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The Cheer Mom’s Guide to Tryouts

The Cheer Mom’s Guide to Tryouts

“That famous 1 week in May we all know as the off-season is just around the corner.”

What are your plans for the ‘time off’ from cheer? A short family vacation? Sleeping in on the weekends? Staying FAR AWAY from makeup and hair products? Oh, your daughter is going to the gym every night this week? She has to get that next skill so she can level up at tryouts. There is no rest for the weary in all-star cheer.

Pause, laugh, and then realize that yes, this is what you sound like. This is what we ALL sound like. Crazy isn’t it?

Look I’m not going to give you a “I’m better than that” because I’m not. I was that mom. I AM that mom. I may even start a 12 step program: Cheermoms Anonymous.

After a big disappointment at “team placements” last year (they are not tryouts – everyone makes a team), I was forced to dig deep and look at my own interaction with my daughter and cheer. After dealing with her disappointment I had to get over my own. And while the road is long, I do feel I am on my way and have learned a lot that I would like to share.

TIP 1:  MORE IS NOT BETTER

The gym offers open practices, tumble and stunt classes, tryout clinics and privates every day. This is to accommodate the number of kids at the gym and make it accessible, not because they expect your child to show up every day. In fact, just because your child does not miss a day at the gym does not mean that she has a better chance of moving up to a new team or level.

TIP 2:  HAVE A PLAN

Cheerleading today is not what it used to be! As a mom, it can be frustrating (to say the least) trying to come up with the right words and advice to help your child prepare for tryouts. Even if you used to cheer back in middle school or high school, cheerleading today is NOT  what it was 10 years ago . . . the skills, rules, and athleticism have changed!

So the key is to have a plan!

Know what to do, how to help, and have a weekly plan to help your child build confidence for tryouts. I advise you to schedule a parent coaching call to get some tips from cheer fitness expert, Danielle Donovan! On these calls, Danielle will help you understand what your cheerleader is going through on the mat create a customized action plan to get tryout ready. Click here to schedule a call. 

TIP 2:  TAKE BREAKS

Let kids be kids. The research in youth sports shows that variety of activity, breaks, unstructured play and good old time off are equally beneficial, if not more, than continual training. If you have a month with no mandatory cheer, let your child go 1-2 times a week and use the other days to try something new, hang out as a family or even go on a short trip.

TIP 3:  BE A PARENT, NOT A COACH

There is nothing that your child wants more than your love and praise. Give them praise, lots of it. Comfort them when it doesn’t go their way. Don’t meet your child in the gym parking lot with 15 minutes of videos from her class to critique. Let her tell you what was a win, and what she may want to work on more.

TIP 4:  PERFECTION, NOT PROGRESSION.

This is not the time of year to cram in as many new skills as you can before evaluations. That creates undue pressure and stress for your athlete as well as for you. Help your child set some goals so that she may walk into placements confident in the skills she has and feeling comfortable about showing off. 

You can check out the CHEERFIT workouts – a great way to build strength, confidence, and get tryout ready! 

Remember why our children participate in cheer – to be a part of a team, to gain physical skills, mental endurance and confidence, and to have fun. My daughter’s coach said, “It’s not tryouts, it’s team placements. Remember she is not trying out for a team she is being evaluated to be placed on any team in the gym.”

Set goals and work toward them but also realize that team placement does not measure her ability to succeed in this sport.

DR. BLAIR GREEN PT, DPT, OCS

is a physical therapist and owner of Catalyst Physical Therapy in Atlanta, GA.  She is also the mom of CHEERFIT Ambassador Leah, who cheers for the Stingray Allstars. When she’s not busy taking care of Leah and her older brother, she keeps herself fit through Pilates, running, and OrangeTheory Fitness. Secret: she has been caught a time or two sneaking in a CHEERFIT Challenge. 

Loving these exercises and that CHEERFIT STRONG feeling? Sign up for the newsletter and we’ll send you weekly workouts, motivation – woot woot! 

