School Tryout Tips!

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It is that time of year that everyone starts getting ready for their school tryouts. There is nothing more rewarding than making your school team and representing your school as a cheerleader! Most girls and recently many boys want to experience cheering at a competitive or even a non-competitive school. Band chants, pom poms, Friday night lights, pep rallies, practices, and championships are all priceless experiences, but what exactly does it take to make the team?

 

I helped pay for college by coaching kids trying out for schools and could pretty much guarantee my students would make the team. At the time I worked with most of the schools and knew exactly what they wanted. I worked with the best athletes that I wanted on those teams. I learned very quickly that being honest with the student and the parents was the most important factor in training, success, and satisfaction with my lessons.

I remember telling one young lady that making cheerleading may be more challenging than she was thinking. Most of the other girls had taken gymnastics and cheered all stars for years while she was just getting interested as a beginner. Tryouts were only a few weeks away! As her eyes started swelling with tears, I told her not to worry. Making the team will not make your life better, but reaching a goal will. I told her that we should set some goals for tryouts, and then let’s set some long term goals for her as well. she told me that she did not care if she made it, but she wanted to give it a shot!

She worked harder than any other student those next few weeks. She nailed all the motions and got the choreography for tryouts perfect. We worked hard on those things as the acrobatic skills of tumbling and jumping can not be safely mastered in mere weeks. She did not make the team that year, but she was extremely happy with her scores and she placed much higher than expected. She decided to spend the next year focusing on the athletic tumbling and jumping skills she needed to have for the following year’s tryouts.

She was the highest score the next year. She went on to cheer all the way through high school and became the captain. This great athlete went on to cheer in college! She will tell you that I helped all of that happen and she learned so much, but I will tell you something very different. She taught me more about the process than anything else.

First, we all know it is nearly impossible to work for two weeks and catch up with people that have worked for years, but you can easily outwork them in that time and focus on what will give you the best shot. Hard work and heart serve as a great equalizer when you are competing against talent.

Second, using a tryout as a learning experience instead of viewing the tryout as one shot and it’s over not only pays off, but can help make you a great athlete! What she learned from that tryout, she mastered in the gym the next year while most of the girls did not even start working again for tryouts until a month before the tryout date. This allowed her to not only catch them, but to pass them!

Third, a training plan is not only important, it is imperative for safety and success. Every parent and student should expect their coach to work with them on a training plan that fits the current state of the student while working towards the long term goals. If that means training for a year and trying out again, that is what the coach and student should do.

Fourth, she taught me that in cheerleading, anything is possible. No one expected her to ever make it, and she became the school’s best athlete. As a coach, it would have been easy for me to tell her to try another sport, or to charge her for privates while just throwing her over in back handsprings to make her happy. I could have just said that there was no need to continue working, but realizing her dream and her goal helped me make a long term plan that I had not done in the past. Now I realize that a plan is the first thing you should talk about when starting your adventure!

Finally, she taught me that the other girls better watch out! At this school it was very rare for someone to make the team that was not on it before. When she made it her second year of tryouts, she bumped one of the most talented and successful girls off of the team. That girl thought she was going to make it easily and did not prepare for the tryouts. That girl never cheered again.

At CMC our coaches are trained to work with the students and come up with a safe and effective plan to help them reach their goals. If your goal is to make your school team follow these steps for success:

 

  1. Start training long before the tryout date. The longer the better. Weeks are better than days, months are better than weeks, and years are better than months. Any goal worth achieving takes time, commitment, and hard work.

  2. Do not think a coach is a golden ticket. I chuckle every time I hear moms say, “You have to work with ___________, everyone that makes it works with her!” Trust me, I am a great coach, and I have never made any athlete make a team. Working with a coach is a lesson. Then you go back and spend time on what they told you to do. If you make that team, you earned it through hard work and talent. The coach was no secret and was only a small factor in your placement.

  3. Lessons are important but gym time is more important. The more you work on the skills, the more confidence you will get. You need to put in some serious gym time, and most of that should be working on your own.

  4. Opt for classes over privates and use privates to supplement classes, not vice versa. Classes are more like tryouts and show you what you will be competing against. A private is great for working on problems, but practicing is often more efficient and less expensive in classes. If you have to choose one, choose classes!

