It’s time for jackets and rings, y’all! Yep, it’s everyone’s favorite part of competitive: nationals season!
You’ve put in the sweat over summer, got through the mind-boggling choreography, lived through the first full outs and didn’t forget your routine at the handful of comps in 2107. But now, it’s here. Jackets, rings, and bragging rights are on the line. Are you the kind of athlete who walks in knowing you’ve got this on lock? Or the kind who shivers on deck wishing you could pee one last time… Either way, we’ve got 5 tips to make sure you get that hit.
Be good to your body
It’s the only thing getting you through that 2:30. Your body needs sleep, clean fuel, and water—all the things teenagers are excellent at doing ;).
Drink lots of water to keep hydrated, flush toxins and keep your skin looking fresh. It’s much better at keeping you hydrated than Gatorade, and a hydrated body will have more energy than one fueled by sugary energy drinks. It’s also 0 calories, in case you’re counting.
Likewise, eat healthful foods as much as possible. We know the late night trainings mean it’s not always possible to cook, but grab the grilled chicken instead of the friend CFA sandwich, and a side of fruit or salad instead of waffle fries.
And lastly, put your phone on charge across the other side of the room at 10pm (ok ok, 11pm?) to make sure it doesn’t interrupt your beauty and recovery sleep.
Trust your training
Everyone has had the same opportunities you have had to be ready for this moment. Your coaches, your parents, your teammates, they all want you to succeed. Know that the full outs have prepared you, that your body knows what it’s supposed to do (fast arms, feet to the floor, stick and stand!). Now is not the moment to doubt. Wear your uniform with pride, take ALL the selfies and trust the training when you hit the floor.
Plan your playdates!
One of the greatest things about being a cheerleader is that you get to travel around the country and meet up with your friends IRL that you only know by their twitter name. There’s a lot of team time with practices and, y’know, competing, but take the opportunity to find time to meet up with friends from different programs! Take pics! Send them to Cheer Daily (really, we’ll feature you)! These are the memories you’re going to look back on and one of the coolest aspects of our sport.
Focus on the positive
Have you heard of the Law of Positive Attraction? It’s all about focussing on the positive outcomes and not allowing negative thoughts to enter your brain. Much like your coach gets you to visualize your routine hitting either at practice or on competition days, it’s good to practice this in your everyday life. Allowing positive energy to flood your thoughts will prepare you to be confident walking into the warmup room, knowing that only good things can happen. Being mentally tough and optimistic is one of the greatest tools in your arsenal for competition day.
Define your goals
Everyone wants to win, but only one team can really be number 1 in each division. Remember that you’ll be facing competition from around the country that you might not have met at regional events or gyms you’ve never even heard of! You can’t control what they’re doing, you can only control what you’re doing. So if you can’t control the win, what can you control? As a team, decide what your goal is going to be for each competition. Is it striving for extra points in synchronized tumbling? Getting the zero tweet from CheerUpdates? Coming together closer as a team? When you make the journey as important as the destination, the season gets that much sweeter.
And most of all, remember these moments. They’re going to be some of the best memories you make!