There are diets and healthy eating regimens and then there are eating disorders. The two are very different from each other and both are common amongst adolescent adults, particularly females. As a teammate and friend, know the differences between the two and what to do if you believe someone may have an eating disorder. What defines a diet? Before you can identify unhealthy eating, you have to know the differences between a diet and an eating disorder. Many athletes, even in high school, are on a diet. A diet doesn’t always mean the goal is to lose weight; a diet can also refer to an eating regimen. For example, a diet can be eating lean proteins and cutting out sweets or greasy foods. In school, this is the only type of diet an athlete should be on. A cheerleader’s goal shouldn’t be losing weight just to become skinner; the goal is to be healthy and fit. Remember, muscle is weight and cheerleaders need muscles to perform safely and powerfully! What’s an eating disorder? An eating disorder is harmful to one’s body. An eating disorder can either involve eating too little or eating too much. The entire goal of an eating disorder isn’t necessarily to become skinny (although that is common, especially among adolescents). Someone may fall prey to an eating disorder because of stress or because she isn’t feeling in control of her life. The two common forms of eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia can be easier to identify than bulimia. Anorexia is when someone eats little to no food; it is essentially starvation. Bulimia is when someone self-induces vomiting or takes laxatives. They may be eating a normal amount of food around friends and family but then purge when in the bathroom alone. Those with eating disorders also often exercise frequently and constantly worry about their weight. How else can I identify an eating disorder? If you don’t always eat with a friend or see what she does after lunch, it’s hard to notice someone’s eating habits. When someone is suffering from an eating disorder, he/she may lie to cover it up. At lunch she may tell you that she already ate, that she had a big breakfast, or that she’s feeling sick and doesn’t want to eat. Or, if she has bulimia, she may eat a healthy portion but go to the restroom to purge once you’ve left. There are other ways to know if your friend is in need of help. First, as mentioned before, eating disorders are often brought on by stress or lack of control. If a friend seems overly stressed, upset, or emotional, talk with him/her. While it’s not an automatic sign of an eating disorder, he/she could be having a lot of trouble in general and needs someone to talk to. Another sign is significant weight loss, hair loss, and a thinner face. If her clothes seem suddenly baggy or she’s much lighter to lift at practice, she may have an eating disorder. How do I handle a situation like this? First of all, never jump to conclusions. Weight loss or stress isn’t an automatic sign of an eating disorder. First of all, athletes so hard and so often that they can easily forget to take the time to eat a whole meal. (However, if this is the case, a parent or coach may still want to talk to her about nutrition, as a healthy weight is crucial as an athlete). Second of all, cheerleaders in general face a lot of stress and everyone handles it differently. If you do believe your friend has an eating disorder, don’t ignore it or assume it’s not a big deal. Whether he/she realizes or not, an eating disorder is a cry for help and is seriously dangerous. People can ruin their bodies and even die from eating disorders. You can save her life by getting help. When you help her, don’t bombard her with criticism or angry tirades about how bad an eating disorder is. She probably knows that already and even if she doesn’t, she won’t respond positively to negativity. You should first reach out to a coach or parent (either your parents or the friend’s parents). You should always get an adult involved. The friend’s parents deserve to know what’s going on so they can help. Depending on the extent or severity of the eating disorder, she may have to seek treatment, see a doctor, or take time off from school. If you decide to approach your friend with the coach and/or parents, keep the atmosphere comforting and safe. Your friend is going through something very tough and needs to feel loved by her friends and family. An intervention only works when the person feels safe. Remember… There is a big different between a diet and an eating disorder A cheerleader’s focus should always be on health, not weight. Everyone’s body is different! Eating disorders are serious and should never be taken lightly. Eating disorders aren’t always about losing weight. Never assume someone has an eating disorder. Always get help for a friend who is suffering from an eating disorder. Focus on helping a friend, not criticizing or lecturing her. Males are also victims of eating disorders and shouldn’t be overlooked. For more information about eating disorders, visit the National Eating Disorders Association.
There are those who do and those who teach; but cheer coaches and captains do both! Your squad is only as good as your cheers so it’s important to take the time to create creative and fun ones that you can recycle for another season. As football season approaches, now is the time to teach cheers and chants for games and pep rallies so your squad performs as great as your
team uniforms look!
When preparing to teach your cheers, keep in mind that everyone learns at a difference pace. Some catch on right away while others need the moves to be repeated a few more times. If some of your cheerleaders aren’t learning the routine quickly, don’t assume it’s because you’re a bad teacher or they’re bad cheerleaders. Give yourself time to teach and your squad time to learn.
Cheers and chants are an important part of a cheer squad’s season so they shouldn’t be rushed.
A great way to be able to teach
and help individuals along the way is to have an assistant coach or captain teach the routine while the coach walks around and watches out for anyone making a mistake or looking confused. Or, have the coach teach the routine and the assistant coach or captain help anyone struggling. It’s best if any mistakes or confusions are caught early and corrected.
Rather than teach an entire routine at once, try teaching in small segments. Start with two or three 8-count sets of routines and repeat until everyone memorizes those segments. Then, continue with the next few sets. After a new set is taught, repeat from the very beginning so the first sections aren’t forgotten.
When teaching a more difficult or long routine,
keep the spirits of everyone up during practice! When a practice session becomes too serious, people are more likely to stress out or get frustrated. Keep the mood light and fun. Compliment girls who are doing well and encourage others to keep smiling. It’s easier to teach and learn a routine when everyone is having fun.