Do’s and Don’ts for Parents and Coaches

Do’s and Don’ts for Parents and Coaches

To say the least, cheerleading practice can be overwhelming for parents as well as coaches. I am both a parent and a coach. Who better to give you tips than someone who functions in both roles? There are some things that only parents may understand, and some only coaches may understand.

Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts to help us all coexist during practice:

FOR PARENTS

DO:

Allow the coaches to coach. Whether practice is closed or open, allow the coaches to do their job without interruptions. Nothing is more unnerving than a parent yelling corrections during their child’s practice. Athletes may get confused if you’re shouting corrections and giving instructions louder than the coach. Athletes may also find it distracting to have parents sitting in on a practice. Coaches may not always do things the way you may think they should, but every coach has a method that works for them.

“Trust them and their process.”

DON’T:

Skip out on practices. Cheerleading is a team sport, and all members are needed for the team to have an effective and productive practice. Emergencies and interruptions to schedules happen, but try not to miss unless it is absolutely necessary.

“Encourage your athlete to be physically present in mind and spirit and to practice with a purpose.”

FOR COACHES

DO: 

Come to every practice prepared. I recommend having a written plan in hand. This not only will help you stay focused; but it can also help you critique and measure your goals and progress. I have a notebook where I keep my plans and goals for each of my teams. It truly is my handy dandy notebook, and I “never leave home without it.” Athletes feed off their coach, their preparedness, and execution.

“Being prepared will help you and your team stay on task and have an effective practice.”

Also…

Make each practice an enjoyable experience. I’m in no way saying throw discipline, high expectations, and skill progression out the window. I am saying change it up according to the age and skill level. My mini’s love freeze dance. After a rough practice, I allow them to play freeze dance before leaving. My older teams enjoy having me practice with them or demonstrate for them. I also enlist the help of my parents. The dads seem to enjoy basing for their daughters, and the mothers love being a part of parent routines. I want each girl to enjoy coming to practice and leave with a smile.

“It’s a challenge, but it can be accomplished with creative thinking and planning.”

DON’T:

Disregard your parents’ concerns. Allow a time outside of practice when you are available to speak with parents to answer questions or address concerns that they may have about their child’s progress. Be up front and honest about your expectations and assessments. Most parents don’t go home and study cheerleading rules and practice procedures. We need the coach to help parents understand why there is such a thing as skill progression. “Why can’t my athlete just learn a backhand spring even though she can’t do a handstand just yet?”

“Parents will find it easier to trust you as coach if you address their concerns and you keep an open line of communication.”

COACH KELLI MARIN

Is owner and head coach Spirit Enhancers All Stars located in Portsmouth Va. Coach Kelli has been coaching for 17 years and gym owner for 11. She has received the “30 Under 30” coach of the year award awarded by Cheer ltd., top finalist for Ameri Cheer Coach of Year and 2016 choreography award recipient awarded by Eastern Cheer and Dance.

Loving these exercises and that CHEERFIT STRONG feeling? Sign up for the newsletter and we’ll send you weekly workouts, motivation – woot woot! 

Mariah Hutton

Mariah Hutton

“Hard work and Dedication Pays off!”

CHEERFIT AMBASSADOR FEATURE: MARIAH HUTTON

The CHEERFIT ambassador community is filled with leaders and motivators who all share a passion for fitness, love for cheering and drive to help inspire others.

Our ambassadors share with us their personal stories and obstacles they overcome along the way. We have an amazing community of athletes who fuel their passion and determination with the CHEERFIT lifestyle.

CAN YOU SHARE WITH US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AND HOW YOU GOT TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?