  5. Athletic skills win tryouts. I have judged thousands of tryouts, and I have a theory. I have stated that I could line up the 50 girls trying out for an all girl team and watch each of them do one toe touch. I told them I could choose the team based on that one jump. A year later, I put that to the test. I watched 62 girls trying out for 20 spots on a junior high team do one toe touch and chose the 20 I thought the judges would take. These were great judges! I was wrong! I missed one girl. ONE! 19 of the girls I chose made the team. Why did this work? Because a cheerleading toe touch is not a natural action. You must have strength, flexibility, and coordination, and most of all, you must have trained to perfect this skill. An athlete with a great toe touch most likely is a good tumbler and has confidence to make the team! Work on athleticism.

  6. Do not base your happiness on becoming a school cheerleader. If you do not make it this year, cheerleading has tons of options for people that do not make their school team. You can always join a class, join an all star team, or attend camps and clinics. Some of these are even more fun and rewarding than cheering at school for some students. If you want to become a cheerleader at your school, you can! It just may take more time.

  7. Be healthy in all aspects of your life. Cheerleading is a very physically and emotionally challenging activity. You need to be in tip top shape and focused at every practice. A healthy and strong athlete always has an edge over the competition! Eat healthy, get rest, stay hydrated, stretch, and stay in shape.

  8. This is possibly the most important tip! Cheerleading is extra curricular. That means it is something that you do outside or in addition to your school work. Many schools have teacher recommendations and grade requirements. There is nothing more upsetting to me than seeing a talented cheerleader get cut because they did not do their job in the classroom! Be a good manager of time, and focus on grades. If you can not do that, do not bother trying out because it will not make school easier for you.

  9. Last but not least. Never give up! After coaching the girl in this story, I have seen it take others two or three years to reach their goal, but I have never seen anyone not reach the goal that worked hard and never gave up! You can do it, and you will with hard work and dedication!

Good luck and happy training on your quest! Make the experience positive and rewarding. CMC is now offering tryout classes and programs, and we are doing something that is unheard of! We are offering a total gym access pass for only $115 a month. Train at the gym as much as you want for the whole month for this one low fee. If you would like more information on this or any other school tryout programs please visit us here: www.centralmisscheer.com/tryout-classes.

 

Posted on January 7, 2016 .

How to Get Started in Cheerleading

CMC coaches get great emails each week from kids wanting to get involved in the great sport of cheerleading, but these kids or their parents just do not know where to start. Often these kids would like to cheer in school or try all stars, but they feel like they are a little behind their peers who have been tumbling or training for a while. Because of the overwhelming amount of these emails, the CMC coaches felt like it would be a good idea to address these questions on our Training Tips site!

So what should you do to get involved in the great sport of cheerleading? First, you must realize that there are all kinds of opportunities for you and everyone in the sport! You have school cheer, All Star cheer, tumbling classes, other classes and clinics, and finally you have the new Recreational Cheerleading teams that anyone can enjoy while working on their skills. Next, you must realize that cheerleading is NOT all about that Back Flip! 

Yes, tumbling has become a very important part of cheerleading, but it is only a small part of any tryout or even a team's competition score. Most schools do not even require much tumbling! In these emails that our CMC coaches get weekly, we explain that you should train to tumble, but you must also spend time on improving your jumps, motions, cheers, and dance! These are all very important skills that will determine your future in the sport.

One of the questions we get is, "All my friends are really good and already have tumbling, so is it too late for me to start?" Our answer is always a definite "NO!" Anyone of any age can enjoy the positive benefits of cheerleading, and they can all progress extremely fast if the conditions are right. Athletes and quick learners that can follow instructions not only improve rapidly, but they often catch and sometimes surpass their more experienced peers! Were you an athlete? A Dancer? Did you play soccer, softball, volleyball, or run track? If you answered yes to any of these, you are already two steps ahead! Your transition into cheerleading will be fun and easy! If you answered no, that is ok too! CMC has programs for all ages, experience, and ability levels.

