How to organize your competition practice

Competitive cheerleading is hard. There are a lot of moving parts that have to work smoothly together to create the epic routine needed to win a competition. Coordinating all those elements takes a lot of planning and effort. Critical to success is having practical competition practices that follow a consistent pattern.

Research has shown that consistent practices can help athletes achieve greater levels of performance quickly. Establishing those best practices as part of your everyday competition cheerleading process is important if you want to help yourself and your teammates achieve your goals this season.

Getting results through consistency

When practices are disorganized, it can be easy to lose sight of your goals. When teammates are arguing about who should unroll the mats, or why someone isn’t at practice it can quickly derail the day. Only by clearly establishing expectations for every athlete on your squad can you and your team hope to be your best by the time your first competition rolls around.

There are some givens in how any practice is organized. Practice should start with active stretching and warm-up activities to reduce the likelihood of injury. It is easy to skip this step when it seems like time is of the essence, but injury prevention activities such as warm-ups and stretching should never be skipped. Any time you save would be lost if someone got hurt. Marking the routine, working on the transition and dance, and checking spacing are all ways that warm-up activities can be incorporated into routine practice.

Perfection before progression

Once your team is stretched and warmed up they should begin skills work. Isolate elements of skills and work on them until they are perfect. If people on your team are missing advanced skills, be prepared to do easier skills. Perfection of fundamental skills is critical to achieving more advanced ones. For example, if your team cannot consistently do extended single-leg stunts they should not be working on switch-ups.

The same holds true for tumbling. Be careful to avoid over-tumbling as part of your practice. If someone on your team cannot consistently land a skill, then they need to move back to a skill they can hit every time. Attempting skills which an athlete has not mastered are both dangerous, and can also negatively affect your execution score in your routine. Clean, effortless tumbling wins competitions.

Set the tone with music

While the fundamentals of how to structure a practice are well established (warm-up, stretching, skills isolation, skills combinations, full run-throughs), there are a lot of elements that can enhance the way in which those fundamentals happen. One of the things that can really impact competition practice is the integration of music into the process.

Athletes often share that they are energized by certain songs, and harnessing the power of music to create powerful practices can really help your team. Exercise physiology researchers have discovered that music can significantly enhance athletic performance. The distraction music provides can help divert an athlete’s attention away from feelings of fatigue. The dissociation through music can postpone the impact of fatigue and make you and your fellow athletes execute more efficiently.

Finding the right music to help your team can be difficult: not everyone enjoys the same songs. Consulting music professionals like those at can help you find the perfect selection of tracks to help keep your team motivated. A great practice soundtrack can not only help your team avoid fatigue, but can even make the routine seem easier. Brunel University research showed that motivational music made athletes feel like it took less effort to complete repetitive endurance activities.

Ending practice with self-care

Once skills review and routine practice are over, it is easy to just call it quits, roll up the mats, and head home. However, this is missing a critical element for you and your team. Athletic recovery through stretching and meditation can help your squad leave rejuvenated and refreshed instead of exhausted. Just spending a few minutes on mindfulness and meditation, while working on developing deep tissue stretching can reduce the likelihood of injury throughout the season.

The end of practice stretching can also be an opportunity for team building. Consider doing some basic sharing activities with the team while you are doing deep stretches. Doing so will not only help you feel a sense of connectedness with your team but will also distract from any discomfort the stretching produces. End practice with some silent meditation, allowing all the athletes to leave with a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and peace.

Cheerleading season is long and difficult. Having well-organized practices with clear goals and expectations can go a long way to making the entire process more pleasant. Think about selecting energizing music, incorporating active stretching, and finding a few moments of mindfulness at the end of practice to help make this the best season ever.

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The Secret to Improving Tumbling

One of the most frustrating things about tumbling is that developing new skills can take a lot of time and effort. While a handspring or a standing tuck might come easy for one person, it can take years of practice for another. Once you graduate to advanced tumbling it can become even more difficult. Many people spend years working on their full-twisting layout without ever making significant progress. So why can it be so difficult to improve tumbling, and how can you blow past blocks and barriers? There is a secret to improvement which no one wants to hear; to go forward, you must often go backward first.

