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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! 

5 Reasons Your Cheerleader is Not Hitting Their Stunts

5 Reasons Your Cheerleader is Not Hitting Their Stunts

We know your cheerleader has all the passion and heart in the world, and there is nothing worse than seeing your daughter/son give it 110%, but still not hitting that stunt. Instead of cringing at every competition, we’ve got the tips and tools to help you help them!

Now, a few reasons your cheerleaders are not hitting their stunts are:

  1. Lack of core strength
  2. Poor body control
  3. Weak stunt group
  4. Not strengthening the right muscles
  5. Poor general awareness of the body during skills

BUT here is how to help!

1. LACK OF CORE STRENGTH


Your core is the most fundamental body part o to strengthen for all cheerleaders yet it is the easiest one to get wrong. Many people do not know this, but your core is not just your abs…your core is your entire trunk area: back, front, and sides. It’s the entire region between your shoulders and hips.

Crunches do not give you core strength, CORE exercises do!

2. POOR BODY CONTROL


In order for your cheerleader stick those stunts and have proper body control, she needs a strong core! Again your core is EVERYTHING! Here is an exercise fav’! It’s a bit of a challenge, but oh so worth it! Give it a try, start off 1-5 reps and then build up to 10 reps x 2 rounds! Get ready for TOTAL body control!

3. PART OF A WEAKER STUNT GROUP


I know, sometimes your cheerleader is rocking it, but her stunt group is not. Instead of getting frustrated, help her help her stunt group with CHEERFIT exercises that they can do together! Empower her group to do some of our favorite cheer workouts to help build upper body strength, endurance, and body control. By doing this together they will inspire each other, motivate each other, and HIT THOSE STUNTS! Here are our fav’ total body exercises.

4. NOT STRENGTHENING THE RIGHT MUSCLES


Cheerleading is very different than any other sport! Your child is not throwing a basketball, they are throwing a person, defying gravity, tumbling in the air, and pushing their bodies to the limits! Cheerleading today is NOT what it used to be and we need to condition our bodies to keep up at this level!

Instead of wasting time trying to figure out exercises, book a 1-on-1 COACHING CALL with fitness expert Danielle Donovan! Together on this call, you discuss your cheerleaders goals, challenges, questions and Danielle will provide you with customized advice and an actionable plan specific to YOUR cheerleader!

CHECK IT OUT

5. POOR GENERAL AWARENESS OF BODY DURING SKILLS


I promise fitness is your answer! Cheerleaders need fitness to build confidence, core strength and advance their skills. The stronger and more aware your cheerleader is of their body, the more controlled their stunts will be! Focus on core strengthening exercises and your cheerleader will be able to fix any shaky stunt, lock out in single leg stunts, and hit ZERO!

Let us know your favorite tip and how this goes!

As you can see, yo do not need to nor should you be stretching every day for hours at a time. Yes, I said it! What I want you guys to do is STRENGTHEN the muscles instead. So swap out 2 or your stretching days this week with this CHEERFIT workout and let me know how it goes! And if you want, even more, we’ve got tons of flexibility workouts and confidence boosting tips waiting for ya in the CHEERFIT Club !!

And there you have it, my top 3 exercises… to help your cheerleader advance FLEXIBILITY & CONFIDENCE in 3,2,1…GO! Let me know your favorite tip, and share your confidence boosting 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.

The 6 Secrets to a Strong Core & Cheer Abs

The 6 Secrets to a Strong Core & Cheer Abs

Are you ready for my ultimate cheer fitness tip??

TIP #1: LESS IS MORE!

That’s right, this insider secret will save your cheerleader so much time! No more wasting precious time doing crunch after crunch after crunch! Say it with us, less IS more!

To sculpt those cheer abs and strengthen your core, do each exercise for ONLY 10 reps! I want you to go super S-L-O-W through each exercise. I promise, less is more and by going slowly through each movement you will feel those muscles working and get in an insanely better workout!

TIP #2: DO CORE EXERCISES – NOT CRUNCHES

Instead of doing crunch after crunch (which only works your upper abdominals) you want to instead focus on CORE STRENGTHENING exercises that work your entire abdominal area.

This will help your cheerleader gain body control, strength, and stability.

TIP #3: OUR FAVORITE CORE EXERCISE

OBLIQUE TWISTS


Why this exercise is awesome: it works it ALL – core, obliques, body control, balance, and stability!

TIP #4: ANOTHER FAVORITE CORE EXERCISE

LEG LIFTS


Why this exercise is awesome: This exercise again works your entire core and gives your cheerleader the strength she needs to build a strong core ..aka the foundation of every cheer skill!

TIP #5: THE GOLDEN RULE

Your core comes first!!! If you want to build strength in ANYTHING, you NEED to focus on your core strength! Parents, we suggest doing these exercises with your cheerleader to help inspire them, and hey you’ll get in a great workout too! Say it with us, win- WIN!