Mariah was born with spirit in her eyes. she started tumbling around the house and walking on the edge of couches and doing splits when she was a three year old. She just couldn’t stop. My older son (13 year old now) had been playing little league football so I went ahead and put her in cheer for his team as their little mascot. She learned pretty quickly and fell in love with it. She did that for tow years and a friend introduced me to Cheer Eclipse. I didn’t know much about competitive cheer at the time. Her dad and I took her to open gym and a meeting. She was six years old by then and was teaching herself how to do a back bend. She was there for open gym for two hours and by the time we left she was doing a back bend walkover. The owner was pretty impressed and asked me to bring her to a class and it went from there. She has now been with Cheer Eclipse for 3 seasons going on 4. She is a flyer and helps base at times. She is such a leader and an inspiration to others. Mariah started doing heel stretches and scorpions at a young age and we didn’t really know the names of them at the time, she learned by watching on TV and watching the older girls. She was able to get her full straight Scorpion by her 2nd season of cheer.


Cheer is her life and her passion, even on her off days, she still is working on something at home.


Mariah is a perfectionist so anything she tries, she will not stop until she succeeds. Mariah is always full of fun, sass and spunk. She is super outgoing and she cares so deeply for others that if they are sad, she is sad. Cheer is her life and her passion, even on her off days, she still is working on something at home. Mariah didn’t have any issues as a young child, so we don’t really have a struggle as of now. There was a time when she first started at Cheer Eclipse she was only 1 of 2 minorities on her squad at the time so she went through an “insecurity” phase and wondered why her hair was different or why her skin color was different. There was nothing bad that had happened to her, she is a very detailed person and pays attention to everything so I think it’s something she noticed on her own. The girls there never made her feel bad, they have always made her feel welcome and part of the team and loved. They are family, they are “cheer sisters”. I’m honestly not sure why she went through this, but she did. I had to constantly talk to her to let her know she should love who she is and what she looks like no matter what her hair looks like and her skin color. Eventually she overcame that and gained her confidence again. Mariah now has more confidence than I have ever seen and she loves who she is and owns it. I am Mariah’s biggest cheerleader and she is not only an inspiration to others, she is my inspiration as well!

– CHEERFIT Ambassador Mariah Hutton

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS?:

Mariah did work hard at getting her scorpion to be straight and her jumps high and legs straight. She has also worked really hard on her tumbling and getting her Back handspring. She’s recently completed a full series and is super proud of herself as am I. Mariah’s words,”mom, i’m super proud of my back hand spring series!”

HOW HAS BEING AN AMBASSADOR HELPED YOU REACH YOUR GOALS?

Mariah’s words: “Since I have had to help base this season more than usual, the CHEERFIT workouts have helped me with my strength and endurance. I have gained more confidence than ever and look mom, i’ve got a sixpack!” “Being a base and using my strength from the CHEERFIT workouts have also made me work hard at my flying skills and stretching. I love the CHEERFIT flyer workouts too, I even get my mom to do some of these workouts with me.” Being a better flyer will help my bases at their job also. I will continue to do these workouts daily!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT BEING A CHEERFIT AMBASSADOR?

My favorite part of being a CHEERFIT Ambassador is being a part of a community of leaders who truly love what they do and who lift each other up and inspire each other. I love how we can all give each other advise to help with whatever skill we are working on. I love how it’s a mixture of girls and boys and that we are all on the same team.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL OTHER PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BECOME A CHEERFIT AMBASSADOR?

I would tell them they would be joining an amazing team and we’re not only a team, we are a family! I would tell them they would be uplifted and become stronger not only on the outside but on the inside as well. I would tell them they would be making the best decision ever!

WHAT ARE 3 THINGS ALWAYS IN YOUR CHEER BAG?

hmmm… lots of bows hanging on my bag.
1. my bow box
2. lip gloss and lotion, you can’t go anywhere without those two things
3. tissues and hand sanitizer.

FAVORITE SONG TO JAM OUT TO DURING A SWEAT SESH:

I love anything Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE EXERCISE?

I love lots of crunches and anything that helps the abs.

FAVORITE QUOTE:

“Hard work and Dedication Pays off!”

My brother’s basketball coach used to say that all the time and it just is the quote that me and my bother and parents all use daily!