Establishing Proper Skills Progressions

Some tumbling skills take more power, others take more technique. As a result, sometimes athletes and their coaches will skip steps on technical skills and focus on power skills. While this often allows athletes to get to certain skills more quickly, it can cost them in the long run. For example, a standing back tuck requires a lot of strength and courage, but the skill itself is mechanically simple. Some people learn the skill in just a few minutes. However, a back handspring is considered a less advanced skill than a tuck, but has significantly more mechanical complexity. It is easy to just skip the back handspring and focus on the tuck, but not having a handspring means that most skills beyond a standing tuck are now unavailable.

In order to get to the highest-level skills in the fastest way possible, it is important to establish a proper progression of skills, each of which is a stepping stone to more advanced ones. Working on forward rolls and backwards rolls might seem like a waste of time, but the control and coordination needed to cleanly execute those skills transfers over to later, more advanced ones. Only by firmly establishing skills progressions can you move on to the most advanced skills safely and quickly.

Perfection Before Progression

Once you have established a skills progression, it is important to perfect each skill before working on the next ones. You might already be able to do a cartwheel, but a handstand is a skill that must be mastered before moving to a cartwheel. Taking the time to work on that handstand will improve your strength and balance and lead to improved control, stability, and power for a skill like a back handspring.

It is easy to skip steps, it is easy to say “I can already do a round-off, so I don’t need to work on a handstand.” However, making the decision to skip steps or rushing through them before you have perfected them will cost you in the long run. You may move quickly into walkovers only to plateau, or you may skip walkovers and end up working on a back handspring for years because you never mastered the fundamental skills that lead to the proper execution of a back handspring.

The Real Secret to Advanced Tumbling

The secret no one wants to hear about improving tumbling is that when an athlete plateaus on a skill, they need to move backwards. The most common issue that keeps someone from consistently landing a round-off back handspring back tuck is not the back handspring or the tuck: it is the round-off. Issues with gymnastics fundamentals – the inability to hold a handstand, or do a front walkover – often lead to persistent issues later in tumbling progressions which cannot be fixed until the fundamental skills are remediated.

No one wants to hear they can’t land their full because of their round-off, yet fixing a round-off is frequently the solution for an athlete that can’t land their full. It takes a lot of discipline from a coach and a willingness to say and do things that are unpopular with the athlete to convince someone to spend hours working on their handstand when they just want to land their double full. The athletes who can consistently execute high-level skills have a mastery of their fundamentals which is the result of long hours spent practicing. There are exceptions, but the athletes who can throw double fulls can almost always hold a handstand for 60 seconds as well. The relationship between the skills may not be obvious, but the correlation between the two should be.

Athletes spend hundreds of hours working on perfecting their tumbling. The progressions are difficult, and mastering each skill takes a lot of time and effort. As a result, it is easy to skip a step here or there, just to get to that handspring or tuck. While that may work in the short term, there will be dividends to pay for that decision in the long run. Only by careful mastery of fundamental skills can an athlete advance to the most difficult ones. Skipping steps, to moving on before a skill is mastered will ultimately result in skills plateaus later down the line, or even worse, an injury.

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Dealing with difficult teammates

We have all been there, at a practice where everyone has unrolled the mats, finished stretching, and is ready to go, but there is one problem: someone is missing. When your teammate finally shows up they seem unconcerned that everyone has been waiting for them, and within a few minutes of practice has already picked a fight with another member of your squad.

There are things that you can do to change the vibe. With patience, communicating with the troublesome teammate, and asking for help from your leadership, you can find a solution that not only solves the problem but does so in a way that avoids future issues.

