How to Prep for Your First Cheer Competition
The leaves are changing, the temp is dropping, and you’re working on full out routines with your squad. That means that competition season has finally arrived and you’re preparing for your very first cheerleading competition this season.
Cheer Competition 101
Cheerleading began as an all male college activity in the late 1800s, but did not become “competitive” until the 1960s. Cheerleading competitions were created for cheer teams to compete in a ‘winner takes all’ format based on divisions where the best cheerleading skills are choreographed into an approximate two minute and thirty second routine.
A cheerleading competition has many different levels and divisions, which are created so that teams can compete fairly against teams and squads at their same level. A division or level is based on many factors including the team size, the team’s overall skills and whether they cheer for high school, recreation, college or a competitive all star program.
What to Expect
Chances are, you’re competing for the first time this season, so don’t be nervous! This is your chance to showcase your new skills and all of your hard work from the summer. Early competitions are great for getting out pre-season jitters, kinks and are always a great way for you to showcase how well you work as a team and learn more about yourself as an athlete.
If you make a mistake, push yourself even harder this upcoming week to master that skill so that you can showcase it flawlessly. If you’re not committed to your team, it shows on the floor. Continually missing practices or workouts will make you an easy target to spot on the floor. Don’t let yourself become a ‘lazy’ athlete, so make sure that when you attend competition, you bring it all to the mat.
“We want more synchronization and fewer falls.”
There’s no if, ands, or buts about it. The judges want to see a good routine hit the mat and that means you have to be on point. Absolutely no falls and you better know your eight counts. Nothing screams ‘unprepared’ more than the lack of proper choreography. We spoke with judges across the country and got feedback on what they would like to see this season: “Stick to your strengths. Your confidence shows, and if you aren’t sure of your routine, we can tell.”
Synchronize your routine! Your routine will look polished when all counts are together and the judges will award you for that.
During any award ceremony, remember that you are representing your school or gym. Regardless of the trophy you receive, be excited and act with class. If you don’t like the opinion of the judges, don’t compete. By entering a contest where judging is subjective, you should always accept the decision of the panel of judges.
Overall, enjoy the experience of competition. You’ll learn so much about yourself and your teammates when you go through a competition season. ‘Winning’ doesn’t always mean placing first. Only one team in each division can do that. You can ‘win’ just by getting to the point where you have earned the right to step on that floor.