“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.