Kindness and patience are important parts of any group dynamic, but there are limitations. If someone on your squad is threatening or bullying other teammates, the leadership for your team needs to know immediately. Do not attempt to deal with the issue on your own: doing so may escalate a potentially dangerous situation.

Practice patience

One of the hardest things to do when you are frustrated with a situation is to stay calm. However, yelling and screaming at a member of your team is not going to make the situation any better, even if it feels good at the moment. Your goal should be to avoid letting the misbehaving squad member ruffle your feathers. Don’t give them the satisfaction. Sometimes when athletes act out they are doing so just to get a reaction. By refusing to react you are taking away the satisfaction of behaving inappropriately.

Despite the fact that your squad member is being unfair and inconsiderate, you need to put on a pleasant face. By being polite and unaffected by their antics you can diffuse the situation. Any attempt to directly confront them in front of the rest of the team is doomed to failure: they will feel embarrassed and are more likely to lash out even further. Try to keep a peaceful vibe and focus on having a productive practice, despite their outbursts and lack of consideration.

Have a courageous conversation

When practice is over and you can have a private conversation, that is the time to speak with your teammate. Trying to have the conversation in front of their peers may make the individual self-conscious, and the conversation is unlikely to be productive. When you speak with them, focus on the behaviors which have become problematic. Be courteous and respectful, and avoid any name-calling or labels. Saying, “you’ve been late to practice three times this week,” is better than, “why are you being so rude and lazy?”

Talk about how their behavior is affecting other members of your squad. Frame it as trying to help the whole team, rather than focusing on individuals. Once you have explained your complaint, listen. Do not interrupt, let them fully explain their point of view, even if you disagree with their analysis. If you interrupt their conversation they will quickly shut down. Only by fully letting them speak their peace can you leave space for improvement.

Often the problem is a miscommunication or a misunderstanding. Perhaps there are things going on in your teammates’ life that are making it difficult to fully commit to the practice schedule. Coming from a place where you are actively attempting to understand their perspective will help them feel comfortable and is more likely to have a lasting change.

Work with leadership to establish expectations and consequences

Sometimes practicing patience and having courageous conversations is not enough. If you have not seen any effort at improvement and your teammate still seems to be difficult, shows up late, or is disrespectful towards the team and team expectations, the next course of action is to ask your leadership for help. This could be as simple as talking to the captain of your squad about the next steps. However, if the problems persist then the coach might need to be made aware of the situation.

Often, the captain or the coach is already aware of the situation, but this doesn’t mean your input is not valuable. Sharing your opinions with leadership after you have tried to speak privately with your teammate can give them insight into the problem of which they were not previously aware. You may not have any formal authority, but your leadership does. When you speak to the captain or coach about the situation, be specific. Focus on the behavior, and what you have already done to make it better. Focus on the actions, not any personal interpretation. It can be hard to be objective when the problems feel so personal, but stepping away from an emotional response will make it easier for everyone on the team to move forward.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of personalities on every cheerleading squad, and those personalities are not always going to mesh. However, having open and honest communication about behavior in a way that does not belittle or embarrass your teammates is important to ensure that you can continue to work together throughout the year. It is a long season, so avoid emotional outbursts when you feel something is unfair, and instead focus on being calm and having direct conversations about the specific actions that upset you. Only by doing this can you hope to have a productive year and avoid unnecessary drama.

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A Brief History of Cheerleading Music

Cheerleading music has changed a lot in the last several decades. In the 1980’s, a team would simply take a song from a CD or cassette and perform to it with no sound effects or voice overs. Classics like Jock Jams became cheerleading pep rally staples, and then became something of a cliché. This decade saw the proliferation of nationally organized competitions in the sport. But the contests had a lot of issues, as did the music that played at them.

In the 1990’s the double cassette player became a critical tool for building your teams cheerleading mix. Coaches would take a selection of songs and literally count to eight while it played, hit pause at the end of the section, swap out the cassette tape, then count over the next section. This allowed athletes to create a cheerleading mix, but there were still no sound effects or voice-overs, and the transitions could be jarring. Cheer music was pretty amateur, even at its best.

