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.

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