TIP #6: SWITCH IT UP

You want to be switching up your workout routine and incorporating different core exercises so that your athlete does not hit a plateau and nor get bored.

Need some help coming up with new workouts and exercise plans each week?

Join us to become a CHEERFIT Ambassador!

As an Ambassador you and your cheerleader will get access to hundreds of cheer workouts, fit tips, motivation, have a community to encourage you along the way AND get in on special perks like meet-ups, giveaways, media features and more!

As an Ambassador you and your cheerleader will get access to hundreds of cheer workouts, fit tips, motivation, have a community to encourage you along the way AND get in on special perks like meet-ups, giveaways, media features and more!

LEARN MORE

And there you have it, The 6 Secrets to a Strong Core & Cheer Abs in 3,2,1…GO! Let me know your favorite tip, and share your fitness 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.

3 Tips to Advance Flexibility & Rock Confidence with CHEERFIT

3 Tips to Advance Flexibility & Rock Confidence with CHEERFIT

Hey from CHEERFIT! My name is Danielle! I am the fitness expert for cheerleaders and I’ve got 3 tips to help you advance flexibility, rock confidence, and have the most amazing cheer season ever! Ready for it….

TIP #1: MINDSET IS EVERYTHING


Say it with us, “I can and I will”! With the right mindset, anything is possible! Write down your goals, tell yourself you CAN, and repeat your goals (to yourself or out loud) every night before you go to sleep. If you believe it you will ACHIEVE it! #cheerfitstrong

TIP #2: FITNESS BUILDS STRENGTH, STRENGTH BUILDS CONFIDENCE


Here at CHEERFIT, we are all about helping you reach your goals and stay motivated through fitness! Today, I am sharing my favorite CHEERFIT Workout that will help you improve flexibility and rock confidence all season long! Complete each exercise for 3 rounds and share your workout pics on Insta @cheerfittraining

TIP #3: SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE THAT LIFT YOU UP


If you surround yourself with people that encourage you, support you, lift you up, and cheer you on..you will be UNSTOPPABLE! Remember, we rise by lifting others up! Next time at you’re at practice, simply smile to the teammate across from you. Tell them you’ve noticed their hard work and let them know how amazing they are!  You’ll both feel amazing! Need a tribe to lift you up? We’d love to invite you to join us and become a CHEERFIT Ambassador! You’ll be instantly welcomed into the CHEERFIT fam’ and get access to the community, hundreds of cheer workouts, motivation, fit tips and more! www.cheerfittraining.com/join

And there you have it, my top 3 exercises… to help your cheerleader Advance FLEXIBILITY & Rock CONFIDENCE in 3,2,1…GO! Let me know your favorite tip, and share your confidence boosting 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.

How to make Confidence your Super Power

How to make Confidence your Super Power

Self confidence is a super power. Once you start believing in yourself, magic starts happening.”Confidence plays a huge role in all aspects of cheerleading. I have always believed that cheerleading is 25% physical and 75% mental. Here are some tips I have to help you stay confident.

PRACTICE BEFORE PRACTICE


As many of you know, I have been battling a mental block for about two years and still am today. Just like in everyday life, we have good and bad practices as cheerleaders. It is so easy for me to get in my head after just one skill goes wrong. One of the things my coach tells me is that you physically cannot forget how to do a skill in a day or even a week. The first time is always the hardest, get it out of the way and you will be fine! One thing that helps me is coming in early to throw a few passes before practice. This gives me time to warm myself up slowly and get my nerves out.

STOP COMPARING


One of the top tips I can give you is to stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone learns at a different pace. It is easy to get discouraged when you see your teammates working on a harder skill than you. You have to remember that a team is like a puzzle. Everyone has different strengths and brings something special to the team!

STAY POSITIVE


Positivity is key! I am my biggest critic in everything I do. This can be a little bit of a problem when it comes to cheer. Not every skill you throw is going to be perfect and that is ok. Part of the learning process as an athlete is making mistakes. You cannot let the fear of failure hold you back. Take a deep breath inhale confidence, exhale doubt and go for it! Chances are you don’t give yourself enough credit, the only one holding you back is you.

Ever since I became a CHEERFIT ambassador, the support from Danielle and my CHEERFIT family has been endless! Connecting with athletes that are going through the same thing that I am has been so helpful to me. Just knowing that you are not alone on this journey and that other cheerleaders have experienced the same thing and come out stronger is so amazing! One of the biggest lessons I have learned through my years of cheerleading is that confidence fuels dreams. Once you believe in yourself and your skills, anything is possible!

Ready to make this season the best, most confident yet? Join us and become part of the CHEERFIT Family!

BELLE FABIAN

I am sixteen years old and live in Charlotte, North Carolina. I am going on my seventh year as a competitive cheerleader and cheer at Cheer Extreme Charlotte.