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s digital music editing became possible, and competitions were flooded with Top-40 music mixes with sound effects and customized voice-overs. Software like Cool Edit and Acid Pro gave anyone with a computer the ability to mix music, and this led to the development of the cheerleading music industry as we know it today. Professional cheer music was no longer exclusively for all-star programs: now even high school, middle school, and recreational teams had access to high-quality cheer mixes.

By the 2010’s the best cheerleading music was produced as professionally and seamlessly as the top pop music production studios in the country. Mash-ups of the hottest tracks in the country were being produced with software like Pro Tools, and cheerleading music became available on streaming services like Spotify. However, with this polish and professionalism came increased scrutiny by the music industry. Most of the songs in these cheer mixes were the intellectual property of the record labels and music artists who had created the originals. Cheerleading music was considered its own genre, had national recognition, and it was producing revenue.

By the mid 2010s the music industry had limited the kinds of music which most cheerleading music producers were allowed to use in their mixes. A large number of the major cheerleading event producers banned the use of cheer music which includes copyrighted materials without a license to edit the music by the original artist. This ushered in a new generation of cheer mixes, with cheer music producers using properly licensed and royalty-free music or producing their own original tracks for all-star programs.

Cheerleading music has transformed as technology and the sport have expanded, creating amazing works of art, but also pushing the limits of intellectual property law. What does the next decade hold? Only time will tell, but the efforts of professionals like the artists at can help you stay on top of the latest trends and make certain that your music aligns with national and regional rules as well as U.S. Copyright law.

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Since the 19th century and the advent of organized sport, cheerleading has been a way for fans and students to show their school spirit and pride. The organization of dedicated students cheering for and supporting their fellow student-athletes has an almost 200-year-old history. However, cheerleading was an almost exclusively male activity until the last 70 years.

That all changed during the 1940s, where World War II required that most collegiate age men be involved in the war effort, and cheerleading became a primarily female sport. The arrival of women as the primary athletes involved in cheer meant new choreography and dance as part of the crowd appeal. That meant incorporating music into cheerleading routines.

By the 1970s, professional squads like the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders began performing during the Superbowl. Their high-energy routines, based exclusively on dance, were a huge hit and brought the dance element of cheer into the forefront, trickling into high school and college cheer squads. The nascence of competitive cheer in the late 1970s amplified the importance of dance, and along with that the importance of cheerleading music more broadly.

Different performance venues require different music

Sideline cheer focuses primarily on band dances, with the marching band providing the soundtrack. A few teams might occasionally bring a loudspeaker system and perform to recorded music, but the majority of the performances are to live music. At pep rallies and competitions, however, the music has transitioned almost exclusively to recorded music, with energetic mixes of independently recorded tracks mixed together. In the last decade, the laws governing music licensing have been more rigorously enforced in cheer, making it necessary to either get permission from the recording artists, or use a company which has secured those permissions to provide the music.

Modern cheer music is critical to locking in the best possible performance from the athletes on the floor. The use of custom cheer songs and voice-overs allow cheerleaders to create energetic and intricate routines that showcase a variety of skills. Tumbling, stunting, and dance are all essential elements, and each one requires music which highlights the unique stylistic requirements and syncopation of that particular section.

How cheer music transforms the visual experience

When a team is doing synchronized running tumbling, where multiple athletes are performing dangerous skills in intricate patterns at high levels of speed, the tempo and energy of the music in that part of the routine needs to reflect the challenge of those skills. Sound effects highlighting twisting skills are different from the ones that highlight skills that do not twist. Selecting music that both captures the frenetic energy of the section while also emphasizing the most important elements is important not only to invigorating the athletes as they perform, but also enhancing the experience for the audience and judges watching the performance. The same is true for stunting and dance: the best cheerleading music will enhance the visual experience of the routine in a way that results in greater enthusiasm from the audience and higher scores from the judges.