If you want to know how to get yourself, your friend, or your child started in cheerleading, the CMC coaches can help! First, please do not hesitate to contact us! We will help you through the process in a fun and exciting way. Next, try to follow some of these tips to help you get the most out of this rewarding decision:

1. Set up a meeting with a coach. You might be surprised to learn that you are already many steps ahead of a beginner!

2. Start with a program that is fun, low commitment, and rewarding with very little intimidation. At CMC we have developed our Recreational Cheerleading Program to fit these guidelines perfectly! If you would like more information on this program click here.

3. Do not get discouraged! Anyone and everyone will improve as they train. Work with your coach to set short term goals and celebrate when you achieve them! You will improve faster than you think.

4. Do not forget to train at home. Strength and flexibility are the two largest factors in determining how great you can become in the sport of cheerleading. Your coach can give you a short daily routine that when combined with the coach's instruction will guarantee rapid and safe progression.

5. Focus on the positive benefits of our sport. Yes, cheering can become very competitive, but competition does not have to and should not be the focus. A cheerleader on any level and of any age is a healthier, stronger, and more confident person. This is why you should enjoy the sport and realize that these positive things are the most important returns on your time and money investments. 

6. Grab some friends and start as a group! It is always easier to train with a group and cheerleading is an ultimate team sport, so build up your team! CMC is starting our Recreational Cheer Program right now, and you could fill up a team with your friends! Have fun and learn together. Of course you can always and will always make lifelong friends at CMC, but some people find that it is more comfortable to start with a few friends.

The CMC coaches love to get people started in the sport that we love, and we have made a commitment to show anyone that wants to experience the positive benefits of cheerleading on any level the right path to success. Please keep those emails coming and contact us with any questions or comments, and we hope to see you at CMC!

Posted on August 22, 2015 and filed under Training.

Do's and Don'ts for Cheer Parents

Do’s and Don’ts to Help your Child Reach His or Her Goals in the Gym

Coaches are always bombarded with the question, “How do you put up with those cheer moms?!” Well the answer is simple. Without the cheer moms and dads, we would not have successful cheerleaders, so great coaches work hard to educate parents on the best way to help their child reach short term and long term goals. The ones that listen typically form a great team of success with their child, their family, their coach, and their team. Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts we have learned over the years.

DO realize that this is your child’s sport and therefor the goals that are set must be that of your child. It is important for your child to set easily attainable short term goals as well as great and exciting long term goals. Talk with your child about what they would like to accomplish within the sport and what skills they would like to eventually master. Let them set some short term and long term goals that they can discuss with their coach. Urging your young athlete to set goals and supporting them will help them achieve those goals, and it is one of the best things a parent can do for your child inside and outside of the gym!

DON’T set the goals for your child. You may want them to succeed at a fast pace and try to encourage them to get that next skill, but it is the child’s sport. Coaches very rarely see results from kids whose parents are setting the goals and pushing them to get that next skill. You want the child to feel excited when they master a new skill they wanted, not relieved when they mastered a new skill their parent wanted.

DON’T get caught up in team levels and progressions. In the long term, these will not matter. All kids progress differently. Coaches see kids that master lower level skills easily while it takes them years to hit the more advanced skills, and we see kids that struggle for years to master lower level skills yet once they achieve these, they fly through the elite skills like a light switch has been turned on for them. In the long term, everyone can be successful no matter what level or pace of progression.

DO stay positive about their success and their training. Every young athlete will get frustrated, and they will look to you to vent. That negative action is fertilized by a negative response. Coaches typically tell parents to only speak positively to their young athletes about training and progression. A simple, “I love you, and I am proud of you for all you have accomplished and will accomplish in the future,” will go further than you know the next time your young one comes to the car frustrated after a tough practice.

DON’T get frustrated with your child’s progression or show negative signals to them during or after a training session. Confidence is as important as training in tumbling skills. A parent that says, “We are not leaving until you throw it!” might as well be the dad that throws the kid off the high dive that’s screaming with terror and afraid of heights! It rarely helps them overcome fear and can be the sole thing that creates what some people call a “mental block.”

