Valorie Kondos Field presented Why Winning Doesn’t Always Equal Success as a TED Talk.
Welcome to 2020. Here’s some of the news to close out 2019.
- Kennesaw State Pays Former Cheerleader Tommia Dean $145K to Settle Anthem Lawsuit via ESPN.
- Netflix Orders College Cheerleading Docuseries From ‘Last Chance U’ Creator via Deadline.
- USA Cheer Announces 2020 US National Junior All Girl & Junior Coed Coaching Staffs and Regions via USA Cheer.
- USASF announced the dates (June 26-28) and location (New Orleans) of the 2020 National Meeting.
- Shelby County Cheer Team Gives Joyful Christmas to Thousands of Local Kids via WMC.
- Australia’s First ParaCheer Competitor Breaks New Ground After Horrific Crash via ABC (Austrailia).
- Practice More Dangerous than Competition for High School Cheerleaders, Concussion Study Shows via Safety+Health.
- ‘Refreshing,’ the Presence of Male Cheerleaders at NKU via the Northerner.
- Cheerleading and Olympic Sport, a Best Kept Secret via TeamUSA.org.
Happy New Year! As one year ends and another begins many of us think of the changes we’re going to make to our lives. Sometimes it’s adding something and other times it’s removing something. For those of you in the cheer and dance community I’d like to suggest changing points of view. For the next year as you watch teams try to identify something they do extremely well. This could range from the things directly reflected on the score sheet to intangibles like lots of positive floor talk. I think this change of perspective, to looking for the good, will make us more positive as a whole.
As a coach do you realize how significant your role can be in a child’s life? If you name the adults a child spends the most time with in a year the list will probably start with Mom & Dad, then move to their teacher. The person after that may very well be a coach. I figure Mom & Dad get a couple hours with a child per week day and a little more on the weekend. A teacher probably gets a little over an hour a day, maybe 7.5 hours per week. A coach gets a couple hours per practice a couple days a week, maybe 4 hours. School doesn’t go year round while our sports typically do so that pulls the teacher and coach closer over the span of a year. Once you factor in children rarely having the same teacher for multiple years, but often having the same coach for multiple years it becomes very possible the coach could be a clear third.
Do you appreciate your role as one of the most consistent adults in a child’s life and do you use that role and time to help shape the child into a better person. I hope you answer with a resounding Yes!
This weekend is the busiest weekend of the year per USASF sanctioned events.
- Former Cheerleaders Warn of Concussion Risks in the Sport via Inside Edition.
- Cheering from Japan to Kentucky via The Trail Blazer.
- USA Cheer Recognized by Sports Destination Management via USA Cheer.
- Column: Male Cheerleaders, Take Off Your Clothes! via The Daily Tar Heel.
- Special Report: Research Shows Cheerleading Injuries Declining With Coach Education, Regulation via Heart of Illinois.
- Kennesaw State Cheerleader Settles Lawsuit Over School Deliberately Hiding Anthem Protest via Yahoo!.
- Words of Cheer – Interesting History of Cheerleading Clinics via Battlefords News-Optimist.
I spoke with some parents that were disappointed their daughter was removed from a team mid season. The team was the type of marquee team that could win any event they attended, including Worlds. Their daughter had been a member of the program for several years, finally making her dream team and deservedly so.
The mom admitted the daughter was no longer tumbling as well or sharp as she when was placed on the team and early in the season. The mom also said she thought the stress of tumbling not remaining as easy was causing her daughter’s stunts to struggle. Still the mom was upset the daughter was removed from the team leading up to major event season, citing the loyalty the coaches should have shown to them given their past together. The mom let me know one of the team coaches was also a coach of her daughter’s last team and another was her main tumbling coach for years and who they were doing privates with to work through the current tumbling frustrations.
The mom reiterated her frustration and couldn’t get over her coaches being so disloyal to remove their daughter from the team when they had been so loyal to the program.
I understood where the mom was coming from. I asked her if I could try to explain where the coaches may be coming from. I wasn’t part of the program and didn’t talk to these coaches about the situation, just spoke from experiences I’ve had and spoken to other coaches about. I pointed out the mom said their daughter wasn’t keeping up with what the team was doing. I then asked if she thought it was possible the coach was really showing loyalty to the team and more specifically the to other athletes on the team. This family’s daughter wasn’t the only one that had been with the program for several years before making the dream team and the coaches could be showing loyalty to the majority of them by only keeping people on the team that were pulling their weight. I don’t think the mom saw it that way, but it seemed like the dad was thinking about it.
As a coach you have an opportunity to give a limited number of athletes a chance to reach their goal. If someone isn’t doing their part removing that 1 may be the best way to be able to give the rest of the athletes the best chance. It may not be disloyalty to the 1, it may be loyalty to the rest.
Here are your October articles as you enjoy your Halloween candy:
- Texas Cheerleader Saves Choking Toddler During Homecoming Parade via ABC News
- Former UC Berkeley Cheerleader Says She was Forced to Perform Despite Concussions via San Francisco Chronicle
- Men Return to Husker Cheer Squad, Add More Stunts, Tumbling via The Eagle.
- New Study Shows High Rates of Concussions in High School Cheerleading via Newsweek.
- A Day in the Life of a Trinity Cheerleader via The Trinitonian.
- Q&A With Rochester’s Kyle Tanguay, NFL Cheerleader via Fosters.com.
- Why Cheerdancing Should be Recognized as a ‘Legit’ Sport via Spin.ph.
