Monday, February 18, 2008

Cheerleading Tryouts – Safety, Safety, Safety

Tryouts are approaching! During the process of putting together the best possible team, coaches need to keep safety in mind when forming their new team. Stunting has become the forefront of cheerleading at games and competitions. Because of this, coaches have to focus on training and safety. If your team is going to stunt, safety education is of the utmost importance!

One of the most important elements of being a safe team and preventing injuries is having a safe practice area. We spent our first year practicing at night in the dark on a patch of grass and dirt! We spent that summer fundraising for mats. Mats are an essential element of cheerleading. There are several places to purchase cheer mats. We bought ours at and they were delivered very quickly!

When your team stunts, the focus should be on the stunt and no talking should occur until the stunt is back down on the ground. Designate a member of the stunt group (usually the backspot) to verbalize the counts of the stunt. This way, you ensure additional safety with all attention on that stunt.

Coaches need to become safety certified. There are several clinics and conferences that coaches can attend where hands-on safety techniques are taught.

Coaches need to know the rules of the sport at their level. For example, I just found out that in our conference, the cheerleaders are not allowed on the court during the last 3 minutes of a basketball game. Who knew? Now, I know! Check your rules website frequently for rules updates.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Tips for High School Cheerleaders wanting to cheer in college:

 Contact the college coach as soon as you think you might be interested in attending school there! Don't wait! I keep a list of interested applicants throughout the year and send them information on good "insider" type stuff as I receive it.  For example, I received an email from the University that the application fee will be waived at our next Open House. I was able to pass along this information to my interested HS cheerleaders! I also pass along information on scholarships and grants as I receive it, as well as invite them to attend games, practices, competitions as well as other campus events.

Clean up  your Facebook account!!!! YES! College coaches check  your MySpace and Facebook accounts. There have been several recruits who I chose to remove from my "list" after seeing what is posted on their accounts. I tell my recruits, "Don't put anything on there that your grandmother wouldn't be proud of." C'mon - be real. We all know you drink and like to party. Great. But grow up! No one cares! It doesn't impress anyone, especially a college coach! So clean them up - oh yeah - and we can get around any "privacy" blocks. Trust me, we find it all out... It's not worth you losing your opportunity to cheer in college - right?

Contact the coach to set up a visit. A visit usually includes touring the practice facilities, locker rooms, campus, etc... You want to make sure these facilities are clean and what you are looking for. You will be spending a whole lot of time in them, so make sure it is a good fit. Also, I usually arrange a time where the recruit can meet the team, whether it be at a team dinner, or just a trip to the beach with the girls. This way, you can kind of "feel out the team", and also ask the girls questions about the coaching staff, and gather some good information about what it will be like to cheer in college.

I will add more tips. Bye for now! Cheers!