ANY FUN FACTS, SOMETHING INTERESTING, OR ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

I can wrap my legs around my neck and walk around on my hands. It grosses my mom out haha. I like to play soccer, too. I’m in the 3rd grade, but I work on 4th grade math and 5th grade reading. My teachers use me to help teach other kids, which I love to do. I love to teach and help others. My teachers told my mom that I have the highest scores out of all of the 3rd grade class in my school. I have an older brother who plays basketball and he’s 13. I love my mom and dad so much! I have 2 dogs named Toby and Tara and they are my babies. I love to spend time with my friends and play outside. Yes Cheer, tumbling, dance are my life and I love them, but I also love to just be a kid and run around acting crazy. I actually love watching the news with my mom even at 9 yrs old and I love to watch 20/20. I love to be in front of the camera, not behind it and I love to take Selfies, Sing and Dance all around the house. I want to be a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and be a Veterinarian. I love being a part of the CHEERFIT family and being a CHEERFIT Ambassador!

Thank you so much for sharing your amazing story! You are so inspiring and we are so proud that you have joined the CHEERFIT family! We look forward to following your amazing journey and hope you continue to stay healthy, fit, strong, and powerful in all you do!

#CHEERFITSTRONG

Stay FIT <3,

your CHEERFIT team

Loving these fit tips and motivation? Become a CHEERFIT Ambassador and get instant access to the CHEERFIT Ambassador Club, exclusive content, CHEERFIT updates, and ambassador-only giveaways. Start your journey today!

Madison Dorph

Madison Dorph

“Earn the Trophy at the Gym and Pick it Up at the Competition”

CHEERFIT AMBASSADOR FEATURE: MADISON DORPH

The CHEERFIT ambassador community is filled with leaders and motivators who all share a passion for fitness, love for cheering and drive to help inspire others.

Our ambassadors share with us their personal stories and obstacles they overcome along the way. We have an amazing community of athletes who fuel their passion and determination with the CHEERFIT lifestyle.

CAN YOU SHARE WITH US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR JOURNEY AND HOW YOU GOT TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?

Friday, February 24, 2017, Madison was at a tumble clinic at her gym with the one and only tumble doctor (Alvin Davis). It was her first season of cheer and she was motivated as ever to get her back handspring. The night was going great until the last 5 minutes of the clinic. Out of the blue you heard a scream and she was coming up from the floor holding her arm. We knew right away it was broken but didn’t know how bad. We went to the ER and found out both her ulna and radius were broken. Thankfully the doctors were great and was able to snap her arm back into place and no surgery was needed!

The NEXT day she was back in the SAME tumble clinic to come watch. She told Alvin she’d be back and to watch out for her. For the rest of the season she went to every. single. practice and competition. She became Coach Madison. She worked out and stretched as much as possible, not letting a broken arm stop her.

April 13th she got her cast off and May 6th she was back on the mat competing in the last competition of the season.


She had to work and build up ALL her strength again. She worked day and night to get even better than she was before she broke her arm.


She had to work and build up ALL her strength again. She worked day and night to get even better than she was before she broke her arm. She became a member of the Residents program with the Tumble Doctor. 4 hours of practice for 10 weeks straight. Not once did she say she couldn’t do something.

October 21st 2017 She accomplished her first goal! She built up enough strength and technique to do her back handspring on the tumble track all by herself. Some may see it as small victories but for her situation it was HUGE! Next was the floor! She continued to work day in and day out to keep building up the muscle needed to keep her tumbling moving forward!

February 3rd and 4th 2018 she finally had the technique and strength to throw her handsprings (standing and running) on the floor. That day was one of the best days of her life!

Now she continues to work on building strength so she can perfect her handsprings and work on the next skills to come her way!

– CHEERFIT Ambassador Madison Dorph

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS?:

Overcoming an injury
Being apart of the Residents program

HOW HAS BEING AN AMBASSADOR HELPED YOU REACH YOUR GOALS?