- Police Investigate Male Cheerleader Bullying Incident at Wilcox High School in Santa Clara via NBC Bay Area.
- Game Day Preparation — BYU Cheer and Stunt via The Daily Universe.
Here are some more random ideas I’ve had. I don’t anticipate any getting implemented, but think they’d be interesting to try.
Benefit of the Doubt
I’d like to try not giving teams the benefit of the doubt about what skills were performed. Instead of a team with 5 groups performing 2 true double ups, 2 1-3/4 ups, and having a 5th group falling while attempting a twisting stunt getting scored as if 5 true double ups were performed only giving that credit to a team that clearly performs 5 true double ups. I think this would lead to the truly elite teams separating themself from the pack.
Sometimes following events we hear about how the judges got it wrong and it was super clear the placements should have been ___. This gave me another random idea. How about before results are known giving the coaches from the programs in a division an opportunity to agree on the results? If the results really are super clear the coaches should be able to agree, right?. If not we’ll assume the results aren’t super clear and it goes to the scores. I think it would be interesting to see how often the programs agree and even more entertaining to hear the conversations about who should place where.
Instead of teams in the Non-Tumbling divisions getting a penalty for tumbling why not try just leaving tumbling off the score sheet. That way tumbling skills that are being used for overall effect could still be done, but not given credit specifically for being tumbling.
Dear USASF Coaches and Program Owners,
Competition season is upon us. Are you competition ready? Join Regional Directors Glenda Broderick and Robin Galik as they walk you through the steps to ensure you are prepared for your 2019-2020 events and fully understand compliance, eligibility, rostering, and more!
SELECT THE TIME THAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU
- October 16, 2019 at 12:00pm EDT
- October 16, 2019 at 9:00pm EDT
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
Can’t join us at the times listed? Register anyway and we’ll send you the recording.
Be sure to check The Connection for a posting of the webinar and further discussion.
Everything in your routine should either be beautiful or Invisible. Many apply the beautiful part to the major skills in their routine, stunts, pyramids, tumbling, etc., but sometime skip the details, motions in the air, landing the tumbling, and timing of skills.
There are a few options for making something invisible, taking it out, hiding it, or distractions. For taking something out think about whether or not it’s really necessary, does it add points to your routine. The first thing coming to mind in this regard is motions. You are scored on the motions you do, not what you could have done, so if a motion isn’t being performed beautifully take it out. Who says tops need to hit a motion or do choreography in the air? If it can be done well, great, but it not take it out so it doesn’t leave a bad impression.
For hiding skills, tumbling comes to mind, specifically landings. If you have an athlete that can perform a tumbling pass, but does it with their legs apart or lands a little funky, put them in a group and in a position within the group where those won’t be as noticeable.
For distractions, formation changes come to mind. If you can’t make the change beautiful try doing something to draw my attention away from the formation change. Put up a quick stunt so my attention shifts there instead seeing the athletes scurry across the floor.
September has come and gone, bringing back school and football. Here’s some of the news that came along with it.
- Squad Goals | Cheerleader with Down Syndrome is the Inspiration, Heart and Soul of the Cheer Squad via WFMY.
- Cowboys Settle Cheerleader Pay Dispute, Entire Squad Gets Pay Boost via WFAA.
- Cheerleader Movies Are Big Business for Lifetime via Glamour.
- Youth/Rec Coach Membership Available via USA Cheer.
- Houston Cheerleader Updates Her Status After Dangerous Fall On Friday via The Spun.
- Youth/Rec Coach Membership Available via USA Cheer.
- Local Cheerleading Squad on Probation for ‘Political Message’ at Game via WSOC.
- ParaCheer Helps Wheelchair User ‘Love Dance Again’ via BBC.
- Guy Cheerleaders Back on Sidelines for Huskers via 1011 Now.
- USA Cheer Names Nicole Nichols to US National Team Coaching Staff via USA Cheer.
All Level 6 and 7 teams entering one or more of the following USASF Sanctioned Events will receive points based on the size of their division and placement rankings. At the end of the season, the Level 6 and/or Level 7 teams with the highest point totals will win 3 Paid Bids and 3 At Large Bids to The Cheerleading Worlds, 2020.
What do you focus on when trying to make your team elite? You can’t do everything, at least not all at once, so you need to decide where to spend your time first. There are 15-16 scores on the major scoring systems I looked at. Some scores separated difficulty from execution, stunts and tumbling for example, and others are combined into a single score, like dance.
If the score sheet categories were the menu items at a southern bbq joint, where you could get a plate with 3 meats and 2 sides, what would you order for your ideal routine? Would spectators and judges be able to identify those items based on your team’s routine and performance? Does your practice regimen reflect that order?
Mine would be stunt execution, pyramid execution, and stunt difficulty with a side of building creativity and running tumbling execution.
Summer is ending. It’s not cheerleading or dance specific, but ESPN published Study: On Average Child Quits Sports at Age 11.
- I Made $3,400 As An NFL Cheerleader — & Spent It ALL On Looking The Part via MSN.
- Cheerleader With Down Syndrome Makes All-American Team via CBS Local.
- 20 Unsettling Rules Professional Cheerleaders Must Follow via The Things.
- Kids Aren’t Playing Enough Sports. The Culprit? Cost via ESPN.
- It’s a Sport and They are Athletes – Get Over It via Opelika Observer.
- USA Cheer Appoints New Director of College STUNT via USA Cheer.
- 2019 University of Kentucky Cheer Coed Stunting Clinic via UK Athletics.