How cheer music transforms the experience for the performers

The right cheerleading music does more than put critical moments of a cheerleading routine into proper focus. The best cheer music inspires the athletes performing the routine to give their maximum effort. Music that captures the spirit and energy of a squad can help to lift the entire team, breathing new life into their execution. When the music speaks to the athletes of any sport it can help them accomplish their goals, but the perfect cheer mix can be transformative, making their exhibition more attention-grabbing and dynamic. Music tells a story, and when the music and the story are in effortless alignment, it results in a similarly effortless show.

Synchronization of movement and music has been shown in physiological research to reduce fatigue and push athletes beyond their normal capacity. Having custom music makes the routine’s soundtrack more than just a storytelling experience, it makes the music a possession of the athletes, something they can own. The opportunity to demonstrate that ownership, and pride in the music can inspire a team to reach new levels. Finding that new level music can increase athlete confidence, and a confident team that can execute a mistake-free performance is a team that will do well on the scoresheet.

 Music can set the pace and the stage for a cheerleading routine. The right music can give the athletes performing it confidence and inspiration. Having music that is uniquely tailored to the style and attitude of the team can make that music a source of identity and pride. Combining all those elements with the perfect cheer music track is central to a perfect performance and higher scores.

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Cheer for a cause

Supporting your Local Community

It is easy during the cheer competition and performance season to think about all the things that you have to do over the course of the cheerleading year. Holding tryouts, practicing, going to cheerleading camp: all of these things tend to take precedence over the summer. Once the school year starts, things become even more hectic. Planning pep rallies, competing, and of course, supporting your team at your school, all must become priorities.

As a cheerleader, however, you have a responsibility to support people in your community that don’t play sports as well. One of the things that you and your teammates might want to think about in the future are ways that you can support people in your community. Community outreach is a critical part of the cheerleading world. You need to be able to give back to the people around you, and as a highly visible member of the school and local community, you can really make a difference in a lot of people’s lives.

You and your squad should think about what sorts of activities you would like to do to help the local community. While there are obvious things like going to community food banks or helping at soup kitchens, try to think of other ways you can provide support for people. As a cheerleader, you have the ability to go out and talk to people away which is often unique compared to other groups in your school. Think about going out to local elementary schools and reaching out to students and faculty there.

Going to local schools and doing reading activities for kindergarten or elementary school students takes a big burden off of teachers and community leaders, while also helping to build solidarity and school spirit. As a cheerleader, you are something of a mini-celebrity, especially to the elementary school kids. Being able to use that cache to make a difference is important.

More traditional public service can also be very helpful. Talk to your local community leaders about ways that you can help and support them. Local churches and youth groups are often looking for people like cheerleaders who can come in and talk to their members about the pressures and difficulties of school. Having a peer talking to other students often helps make this information more accessible.

You do a great job of supporting the teams at your school, but you can support so many more people. One of the wonderful things about cheerleaders is that we have so much to give and a burning desire to help others. By really harnessing that desire, you can make a difference for a lot of the people in your local area. You can make cheerleading more than just a sport: you can use the unique abilities developed in cheerleading to improve people’s lives for the better.

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The Perfect Warm-up

Fine-tuning the warm-up process

You’ve done it! Your squad has worked hard, achieved your goals, and is now prepared to compete at your first cheerleading competition of the year. Your skills are polished, your dance is epic, and you got the best cheer music mix you’ve ever heard. However, there is still one thing that you all need to really make sure that you knock it out of the park. A perfect performance requires a perfect warm-up.

Consistency is Key

Cheerleading competitions can be hectic, but coming up with a warm-up routine for you and your teammates before your first performance is important. Having something that you’ve done before and that you regularly practice will help you and your squad find calmness in a situation that can feel overwhelming. There’s comfort in knowing that you are doing something that you’ve done routinely as a part of the preparation for the competition. Cheerleading competitions can often feel foreign and unfamiliar, and this will help anchor your team and ensure that your hard work can be displayed at the highest level possible.