DO encourage your kids to train more often, come to practice, and stay involved. Cheerleading is a team sport. Many believe it is the ultimate team sport where the success and safety of each individual is determined by every other individual on the team. At some point your child will get frustrated, become more socially involved with friends, get a boyfriend/girlfriend, or just get teenage lazy! At these times they will try to make many excuses to give up on their goals. These hiatuses from training are very typical and they are almost always temporary. Do not let your child give up on their goals until they have reached them. They will appreciate it in the end if even for the exercise!

DON’T ever think that you are on your child’s team. You are not and never will be, and the rest of the team knows it. There is nothing more embarrassing for a child than to have a parent that acts like they are part of the team. Your only place on the team is cheering for them and being supportive! That mother that jumps another child for “dropping” their kid is almost always wrong and is ALWAYS out of line. Concerns should be handled behind closed doors and away from your child and others with your child’s coach. Negative parents result in negative athletes, and that always results in more “drops” or failures.

DO expect more from your child. Children have been coming up with excuses since Cain and Abel! It always makes a coach grit their teeth when we hear words like burnout, bad grades, exhaustion, or problems at home. The coaches can tell you that your kids are capable of much more as I am sure their teachers tell you the same at school. There will be times when stress may cause them to abandon their goals, but it is a parent’s job to make sure this never happens. A successful person is always one that works the hardest! Your kids CAN do it all. If you need help with grades or school work, I am sure the coach will be right there in your corner, but never use your child’s athletic training as an excuse for failure at other parts of their lives. The gym should and will help to make them better, stronger, smarter, healthier, more confident, and ultimately more successful.

DO set healthy habits for your young athlete. A healthy, flexible, and in shape athlete is one that will safely reach their goals. It has been proven time and time again that we get these healthy traits from our homes. Stay involved in the health, nutrition, and training of your young athlete. It will be the one of the best gifts you can ever give them for their future.

DO stay active in learning about your child’s sport! There are tons of resources out there that can help you understand the often confusing world of cheerleading. Always stay involved in the program, and communicate with your coaches about your child’s goals and progressions. The more you learn, the more fun you will have watching your child and their team.

There are many more Do’s and Don’ts, and we are sure you will learn some of those on your own, but we as coaches appreciate the fact that you took the time to read and understand this small snippet of info we have learned. You are among the few that are already well on your way to helping your child reach their goals!

Posted on July 8, 2015 and filed under Parents.

Perfect Your Child's Tumbling at Home!

Any parent of a cheerleader knows that it is impossible if not too expensive to spend every waking hour in the gym working on that tumbling, but what can you do if your child has goals they want to pursue? Well there is some great news. There are ways that you can help perfect any level of tumbling at home without being a professional coach! First, realize that the basics of tumbling are all the same. It is merely a new way to move your body. Even Olympic gymnasts work on the basics of this new movement everyday! The more they do it, the more natural and easier it becomes.

Handstands, backbends, roundoffs, and cartwheels are all part of these basics that each athlete must master and keep perfected everyday in order to see their true potential. All of these can be worked on at home. In this article we are going to provide you with the 10 Steps to a Perfect Backwalkover! The backwalkover does many things for a tumbling athlete. It helps strengthen the body while working on flexibility and control. These are they key ingredients to mastering any level of tumbling! Backwalkovers also get our athletes used to going backwards which is the most difficult and scary thing about tumbling to most beginners.

The best news is that this is a great and easy skill to get at your house! First, your young athletes needs to have a handstand and a backbend, so make sure that these things are worked on and developed each day. When these skills are mastered in a clear and safe place in your home or yard, you are ready to move on to the backbend kickover. Once you athlete has kickover easily, a backwalkover should be a simple and easy combination of the skills. 

Below is a checklist for the perfect backwalkover. Please use it, print it, check it off and bring it to the gym! If your child completes all 10 steps perfectly two things are going to happen. First, the coaches are going to award that child with a great CMC Prize! Second, your child's tumbling will improve no matter what level they are, and their confidence will go through the roof!

Keep in mind that your child only needs to begin on this task when they have mastered a backbend and kickover, and that completing all 10 steps is very challenging for even the most elite tumblers! This is a great way for parents and kids to work on tumbling at home. Use your phones and cameras to video and photograph the steps and compare them to the pictures. You will be shocked and surprised by the great results when this at home checklist is mastered! 

