Love Calls Back

It’s Pride Month, and it’s a time to celebrate and show our love and appreciation to our LGBTQI friends and family. The cheer community has been a safe-haven for a long time for those who don’t fit into heteronormative sexualities or cis-gendered identification. But just because you may feel safe and accepted in one space, it doesn’t negate the feelings of loss and harm done when your family doesn’t accept you. This video from Verizon and PFLAG has us in all the feels today.

Find support for LGBTQ families at pflag.org

NCATA Beats Out Stunt for Consideration for NCAA Emerging Sport Recognition

Acro and Tumbling started around the same time as Stunt, with both trying to be an answer to the Title IX requirements that traditional gameday cheerleading didn’t address. While gameday cheerleaders are undoubtedly athletic, especially those at competitive NCA and UCA schools, the structure of traditional cheer programs didn’t meet the requirements to be accepted as a sport—and the coed component made them ineligible to satisfy Title IX. So enter Stunt and the National Collegiate Acro and Tumbling Association (NCATA), both vying to be the first to be recognized and both with strong financial backing.

Stunt began in 2011, funded by Varsity Brands. It attracted gameday cheerleaders, gymnasts, all-star cheerleaders and acro athletes with its concentration on athletic skills and presentation. Teams compete side-by-side on the same mat with the same skills simultaneously, being judged on their technique and execution through stunts, jumps and tumbling, pyramids and tosses, and finally a team performance. USA Cheer (the national governing body for all forms of cheerleading in the US) develops and distributes the plays to participating colleges.

NCATA attracts athletes with a similar background and is backed by USA Gymnastics (the national governing body for all forms of gymnastics, tumbling, trampolining, and acrobatics). Working with USA Gymnastics professionals, acrobatics and tumbling created a compulsory program with skills that include progressions. NCATA meets have 6 scoring elements that include stunts, pyramids, tosses, and tumbling (read more here). Unlike Stunt, athletes committed to Acro and Tumbling do not participate in sideline cheer and are not eligible to compete at NCA or UCA college national competitions; their only focus is on acro and tumbling.

Over the last few years, Stunt and NCATA have been in a battle for recognition as an emerging sport and this week, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics finally decided to recommend advancing NCATA. In their statement, the CWA cited acro and tumbling athletes being fully integrated within athletics departments, the potential growth of the sport, the enjoyment of participating athletes and meeting all the objective criteria for emerging sport consideration as reasons for supporting its advancement.

While Stunt will likely continue at various colleges and high schools around the country as a rigorous and challenging sport for its participants, we would like to congratulate the NCATA for their hard work in developing a strong, athletic and commanding sport for cheerleaders to continue through college.

For more info, see here.

4 Ways to Take A Mental Break Without Leaving the Gym

Cheer is a year-round sport, there really is no off-season! Even if you don’t physically need a break, your brain probably does. Taking a mental break can help you reset and actually make your skills better and easier to achieve because you’re not so focused on that singular outcome. But, if you’re anything like I was as a kid, the thought of being away from the gym in summer makes your heart hurt.

So how do you give yourself time off without having time off?

Continue Reading

Trust Your Choice

Waiting for team placements and having anxiety? It’s ok! It’s perfectly normal. Even if know which team you’re going to make, there’s always a little bit of worry in the back of your mind. Here are three things to think about while you wait for that email or phone call:

Trust Your Choice

If you’re trying out at a new gym or staying at your home gym, trust your choice. You made it for a reason, whether that’s because you wanted new experiences or you are ready to be a leader. The benefits of a new gym mean that you are being judged on solely on the tryout skills you showed in tumbling and/or stunt group workouts. The downside is they don’t know how you work on a team, whether you show leadership skills, or how well you handle the pressure. If you’re staying at your home gym, you have all the benefits of the coaches knowing you and how you developed over the last year! It might also mean they place you in a position that they think is best for the gym as a whole but might not feel right for you. Either way, when you find out your placement, remember why you chose that gym and trust the choice you made before the emotions kicked in. Continue Reading

Your Daughter Won’t Fly Forever

This post by Jason Larkins is a MUST READ for all cheer parents and athletes.

“My first year of coaching all-star cheerleading, on the first day of practice, we walked into our team of 20 girls ready to get things started. It was your typical first day of practice; we started off with introductions, eventually got into a little tumbling, and finally, it was time to stunt. Again, however, being our first day, we really didn’t know any of the athletes on the team; we didn’t know who the flyers were, who based, or anyone’s strengths, or weaknesses.