Teaching a routine doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating. If you ever hit a roadblock and are having trouble completing a routine, turn to your squad for help! Your cheerleaders, assistant, and captain may have some fresh ideas that you never thought of doing. By collaborating, it’ll be easier to teach the routine!
However you choose to teach, make sure your squad wears
the right practice wear. By wearing comfortable and breathable tops and shorts, they’ll have an easier time moving.
Lycra tanks and shorts are particularly great options because they conform to the body’s shape. This will make it easier to spot any small but critical mistakes, like wrong hip placement.
What are your tips for teaching cheers or routines? What works best with your squad?
There’s no doubt that when you become a cheerleader, you aren’t just taking on a sport. You are taking on a family, a lifestyle and a dream. Cheerleading is one of the most time-consuming, and rewarding, commitments an athlete, coach and family will ever make.
The experience is worth every single second, but it also lends itself to a lot of questions. That’s why our team started the Cheerleading Blog. We built a network of experts that the cheer community can turn to; a team of athletes, parents, supporters, coaches, mentors and teachers.
Since we started, we have been opening discussions and offering advice for both the serious and spirited sides of cheer. Looking through all of our articles as the blog’s five-year anniversary approached, we were overwhelmed by all the information we had collected and shared over the years.
That’s when it hit us: we needed to find a way to update the most informative, inspiring, and just plain fun articles with new perspectives and fresh advice. So, we’ve been working on a top secret project and we’re excited to say that we can finally share it with you.
We are releasing our very own free print magazine called CheerLiving!
partnered with Chasse and some other really amazing industry leaders to create CheerLiving – a reimagined way to reach out to our readers and cover the most relevant issues for today’s cheer community.
Our exciting first issue is being released now through limited distribution with our partnership with Chasse. The full, free, digital version is available online now through subscription.
Sign up now and get instant access to the entire issue!
Our first issue centers on what’s happening in cheer now. As one season ends, a new one begins and brings opportunities for new bonds, new skills and new gear! We celebrate everything new with activities for teambuilding, tips for
ordering uniforms, and guidelines for the football season.
Our cover girl is none other than Maddie Gardner. Maddie might be the busiest cheerleader out there. Between college classes and cheerleading, hosting a cheer show, and
being the face of a cheer company, Maddie truly is full out, full time; incorporating cheer into every aspect of her life. In this issue, she uses her own experiences to help our readers balance life, cheer, and school.
We’re still Cheerleading Blog and we will continue to do what we always do: provide the most up-to-date news, information, and advice on everything cheer. Our goal with CheerLiving is simple: to help you reach your goals. Be sure to send us your questions, comments and feedback. We’re happy to share your stories, tips, and advice, and we love to hear about how your team celebrates the whole season – from tryouts to senior send-offs and all the fundraising, pep rallies, and competitions in between.
You can subscribe to receive the magazine or find out more information at
Every year, usually in May or June, students of all school levels
prepare for graduation. For high school and college, graduation is a big deal and includes many forms of celebrations and traditions. In anticipation of the graduation season, here’s a look at some of the major graduation traditions:
The Pomp and Circumstance Song
We’re all very aware of what most call “the graduation song.” The song was written in 1901 by Sir Edward Elgar. It’s known as the Pom and Circumstance and first played at a graduation ceremony in 1905 at Yale . Other schools quickly picked it up and it spread throughout the United States. In a matter of no time, the song was being played at nearly every school for graduation. Today, it is still widely used at graduations and other ceremonies.
The Cap and Gown
At both the high school and college level, students wear a traditional long gown and cap in their school colors (or just black). The graduation gown has been around for nearly forever, dating as far back as the 12th century, with academic scholars at schools wearing them as a way to show their status.
Oak Hall Cap & Gown explains, “In 1321, the of Columbia mandated that all Doctors, Bachelors, and Licentiates must wear gowns. In the latter half of the 14th century, excess in apparel was forbidden in some colleges and prescribed wearing a long gown.” It wasn’t until the late 1800s that schools began introducing different colors of gowns. The cap dates back to the 14th century as a way to signify superiority and intelligence.
Many schools and various stationary companies offer students the opportunity to buy fancy invitations that the student then sends out to family and friends, inviting them formally to the graduation. Sadly, this is all just rooted in the gift-giving tradition. Good etiquette basically states that if you receive a formal invitation to an event, you should probably give the host or celebrated individual a gift.
Tossing Your Cap in the Air
This tradition is all thanks to the Naval Academy.
CNY News explains, “Prior to the graduation of 1912, graduates of the academy were required to serve two years in the fleet as midshipmen before being commissioned as Navy officers, therefore they still needed their hats. The class of 1912 was commissioned from the time of graduation and received their officers hats, thus their hats were no longer needed, leaving the graduates free to toss their caps into the air and not worry about getting them back. The tradition then caught on at other institutions throughout the country. Now the action is regarded as a symbolic gesture of the end of a chapter in a graduate’s life.”
Moving the Cap Tassel
This act has only been around for fifty years or so, but it’s very much a tradition. Traditionally, before receiving your diploma and officially graduating, you keep your tassel on the right side of your cap. Once you graduate, you move it to the left. This signifies your shift from student to graduate. As for how it exactly started, no one is exactly sure!
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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.