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Editorials

Building Blocks

In recent days I listened to a podcast that led me to the idea of treating each thing I learned as a building block, like a Lego. Each is a piece that isn’t that impressive on its own but can be combined with other blocks to make something impressive.

I imagine the most blocks came from my past coaches. Coaches are there to teach skills and lessons through sport and I’ve had several great ones that I appreciate. I’ve also had some experiences in which coaches showed me what not to do, but those were still lesson that could be used in the future. If blocks came in different sizes the blocks from coaches would probably be the largest ones and used as the foundation of whatever is built on top of them.

Several blocks also came from teammates. I cannot count the number of times a teammate gave me a tip, many of which I later shared with someone.

Teaching summer camps gave me a different perspective of the blocks. I was now switching from getting tips on how to do things to how to get others to do things. I don’t think I could over value the things learned during my staff years. First, learning every part of so many stunts instead of only learning my part. Next, being taught how to teach instead of just do. Doing and teaching are not the same skillset and learning both has been very useful. Third is actually talking skills. In watching coaches work and when I’ve given the USASF credentialing test in the past I’ve seen many coaches struggle with articulating how to perform skills. They can mark is exceptionally well, but using their words to say what’s being done wasn’t easy for them and I feel like this is a key part of coaching.

Now most of the blocks I add come from random interactions with coaches, judges, and athletes. They are harder to come by now that I have so much industry experience, aka being old, but I think I appreciate each block as I get it now more than even.

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Announcements News

USASF: Worlds Events Concerning Outbreak

Cheerleading Worlds LogoAt USASF and IASF, nothing is more important to us than the safety of the athletes, coaches, friends and families that attend our Worlds events. We are closely monitoring the potential impact the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), may have on upcoming Cheerleading and Dance Worlds events and will continue to make decisions based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, local health officials and our event Partners. At this time, we have not received any indication that there is cause to cancel the upcoming Cheerleading and Dance Worlds events. We will notify you if circumstances change.

Dance WorldsFor what you should know, timely updates and more information on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

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In Review News

In Review – February 2020

February came and brought some major events including both NCA and UCA High School Nationals, Cheersport, and the beginning of NCA All Star. USA Cheer also announced the 2020 National Team representative for Hip Hop (University of Nevada Las Vegas), Jazz (Brigham Young University), and Pom (University of Tennessee).

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Editorials

Perfection Before Progression?

When I started cheering, at least once I moved to the summer camp instructor and coaching side, “Perfection before progression” was a phrase I consistently heard. Although I heard it I don’t remember seeing it consistently on the competition floor.

Fast forward about 20 years and I still hear coaches preaching it. I also feel like I see more teams exhibiting it, but most of the teams actually practicing it had a negative reputation and are called “Sandbaggers”. How did we get from adamantly preaching something to criticizing those doing what was preached?

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In Review News

In Review – January 2020

January came and brought significant events like UCA & UDA College Nationals, Majors, NDA All-Star Nationals, and JAMfest Cheer Super Nationals.

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Editorials

Hit or Miss

It’s time for another random idea. I’d like to see an event that already eliminates teams each round, like college nationals, which advances about half the teams, or Worlds, which advances 10 teams, give priority to teams that don’t drop.

First guarantee advancement to any team without a fall. This means you and your fans could know that you are moving on as soon as you walk off the floor. If you drop you’d have to wait and see if all the advancing spots get filled by teams that hit or if not and you have a high enough score to take one of the remaining advancing slots.

Second, only make teams without a drop eligible for 1st place. Some details would need to be worked out to ensure teams still performed something that resembled a legitimate routine, like set a minimum score requirement, but the general thought behind this is you must hit to win.

This puts an emphasis on execution over difficulty and competitions would become an execution contest with difficulty as a tie breaker. This method won’t be everyone’s favorite, but is smartest in the long run. Pushing execution means more skills should hit and athletes generally don’t get hurt as often when skills hit. Trying the opposite and pushing difficulty over execution, would have a higher rate of drops, increasing the risk of injury.

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Editorials

Why Winning Doesn’t Always Equal Success by Valorie Kondos Field

Valorie Kondos Field presented Why Winning Doesn’t Always Equal Success as a TED Talk.

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In Review News

In Review – December 2019

Welcome to 2020. Here’s some of the news to close out 2019.

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Editorials

Happy New Year

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.

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Editorials

Know Your Role

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!

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In Review News

In Review – November 2019

This weekend is the busiest weekend of the year per USASF sanctioned events.

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Editorials

Long Live Loyalty

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.

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In Review News

In Review – October 2019

Here are your October articles as you enjoy your Halloween candy:

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Editorials

More Random Ideas

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.

 

Coaches Decide

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.

 

Non Tumbling

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.

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Announcements News

USASF: Are You Competition Ready? (2019-20)

USASF Logo 2018Dear 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.