5 Cheer Strategies That Will Get You Ready for Competition Season
When cheer season starts, competitions may seem so far off that you delay training. But the earlier you can prepare for competition season, the better. Practice plays a huge role in your squad’s competition performance, but other factors are also important.
Here are 5 ways you can begin preparing for competition season now.
Coordinate Your Moves
One of the most important parts of your competition is how well your moves sync up with your teammates. Mistakes—that 99% of your normal audience would miss—will cost you on the judge’s scoreboard.
Coaches often find it hard to keep track of every cheerleader during a full-speed rehearsal. To combat confusion, spend time practicing slowly. Remove the music you will perform to. Give your team a mental beat so their moves match. Then go through your routine at a slow tempo. This will be tedious, but it will allow your coach to catch out-of-sync movements and correct them.
Perform Your Routine Before Competition
Private practice is great. It gives your team a comfortable, safe environment to make mistakes and improve. But the real thing is far more stressful. Much of this stress comes from cheering in front of new viewers. To prepare for this, practice stress control by performing in front of a large, unfamiliar audience.
Team sports are a great way to get in front of a crowd. If you can’t find any games in your area, ask around. Some events like parades with marching bands will take on cheerleaders if you contact them.
If you go to a new event, make sure you check the location before performing. Many venues have uneven or hard ground that makes stunts dangerous. Take mats with you if needed. If you can’t find level ground, cancel the engagement.
Fuel Your Body
Health-conscious eating is crucial for short and long-term performance. It will fuel your body, giving you energy and increasing strength and endurance. Build smart eating habits during the offseason and maintain them during the season.
Once competition begins, keep these habits. It can be tempting to celebrate a victory by chowing down on sweets. But the sudden introduction of sugar to your body can cause blood sugar spikes. These spikes often lead to lightheadedness. Also, your stomach may react badly to foods you’ve avoided for weeks.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying unhealthy food here and there. But wait until after competition season is over to allow yourself celebratory snacks.
Spend Personal Time on Cardio
As competition season nears, there’s a good chance your team is mostly practicing group coordination. This decision makes sense since practice is the one-time your coach has everyone together. However, you may find your cardio workout lacking especially if you are focusing on slow tempo coordination.
The best cheerleaders will spend time outside of practice building cardio. Here are some daily exercises with multiple benefits.
Swimming: Swimming strengthens your upper body, lower body, and cardio. It also puts little pressure on your joints.
Jump Rope: As well as strengthening your legs and lungs, jump rope improves your coordination.
Wind Sprints: Sprinting is excellent at building your quick-twitch muscles and at developing cardio. Since most cheer routines last around two and a half minutes, three minutes of wind sprints are closer to the real deal than 10 minutes of jogging.
Elliptical Trainer: If you have access to one of these machines, use it. It’s a great way to build up your body quickly with minimal joint stress.
Make a Packing List
Going to competition without your essentials can lead to disaster. Without a phone charger, you could lose battery and miss sharing exciting news with your family. Without water, you can become dangerously dehydrated. Without each uniform piece, you may be eligible for disqualification.
Planning ahead will prevent disasters like these from derailing your team’s chances of success. It will also help you feel more prepared so that you can focus on what’s important—competition success.
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1. Coordinate your movements with your teammates.
2. Perform in front of a new audience.
3. Keep your diet healthy and consistent for both the short and long term.
4. Spend personal time on cardio workouts.
5. Plan what items you will need ahead of time.