I have learned to never give up. I have learned that even when your day is not going as planned someone may have it worse than you do. If you want to accomplish your goals then you need to put forth the effort. Don’t sit around and say I can’t. Get up and do it!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT BEING A CHEERFIT AMBASSADOR?

I love the motivation it gives me to work out. Working out now isn’t just about doing to exercises. It’s about having fun while you do them and helping other achieve their goal as well!

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL OTHER PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BECOME A CHEERFIT AMBASSADOR?

Do it! Don’t sit around and think about “what if I did it” I’m here for you and can help you and walk you through everything! Having a buddy to do it with is easier than doing it alone! Being a leader and motivator is such a great feeling! I love to see people succeed and can’t wait to keep succeeding myself

WHAT ARE 3 THINGS ALWAYS IN YOUR CHEER BAG?

Makeup, water, bows

FAVORITE SONG TO JAM OUT TO DURING A SWEAT SESH:

Disney songs

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE EXERCISE?

Inchworm push-ups / leg lifts and in and out crunches

FAVORITE QUOTE:

“Earn the trophy at the gym and pick it up at the competition”

ANY FUN FACTS, SOMETHING INTERESTING, OR ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE?

I have a little sister who is 4 and also in cheer.
I have two dogs, Penny the chihuahua and Otis the french bulldog.
I am also an all star dancer.
I’m at the gym 5 out of the 7 nights of the week.

Thank you so much for sharing your amazing story! You are so inspiring and we are so proud that you have joined the CHEERFIT family! We look forward to following your amazing journey and hope you continue to stay healthy, fit, strong, and powerful in all you do!

#CHEERFITSTRONG

Stay FIT <3,

your CHEERFIT team

Loving these fit tips and motivation? Become a CHEERFIT Ambassador and get instant access to the CHEERFIT Ambassador Club, exclusive content, CHEERFIT updates, and ambassador-only giveaways. Start your journey today!

How to  Help your Cheerleader Improve Flexibility & Strengthen Their Core

How to Help your Cheerleader Improve Flexibility & Strengthen Their Core

Hey hey, listen up..I’ve got some insider secrets to share to help your cheerleader improve their flexibility and strengthen their core!

Now when we think flexibility, most of us think lower back, right? BUT did you know the key to increase flexibility in your lower back is to STRENGTHEN your core! You see, your lower back and core go hand in hand. You can’t improve flexibility in your lower back if you do not have a strong core.

So let’s start no strengthening our core to improve flexibility!

Here are a few favorite exercises to try!

*All videos for each exercise are found inside the CHEERFIT Club! CLICK HERE  to join the Club and get 24/7 access to hundreds of cheer workouts

Each of these exercises are specifically designed to help your cheerleader strengthen their core and build the strength they need to IMPROVE flexibility!

Say it with us, in order to improve flexibility you have to build STRENGTH! Strengthening those muscles that help increase your range of motion = improved flexibility!

So focus on strengthening your CORE (see workout above) and I promise, your flexibility will improve!

A strong core = advanced flexibility!

PS, if you’d like in on all the how-to exercise videos and weekly cheer workouts join the CHEERFIT Club and

become a CHEERFIT Ambassador!

And there you have it, How to Help your Cheerleader Improve Flexibility & Strengthen Their Core in 3,2,1…GO! Let me know your favorite tip, and share your flexibility tips in the comments below!

DANIELLE DONOVAN

is the go-to fitness expert for the cheerleading industry and founder of CHEERFIT (www.cheerfittraining.com). Danielle holds national fitness certifications through the American Council on Exercise and specializes in sports conditioning, youth fitness, and group fitness as it pertains specifically to cheerleaders. Danielle has been featured on NBC,Inside Cheerleading Magazine, FITNESS Magazine, Livestrong, Yahoo Beauty, NY Post, American Cheerleader Magazine and more. Through fitness, Danielle focuses on helping cheerleaders build the confidence, strength, and flexibility they need to reach their goals and prevent injury.