That comes with any new experience, but once you know what to expect, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable. Here are four things to expect at cheer camp that you might not have thought of yet.
- Cheer camp is a lot of fun, but it’s also a great opportunity to become a better cheerleader. You will have the time and instruction you need to master old skills and learn new ones, all while bonding with your team and preparing for a great season. These six tips will help you get the most out of cheer camp.
- As exciting as cheer camp is, you have to come prepared in order to have the best experience possible! One of the most important ways to be prepared is to make sure you pack all the essentials. Consult this list when packing so you don’t forget anything important.
- Cheer camp is a time to improve your cheerleading skills, but one of the most important things you’ll do at camp is get to know your teammates better. What good are amazing stunts if you can’t work together? Bonding at camp will make your season more successful, and a lot more fun! Here are a few ideas to help you get to know your teammates at cheer camp.
What are you looking forward to the most about cheer camp?
It’s that time of year again. When weekends are consumed of curling irons, hairspray,
oversized bows, and that beautiful blue mat! Yes, competition season is in full swing and coaches, cheerleaders, and parents have a lot going on. Between studying for finals or midterms, performing at basketball games, and making sure your competition routine is fun and exciting, competition season can be a very stressful time of year.
Having a flawless routine, a fun day, and wonderful memories is all anyone is hoping for. But there is a lot of work that leads up to that two and a half minutes on the floor. Many months of hard work and dedication lead to just one performance and a
few judges’ final decisions. Here are some tips on making sure your day runs smoothly and all you have to do is leave the results up to the judges:
The Week Of
Practice, practice, practice. You should have two to three practices the week of a big competition. Practice hard and use your time wisely! This week chatter needs to be to a minimum. Work is your number one priority! The last practice before competition should be your shortest of the week. Run through the routine three times and make sure the entire team is on the same page as far as pre-performance warm ups. How many mats are you able to practice on and what will you warm up on at each mat? Will you be able to use music? Find this all out and share with the team.
Pack up. Make sure
your uniform is cleaned and all pieces of your uniform are together in your bag! Don’t wait until the morning of to find the only clean pair of cheer socks you have left or
make sure your shoes are white. Start washing your uniform on Monday. That way it is dry and ready to be packed up Friday night.
The Night Before
Eat Healthy. Don’t eat too much the night before at your pasta party. Instead, eat a normal sized portion and include some veggies or a fresh salad with it. Ditch the soda and stick to water. The morning of, have a healthy breakfast and bring along a piece of fruit or granola bar so you don’t eat something less healthy out of the snack bar.
Get a good night’s sleep. Go to bed early. Avoid team sleepovers or going out late with your friends. You can do that to celebrate your win. Pop in your favorite Bring It On movie and relax. Go over your routine a few times in your head and then don’t think about it anymore. Let your muscle memory take control. Overthinking is never good for anyone.
The Day Of
Have fun and perform your butt off! You are there to do what you love to do: perform! Stick with your team and listen closely to your coach’s direction. Smile at the other teams and wish everyone luck. Teams remember each other when they make friends, not enemies. Watch everyone’s routines and, most importantly, have fun!
One of the big fitness trends this year is High-Intensity Interval Training (which
we talk about here). Athletes and fitness-fans of all kinds are trying Interval Training and seeing major results. Interval Training is especially great for individuals who don’t have a lot of time in their schedule to dedicate an hour on the treadmill, like cheerleaders. Interval Training gets your heart pumping in no time and you can get more done in 15 minutes than you would in that hour on the treadmill.
Fix.com shared a great guide all about Interval Training, including the benefits and how to get started. Take a look and then
visit Fix.com to see the whole article!
wear proper practice wear when working out, especially when performing something as high energy as Interval Training. Try the new Chasse C-Prime line, which includes a
compression-style sports bra, shorts, and racerback tank made from C-dri, the brand’s very own sweat-wicking fabric that keeps the body cool and dry.
Your team has practiced hard all week, given everything they’ve got, and then on competition day, they transition to their first sequence. Then, BAM, a partner stunt falls to the ground. Some teams can bounce back, and still put one heck of a show on while others immediately lose their rhythm, and it’s a trickle effect of one missed stunt, toss, or tumbling pass after another.
And, it’s even more painful to watch‚ whether you are one of the fans in the stands, or a coach sitting on the edge of the mat cringing in disbelief. What really matters next is how you move forward. It’s very easy for them to give up: crying their eyes out during awards, and sulking when they don’t hear their name announced during placement. The hardest part is digging deep, swallowing back their embarrassment, and flourishing to that moment of success. We’ve all been there‚ maybe sometimes more than we’d like to admit. As a coach, we have one job, and that’s to build them back up! There are times that we, as coaches, want to give up. There have been seasons that I had I just knew it wasn’t going to be our year, and I became complacent with that, but it wasn’t fair to my cheerleaders. Those girls came in‚ day in and day out‚ with broken toes, sprained backs, colds, cramps, and still kept going. So, we all had to find it in ourselves to move forward.
To fully move forward, we first needed to reflect on the moment as a whole. It will never be just one cheerleader’s fault, or one stunt group’s fault. Once the team starts throwing around blame with one another, they will never be able to grow from the experience. They have to be able to acknowledge that it’s everyone’s fault; everyone has a part in the routine, just as everyone can have a part in a toss that may not go, or the pyramid that just doesn’t hit. Once you have reflected on what you could have changed from that moment, then you can move on.
Next, you get back to work. You took some time to focus on what went wrong, and now, you have to work on all that so it will go right. Make changes as you see fit. If there’s a transition that’s a little shaky, focus on that. If there’s a flyer that you see struggling, spend a little extra time with them. Sometimes, it’s an easy fix of just switching around bases regarding their levels of strength, or moving a cheerleader to a different section of a formation to maximize their travel time. For the next few practices, you will not just be striving to make positive changes, but you be working on building their confidence back up, because without confidence, they will never move forward.
Once you have put in the work, now you have to encourage them‚ your team needs it! Even with bruised egos and broken hearts, they need to know that you are on their side. They need to know that no matter what, you will always be rooting for them and pushing them to be better. Some of the most influential coaches that I have ever had the pleasure of working with were successful because their cheerleaders respected and appreciated them. They didn’t mind the critique or extra push, because they knew that it came from a place of mutual respect. I have been coaching for over a decade, and each season, I always remind my team that, yes, I’m going to push them, and, yes, I’m going to ask them to dig deeper than they have ever thought possible. Because a good coach will always want you to be better than you were the day before.
How else can cheer coaches bounce back after a big loss? Tell us your competition season tips in the comments!