An Insider’s Guide to Cheerleading
By Sofia Wuensch
Heart and Lungs
Cheerleaders also have to lift and throw (typically) 100 pounds or over girls. This helps the bases and backspots build leg and arm muscles, which the Center of Disease Control and Prevention say can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and arthritis.
It is usually mandatory for cheerleaders to also be able to perform different jumps multiple times, and the team is required to practice jumps for long periods of time during practice. These experiences build up the cheerleaders stamina, so that they can work longer in other actives and sports, such as running or swimming.
Everyone has seen a cheerleader perform a complex tumbling( gymnastics) sequence in a movie at some point of their life. Although the behavior of cheerleaders are exaggerated in the movies, they do have some truth to them. Many cheerleaders are able to perform the complex tumbling you see in the movies, and some can perform even harder tumbling.
To be able to do this, the cheerleader must be flexible. This requires the cheerleader to stretch daily to stay this way. Being able to tumble and being flexible add more health benefits to the list of beneficial reasons to be a cheerleader. Being flexible can actually protects your heart from heart disease, according to a study published by the "American Journal of Physiology".
Aside from the physical benefits of cheerleading, cheerleading is beneficial in academics too. The involvement in school events and Many competitive team require that all members maintain an average of at least a B as a requirement to stay on the team. Because of the threat of being kicked off the team, 83% of cheerleaders maintain a grade average of B or higher, according to a study conducted by the NCA (National Cheerleading Association.) This requirement helps the cheerleaders stay motivated to study and to do well in school
As a result of the motivation for school work, 97% of cheerleaders plan on going to college, as found by the statistics website, Active Network. The B or higher average helps keep their grades up, so the after effect of this is that 82% of cheerleaders get accepted into the college of their choice.
According to a chart by MyEdu, a company that collects data from universities, shows that 90% of the cheerleaders at IVC ( Imperial Valley College, California) have the average grade of an A.
Cheerleaders are put into stunt groups, and need to be able to perform complicated stunts for routines. To be able to perform these stunts, the stunt group ( base, which support the flyer. A backspot, who stabilizes the flyer. And the flyer, who is the person who gets put into the air.) all need to be able to trust each other. If a flyer doesn’t have full trust and confidence in her bases, she won’t be stable in the air, and the stunt will fall.Building trust among teammates not only helps on the mat, but off the mat too. Cheerleaders form a strong bond with their teammates, and become a second family to each other, says Valerie Ninemire, a cheer writer, coach, and has been a member of Cheerleading Coaches and Advisors (AACCA) and on the United States All Star Federation (USASF) Parent's Action Committee.
This bond carries over to their school life too. Cheerleaders on the team usually are good friends with their teammates, and many others says Valerie Ninemire. The team members have to be able to interact with the student body for fundraisers and games, and in result, are friends with many students, fitting the stereotype that cheerleaders are typically popular.
In a fast moving routine, you don’t have time to think. If you mess up, you need to brush it off and quickly move to the next stunt, tumbling pass or dance. You can’t dwell on the mistake that you made, you need to push it out of your head and focus on getting your flyer up and hitting you stunt. By doing this, you are building your ability to let go of mistakes. This helps you be able to recognize what you did wrong, and to dismiss it.
Cheerleaders also need to have confidence to be able to get the crowd motivated, or pull off facials (exaggerated facial expressions) at a competition. Dr. Alison Arnold, a mental trainer, says that a confident athlete has a better chance at hitting their routine and winning than a non-confident athlete.
So how does cheerleading give members confidence? By performances and games. “ You conquer nerves and fight stage fright on a regular basis. This is another example of how doing difficult things gives you confidence—only, in this instance, you’re conquering your inner fears and doubts rather than physical limitations.” says Omnicheer, a website for cheerleaders on how to be better at their sport. By performing as a cheerleader, the team members are overcoming any self-doubts, and as a result, building confidence.
Cheerleading also helps build positive attitudes and habits, says Omnicheer. Cheerleading requires the team members to look positive and happy at all times during a game or a competition. Omnicheer explains that, “You become what you do daily,” and that being surrounded by other people who act positively will actually help you build a stronger foundation of confidence, and healthy lifestyle habits.
Negatives of Cheerleading
Like every sport, there are some risks and downsides to cheerleading. Without a trained coach, cheerleading can be extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, most high schools do not consider cheerleading as a sport. According to ESPN, “Twenty-two different states high school governing bodies recognize cheerleading as a varsity sport” that means the majority of states high schools do not consider cheer a sport. This means that the cheer coach can start the team's cheer season with going to a training class to learn the proper techniques and how to prevent injuries on the mat.
Because of coach not getting proper training, more and more cheerleaders are getting hurt. In 2005, 28,000 cheerleaders were sent to the Emergency Room. This is a 600% increase of cheerleading related ER visits from 1998, explains Valorie Delp, an online magazine writer. As cheer stunts get harder, the injuries keep piling up, because coaches don’t know the ‘legal’ stunts and procedures for that cheer level.
Source: Cheerbook Wordpress
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