Being a cheerleader is not as easy as many people would think. These athletes must devote a lot of their time conditioning, perfecting their technique on their skills, and practicing over and over again. Mastering skills takes hard work, patience, a good work ethic, strength, flexibility, a good attitude, and mental toughness. Since athletes can’t be in the gym 24/7, practicing at home is a necessity to their success.
Strength training is very important in the progressions as a cheerleader. As your strength develops, your fundamental and advanced skills will become easier and easier. Proper strength and conditioning workouts can have many benefits, the most important being injury prevention. Other benefits that it has for athletes include speed, agility, strength, power, endurance, mobility, stability, and balance. The gym is providing great exercises to stay in cheer shape when you are at home on the Next Level All Stars Instagram, @nextlevelcheerleading
Flexibility is not just important for flyers, all cheerleaders should be stretching and improving their flexibility. It is the backbone of effective stunts, jumps, and tumbling. Stretching has many benefits such as improving range of motion, power, posture, coordination and balance. It reduces post exercise muscle soreness, risk of injury, and fatigue. Stretching also develops body awareness, promotes circulation, relieves stress, and helps boost an athletes self-esteem.
For flyers: It is expected for flyers to have the flexibility to perform all body positions in a stunt. You should be practicing your balance and flexibility by stretching every night. You goal, as a flyer, is to have a heel stretch (both on your right leg and left leg), bow-and-arrow, scale, and scorpion. Stretch as often as you can and work on all areas of your flexibility.
Stay in Touch and Motivate Your Teammates
In this sport, teams will not accomplish their goals without teamwork. Each athlete must work together to achieve success. A successful team is made up of athletes that motivate and encourage each other. Be an exceptional teammate by being trustworthy, fighting for each other’s success, and positively take feedback and ownership of your mistakes. If you want to be surrounded by good teammates, be a good teammate because it starts with you. It is unbelievably important to be a team player. Also remember to stay in touch with your teammates, because they aren’t just your teammates they are your friends. Staying in touch with your teammates outside of the gym has many benefits that you don’t even realize. Encourage one another, make each other accountable for working out and stretching, and even ask how they are doing because it can make all the difference.
One of the most important ways to prepare yourself for challenges inside and outside the gym is to focus. Without focus, it will be difficult to remember what you’ve practiced in the gym, whether it is in your tumbling class or team practice. Learning to focus on what you done over and over again, until it becomes a good habit can greatly improve an athletes mental toughness when it comes time to compete. Focusing on the details of the routine that your coaches took time to perfect. They are vital to executing your routine at competitions to ensure you perform your best. Visualize your team routine and learn from the mistakes made during practice will help when need to react quickly when things in the routine don’t go according to plan. Set yourself and your teammates up for success by talking through issues and mistakes during practice in a positive and uplifting way. Putting in the time to train, both physically and mentally, can bring more success when it comes time to compete with your team.
An athlete that has patients demonstrates composure, perseverance, and eagerness in their performance of their routine. Having patients is an important ability, which allows an athlete to overcome annoyance or agitation when confronted with an problem or delay. Self-control comes as an asset in this sport because it makes you, as an athlete, better and helps you make the right decisions in a moment. Patience, just like anything else, needs to be practiced in the gym and at home.
A positive attitude can be learned and improved with the correct training and practice. Remember, attitudes are contagious. One teammates attitude can affect the entire team and dictate how successful a practice will be and is vital to the success of the team, especially during competition season. A positive attitude can be made into a habit. In order to have a positive mindset you should be a great listener, always look to get more feedback to improve, don’t complain when things don’t go your way, help others, have a “team comes first” attitude, be welcoming to new athletes/team members, communicate effectively, always be prepared, give your best effort no matter the outcome, and stay positive and encourage your teammates in good and bad times.
As an athlete, having a good work ethic will lead to greatness. The goals that you, as an cheerleaders set, and the goals that are set for your whole team can be accomplished through hard work, determination, and practice. Your work ethic is a skill can always be approved and will be used in all aspects of your life. It is not enough to just work on improving your jumps, tumbling, and stunting skills, you must work on improving your ability to work at improving your skills.
Tying Your Shoes
This might sound a little silly, but practicing typing your shoes will be a great help during cheer practice. In general, young athletes and even the older athletes, at times, don’t tie their shoelaces tight enough to last through practice time. The time taken from practice when an athlete needs to retie their shoe is overlooked. It happens more often than one might think. Also, think about doing all the skills in your routine or in a tumbling class and having your feet sliding around in your cheer shoes. This can cause rolled ankles, bases not being able to hold their flyers foot well enough, and effect an athlete when they tumble. Make sure to practice tying your cheer shoe so that it stays nice and tight so that it will make it through an entire practice. For the younger athletes, if you need help practicing to tie your shoes, you can always ask for help, either from a parent, a sibling, or one of your coaches. Remember, putting on and typing your shoes properly is the first step in the preparation for team or tumbling practice.
Practicing at home will help you become the best cheerleader you can be. Everything that was mentioned is going to take time and effort, but you can do it! If there are ever any questions about what you can be practicing at home, just reach out to one of the coaches here at Next Level All Stars. Every coach will be more than happy to help you to improve your cheerleading skills and be very thrilled that you want to put in the work and initiative to better your skills.