Start with a Stretch

Think about what you and your teammates normally do at practice. Your squad probably starts each practice with stretching. Having a consistent stretching regimen that you and your teammates use each day before practice can be implemented during competition season as well. Think about finding calming music to play during stretching and practice having stretching time at practice be quiet and meditative. Resist the temptation to chat during flexibility work, instead use that time to channel your thoughts.

Know the Warm-Up Format

Running through stunts and tumbling the same way each practice is important, however not every cheerleading competition allows the same number of mats with the same amount of time before you compete. Having some flexibility is important. That said, you and your teammate should already know exactly what you’re going to do when you get to tumbling. When you get to the stunting mats you should know the exact order and sequence that you’re going to warm up your stunts. Knowing these things in advance can really take a lot of the stress out of the competition process. Some of your teammates will feel very overwhelmed, frightened, or even panicked before they go out on the competition floor. Having a routine that is the same as what they do normally will give them a little bit more certainty before they go out and perform.

Find Calmness in Shared Experiences

The moment before you go out on the mat can seem very short. But often there’s a 30 to 45-minute wait from the time that you finish your last warmup station before you get to compete on the floor. Having something that you and your team can do to bond together during this time will really help. Nerves can become frazzled during the waiting period: some time for mindfulness and meditation will benefit everyone.

Competition cheerleading is stressful. Thus, it is paramount for your squad to come up with ways to battle the stress. Deep breathing and mindfulness activities are part of the solution. Team bonding and warm-up activities are another key part. Creating a consistent stretching regimen as well as consistently practicing the ways that you’re going to warm up tumbling and stunting when you’re in competition pre-season will play a part in helping you put together the best performance of your life.

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Finding Calm In in the Storm of Cheer Season

The cheerleading season can be a long and difficult time with a lot of challenges. Nerves get frazzled. People get angry with one another, and a lot of things can go wrong. One thing you should do during the season to help keep things from going astray is to focus on finding peace and calm, especially during practices and competitions.

It starts with self-care

As a member of your cheerleading squad, it is really important that you take care of yourself. Some of this comes from eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and doing little things like stretching every day, to keep yourself from having injuries. But there is more to self-care than just the physical side. Self-care also requires mental discipline. Consider taking a few minutes each day to meditate. A little calmness in your personal life every morning can make a huge difference in taking on the hectic events of the day.

Squad communication is key

You and your squad work together as a team. You all have a common goal, but the path forward in achieving that goal varies from person to person. Sometimes you and your squadmates get into arguments. This is only natural, but there are a few strategies you can utilize to make sure that your disagreements stay healthy and don’t devolve into shouting matches in front of the rest of the team. When you are having conflict with squad members, consider taking just a few minutes to scream. Not at anyone on your team, not at your coach, but just to scream and work out some of those feelings of frustration. Instead, just take a minute or two and scream as loud as you can when things get bad. You may feel silly, but it’s cathartic. You will be able to come together and speak more calmly about the things that are making you unhappy once you have given those frustrations a place to land.

Kindness pays dividends

When you are in the midst of something that you feel passionate about, it can be easy to let your passion get the better of you and say something that is mean or cruel to someone who disagrees with you. This is something you and the rest of the athletes on your team need to avoid at all costs, not just with your fellow cheerleaders, but with people outside of your squad as well. Being kind to people pays huge dividends. Being nice to each other while you work out your differences can be much harder than just letting your emotions go, but the potential for irreversible damage from speaking in anger is high. A little kindness to that squad member who is having a tough day and can’t quite hit the skills is going to make them improve more quickly than screaming or yelling at them ever would.

Consider how your team treats others

Cheerleaders are often viewed as the “mean girls” of their programs. Because you are highly motivated athletes who are acclimated to performing in the public eye, you frequently take those same standards and apply them to others. This is a natural thing to do, but it does not excuse cheerleaders from being cruel to other groups at your school or at your athletic complex. Think about how people perceive you and your friends, and take those same concepts of kindness that you’re using with your squadmates and apply them to people outside of your team. You will find that people are more positive towards you as a group and more willing to help you and your teammates when you need assistance.

