For those on the outside, competitive cheerleading is a fascinating sport where a routine is performed in front of an audience and judges. Teams compete against each other with a routine that is composed of tumbling, stunting, mat talk, and high-energy moves.
These routines may be breathtaking to watch but they are the result of months of preparation, painstaking practice, and diligent perseverance. Much like any other sport, competitive cheerleading needs preparation and careful planning, especially in the days before the competition season begins.
So, what does your business need for competition season? How do you prepare your students and ensure that your team has a successful season? We have a few suggestions that can help you hope for the best and ensure you’re prepared for the worst.
We have all heard it before, “practice makes perfect,” but in the case of cheerleading competition prep, nothing could be more accurate. Cheerleading is a difficult, and sometimes dangerous, sport that requires team members to coordinate, move in unison and fully trust one another.
Cheerleaders are not just performing next to each other as a team; they depend on one another to perform the routine. Stunts, jumps, and tumbling passes require extensive practice to make sure that nobody gets hurt in the process and that the timing of each move is perfected down to the millisecond.
When feeding off the energy from the audience, practice to ensure the routine is executed to perfection becomes even more crucial. In the days before the competition, preparation should include practices focused just on the routines for the event. Keep important notes in your class management system so you don’t forget certain moves that need extra attention or which song goes with each routine.
Have your team practice in front of a crowd and ask them to warm up together as they would at a competition. Becoming comfortable performing in front of others can be a complete game-changer on the actual day of the competition. Stage fright is not uncommon, especially for novice competitors. If your athletes get used to being watched by an audience, they will not feel as stressed in front of judges.
Learn the Competition Procedures
Competition routine preparation begins with learning the competition procedures. Make sure that you and your coaches know which rules you must follow and which skills are required for each level. Then, carefully design your choreography around these rules and ensure that the routine includes the skills the judges expect to see.
If you want to receive the highest possible score, then you need to be well-versed in the cheerleading scoring lingo. For example, are extra points given for specific moves? How are points deducted? Is it better to have your team perform a flawless, yet easy routine? Or should you venture into a more difficult one and risk some imperfections that might reflect in their overall score? These are things you should be well aware of before teaching the routine itself. Then make sure to communicate how points are earned and deducted to your athletes so they are prepared when they walk onto the mat.
Create a Packing List
No competition prep would be complete without a packing list! In the days before the event, sit down and mentally go through the competition day. Take notes of everything you and your team will need on that day.
Start with the obvious ones like uniforms, shoes, and other essentials. Then think about make-up and hair products and other things that might come in handy such as an emergency sewing kit. Finally, keep the packing list somewhere where you can easily add things to it as they pop in your head. Provide a list to your students and parents to make sure they don’t forget anything important either!
Before the competition, carefully go through your list and pack everything you have written on it. While it may not be packing-related, add “check out the competition venue” to your to-do list. Ensure that you know where the competition will be held, how long it will take you to get there, and that you have a clear idea of where to park once you arrive!
Have an Emergency Plan
Since cheerleading is a sport that can easily lead to accidents and injuries, plan ahead and think of the next steps should the unfortunate happen. Having a first-aid kit is a good first step and knowing where to seek emergency medical help is critical.
Similarly, make sure that you know if anyone on your team has allergies and takes special medications. Bring the medication with you and know where it is at all times. An easy way to keep track of allergies is by logging it into your class management system. You can access this information with the click of a button if an emergency arises.
The chances of something this extreme happening are quite slim, but it is better to be safe than sorry. An emergency plan will save you from a lot of trouble. So, have one prepared, and hope you won’t need it.
Cheerleading competitions are a lot of fun but can lead to stress if you and your athletes are not prepared. If you want the competition to flow seamlessly and your team to make heads turn with their performance, start planning and preparing ahead of time. Competitions are hectic, but if you know how to prepare for a cheer competition, then it is bound to be a day to remember!
Don’t forget that a class management system can make your life easier all year round! See how Jackrabbit can help your cheer gym by starting a free trial.
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