"Hard Work comes Before Success"

Posted on June 22, 2015 .

Safety Alert - Splash Into Health

Is someone in your house a little moody? A prescription of H2O could be all that they need to improve their mood and keep them safe at practices. Everyone knows what dehydration is. It merely means our bodies are losing more water than we are taking in. We also know that there are major risks with dehydration on our bodies, muscles, and joints, but how much do we really know? Did you know that even mild dehydration can lead to injury? Did you know that anyone can be dehydrated? We often think that only those athletes playing outside in hot weather are at risk, but that is not the case! In fact, new studies have shown that anyone can be dehydrated and the odds are that you are dehydrated right now and may not even know it!

Erica Kenney, from Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, noticed that "kids weren't really drinking that much fluid.” She wondered if that was posing any problems for them. Researchers reported in the American Journal of Public Health that more than half of the several thousand students studied between 2009 and 2012 were at least mildly dehydrated. The Institute of Medicine says children and teenagers should on average consume around three quarts of water a day. That’s 96 ounces!!! Of course this includes all your water needs, so juices, fruits, and vegetables can all help you get the numbers up. Keep in mind that this goal does not include young athletes that should definitely take in more when they are practicing, playing games, or sweating it out in the gym.

Recommendations for helping you get to this amount of fluids are all over the place, and the results are all about water, water, water. KidsHealth says that active kids should drink milk and water with limited 100% fruit juices. Everyone says to limit sugar consumption with sodas, sports drinks, and other sweetened beverages. 96 ounces of popular sports drinks contain around 168 grams of sugar! The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar a day for adult women and way less for children! Most sodas and sports drinks have much more than this in one serving. So try to avoid getting your hydration on by drinking sugary beverages. Some research even compares the long term risks in sugary drinks to smoking. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want our kids smoking! If you or your child needs a little help choking down the boring water that keeps us alive, flavor it with lemon or lime, or try small amounts of sugar free sweeteners.

So is your child going to fall out at the gym, which is cooled to a perfect 72 degrees, and suffer a major issue with dehydration? Probably not, but researchers have learned a lot more from recent studies that may make you raise an eyebrow and grab your young one and yourself another glass of water. Even mild dehydration may affect our moods and ability to concentrate. In a 2012 study by the University of Connecticut's Human Performance Laboratory it was found that in healthy young women mild dehydration dampened moods, increased fatigue, and led to headaches. It was also said to lead to issues focusing.

So let’s break this down like a true professional and concerned cheerleading coach. First, most kids are mildly dehydrated throughout the day. Well that is not a shock. They need to drink more water! Second, dehydration is bad, but even mild dehydration can have some negative effects. Third, most stunting and tumbling not only require superior athletic ability, they also require 100% of an athlete’s concentration and focus to be performed in the safest manner possible. Finally, even mild dehydration leads to poor moods?! Great! Now over half of our kids are not focused, are tired, and are moody! What can we do???

It is not as simple as just requiring more trips to the water fountain. Most studies suggest that we should be consuming water throughout the day to make sure we stay completely hydrated. That means our kids should be taking in healthy fluids from the time they wake up. So here is a challenge for you! Make sure you and your kids are drinking adequate amounts of water throughout the day! I mean, who wants to deal with a more moody child?! We can also keep our kids more focused and safe when they are training. Make sure water is always on the menu!

Diclaimer: We are not doctors or nutritionists. We are merely cheerleading coaches that care a lot about the safety and well-being of our kids. That is why we research ways to keep them safe every day and try our best to make their experience in the gym more fun and more successful. We urge you to do your own research and talk to your doctors and nutritionist about all dietary and health issues with your family.

Posted on June 19, 2015 and filed under Health.

Be a Better All Star

Shane Womack, owner of Cheer Media, wrote an article that is a great guide for those wanting to get the best out of their All Star experience. It is great for young athletes to use as a guide for guaranteed success, and the article has very helpful tips for All Star parents. Take some time for this quick and educational read. You can check out the article here:

http://cheerdaily.com/8-ways-to-be-a-better-all-star-athlete/

Posted on June 17, 2015 .