Last weekend was my first event of the season. I guess technically it was my second event of the season, but my first in America and the beginning of steady competitions for me. It’s early in the competition season so none of these are that surprising, but here are a couple observations from the cheerleading I’ve seen so far:
- Execution needs work. I think more than anything this is due to lack of conditioning. Routines seem to get off to a good start, but as the athletes get tired execution is the first thing to go.
- Some haven’t familiarized themself with the updates to the scoring system. Some routines were missing “simple” things that kept them out a higher range they easily could have been in.
- Some aren’t up to date on the rules. There were some changes made for this season that coaches need to be aware of.
Overall teams looked alright. Tired in some cases, but it didn’t look like they were completely unprepared for the skills they were performing, just a little to tired to perform them perfectly.
The number one reason athletes have difficulty gaining new skills is their bodies are not ready for them. They are either not strong enough or not flexible enough to perform the skill they would like to have. Part of this is because they are not spending enough time conditioning. Core strength is essential to everything athletic. It will help cheerleaders’ tumbling, jumps, and stunting. It’s also just nice to have a flat, well toned stomach. Flexibility is also very important, whether it’s shoulder flexibility needed for strong tumbling or leg and back flexibility needed for great body positions. Unfortunately most people only think about strength and flexibility when they are at the gym. Strength and Flexibility are things that can be worked on at home without the cost of an additional class or private lesson. Another benefit of being stronger and more flexible is the reduced chance of getting injured.
If you are struggling with your jumps or tumbling or just having a hard time making it through your routine, spend some time conditioning every day. Since I had the pleasure of working with Debbie Love for about 20 months I’m going to suggest going to her website, For the “Love” of Tumbling, for tips and strength and conditioning drills. Just for the record, I was the one that suggested the name for the book and website.