So we did the classic coach move, “Alright ladies, line up shortest to tallest.” That’s when we found out that most of our girls were the same height. Ok, plan b. “If you’re a flyer, step forward.” That’s when we found out that most of our girls were flyers as well. Hmmm… And this is not an exaggeration, every athlete who stepped forward as a flyer, who eventually didn’t fly on that team, resulted in a parent meeting, literally. Every. Single. One. And it’s been happening ever since, at every gym across America.”

Read more HERE.

 

 

What’s a level 7, anyway?

With every new season, the USASF seems to be bringing new changes. Last year was the introduction of the Non-Tumbling division and Senior Open allowing US teams to compete in what was known as the “international open” age division but without the three teams per country rule going into finals at worlds. Both were met with mixed reviews, and while Non-Tumbling divisions are growing hugely for the 2019-2020 season, we still miss seeing Wildcats vs Nfinity vs OO5 vs Gymtyme vs Anacondas fighting through US Trials.

For this upcoming season, the biggest change the USASF has made is to move Restricted 5 to 5, level 5 renamed to level 6, and level 6 up to 7. With it comes a few rules changes as well, introducing free-flipping inversion skills like rewinds into the level 6 division. Why the change? We can only imagine it’s to smooth out progressions and work in partnership with the IASF, USASF’s international counterpart. It makes sense to shift the divisions up to allow for clarity (hopefully many more gyms will use level 5 as a building level to a worlds level 6 team) and to allow certain skills progressions that make the transition through the levels easier for athletes. If it was up to us, we’d suggest levelling skills at 7 to allow flipping baskets and step up pyramids, and introduce a level 8 with flipping and twisting baskets, with flipping and twisting pyramids.

Worlds will still only be level 6 and 7 senior, senior open, and international open aged teams, with The Summit being the ultimate end of season championship for level 5.

We do salute the USASF in their aim to grow, progress and level our sport appropriately for all ages and athlete skill levels, although it might take us some time to get used to the newly named levels!

Where Do I Max Out?

From Jay McCartney, Cheer Athletics Austin

Your athlete may be able to do the tumbling skills we are asking with perfect execution or may have the skills but have not perfected them. Your athlete may also be the one who can stunt at a higher level than tumble or vice versa. Please always remember this, team placements are based on every single aspect of this sport and not just a single category. We are looking for perfection and mastery of skills, not just attempt. Please remind yourself and your athlete of these things before tryouts and after tryouts to alleviate some pressure, stress and upset situations later on.

As placements come up, I want every athlete and parent to ask themselves these questions: Continue Reading

Happy Mother’s Day!

To all our cheer moms, and all the moms who step in to help us get through the season, thank you for all that you do! Our sport wouldn’t be the same without your love and dedication.

May-be Cover Up a Little!

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month! It’s the end of season and summer is so close we can taste the popsicles, but did you know that more people are diagnosed with skin cancer than all other cancers combined?!

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the time they’re 70, so what can YOU do to prevent becoming a statistic this summer?

Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen.

Sunscreens work by blocking ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) from reaching the skin. UVA and UVB damage the skin and cause signs of aging as well as increasing your risk of developing skin cancer. Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+ or more. Continue Reading

Louisiana Powerhouse is Family

We saw this post on Facebook and had to share their story. Howard and Jaycee, you’re everything that is right about our sport. Good luck at The Summit with Louisiana Powerhouse Cheer and we hope you are proud of your last performance on the blue mat.

By: Howard Harper

Ok. Anybody that knows me or has seen anything that I post on Facebook knows the story. In 2010 in the midst of a terrible divorce, my ex-wife enrolled my 8-year-old daughter in a cheerleading gym in a nearly abandoned mall that had been thrown together by a young woman who financed it with money she had won in a bikini contest. Anybody that was around me back then knows that I hated “all things cheer”. I refused to be a part of it or pay even one cent toward it. At the time both my kids were into rodeo which I viewed as a superior sport to this glorified tumbling class called cheerleading (boy was I wrong). Sometime after that my ex-wife had evidently decided it was a bad idea. My daughter, on the other hand, had decided it was a great idea. My daughter called one day crying about having to quit over the initial cost of it all. I reluctantly borrowed $100 from my dad and went to pay down on a uniform that was made up of less cotton than I had seen in the top of an aspirin bottle.  Continue Reading