03 Apr National Cheerleading Safety Month
All Star cheerleading competitions and gyms have boomed in the last 20 years offering girls (and guys) unique opportunities to show their spirit and athleticism. However, every sport comes distinct dangers to your health. Whether they are competing with an All-Star team or supporting their school’s football team, cheerleaders encounter the same risks as other athletes. In honor of National Cheerleading Safety Month, we wanted to provide a few tips on keeping those guys and girls as safe as possible. Here are our suggestions:
- Find a qualified coach. As with any sport, you need a leader who is aware and knowledgeable. A qualified coach won’t allow you to perform stunts that are not safe. This isn’t Bring It On, girls. (Yes, we linked that movie for the youngsters who are unaware.)
- Practice on floors that absorb impact. You never want to practice on concrete or hard floors, like a basketball court. Be sure to practice on floor pads or spring floors to absorb any impacts or falls.
- Use skill progressions. No, the basic stuff isn’t as fun, but it is crucial to understand these to move forward. These steps build on each other, like riding a bike. You have to start with training wheels before you go on to just two wheels.
- Consider enrolling in gymnastics. Ultimately, these increase your strength and flexibility. Also, if you enroll during the off season, you can keep your body strong and prepare for the upcoming season.
- Always warm up and cool down. We could go on and on about this. Wait.. actually we already have. Check out our blog detailing the importance of this step. (link blog)
- Stop if you feel pain or discomfort. If you are uncomfortable, there is a specific reason. Don’t battle through the pain. An injury isn’t worth it.
- Practice strength and core training. There is an array of exercises you can do to strengthen your body. Running, planks, squats, lunges, yoga, we can go on and on. Talk to your coach or a trainer about the supplemental activities you can do to make you a better cheerleader.
- Have a plan for emergencies. Be sure there is always someone at practices, games, or competition that can perform CPR. Have a designated person to call 911 and have everyone know what to do for specific emergencies.
- Always maintain a healthy diet. We know this sport may increase pressure on girls and guys to maintain a specific body weight, but don’t conform to these ideals. Wanting to be healthy and fit is a great goal, but don’t hurt your body to fit into a predetermined mold. Each person’s body is different. Plus, an unhealthy diet will hurt your performance more than a healthy diet will. If you are having trouble with maintaining a healthy regimen, go to your coach, a counselor, a parent or adult. You can also call this number for help 1-800-931-2237.
Be safe. Be awesome. Cheer On. If you have any questions or would like to discuss supplemental training, contact Cory at 662-282-4949.