Cheerleading season is long and grueling. Competition season for some All-Star programs now is over a year long. Tryouts start before the world championships, and those teams work together through the end of Worlds. This gives you a lot of time to get into disagreements and do things that are both physically and psychologically damaging to your teammates. Take a few minutes and find the calmness within yourself and your squad. Try to implement healthy self-care practices, practice kindness as an activity, and most importantly think about the people that you work with every day and take their feelings into consideration when you are acting. By doing these things you will find that the entire season is more pleasant and that you look forward to cheerleading even more than before.

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How to max out your score sheet

Tryouts are over, and your squad looks to be the best one ever. You and your fellow athletes couldn’t be more excited to create the most epic routine and win that trophy. However, the perfect cheerleading performance is more than just sweet dance moves and awesome stunts. There are several things to consider as you start to design the routine that will astound the judges.

Perfection Before Progression

Your choreographer put the most amazing stunt sequence into your routine. One problem: your team cannot hit the skills. The solution – break down complex skills into a series of easier ones, and work on perfecting those fundamentals before moving onto harder variations. You cannot do a switch-up if your team struggles with a straight-up liberty. By mastering fundamental skills, your squad will progress more quickly towards difficult ones. More importantly, you will find your team can advance to difficult skills more consistently once you have perfected the basics.

Emphasize the Positive!

Your team has the most beautiful full-twisting layouts in the country, but those gymnasts on your squad have difficulty hitting a clean high-V. Move those fulls front and center, and make your tumbling sequence a little longer, while keeping your cheer short and sweet (make sure it hits the minimum 8-counts for the competition requirements). The secret to improving your overall impression score is to make sure the judges get to see everything you can do well, while giving them little time to deduct on the things which aren’t quite as amazing.

Clean, Consistent Practice

At the end of choreo, this routine looks like the best one your squad has ever performed. However, two months later you still have not had full team attendance to a practice, and half your team has forgotten the dance. The only way to rock that epic dance and earn that trophy is to make sure that your whole team is committed to coming to practice, and working on those skills until you hit it every time. Then practice even more, so that you cannot miss it. When everyone is present and giving their all there is nothing that your squad cannot accomplish!

Getting the Perfect Cheer Mix

Your coach drilled you for months, you got countless bumps and bruises cleaning those double-downs, but the sound effect for the dismount is two counts off! All that hard work could be lost if you do not have a perfect cheer mix with sound effects and vocals as unique as your team. Think about a unique, customized mix from a company like New Level Music as the sound track for your season. If you have a smaller budget consider the many options at which lets you choose a top-quality cheer mix and add team specific voiceovers and phrases. Getting the perfect music will showcase your skills to the world!

Check the Rubric

Imagine this. Your team executes flawless kick fulls in your pyramid, but the competition does not score dismounts as part of the pyramid score. Different cheerleading competition organizations use different rubrics to score your performance. Aligning your routine with the rubric will make a huge difference in your score on the day of the competition. Be certain to visit the website for the competitions you are planning to attend this year and get a copy of the rubric BEFORE choreography starts. Don’t be afraid to show the rubric to the choreographer and work with them to create the greatest routine those judges have ever seen.

Your team works hard all year to create the perfect cheerleading performance. Don’t let all that work go to waste with a routine that does not meet your goals. A little careful consideration before choreography and an honest assessment of your team’s abilities will help you to create a performance that you and your squad can be proud of.

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How to create a dramatic moment

One of the things that you really want to achieve when you are trying to create cheerleading music is a moment. A memorable moment where everything hits perfectly, is choreographed to the music perfectly, and it inspires some sort of emotional response from those who are watching.

The question of course is how do you create this sort of moment? The answer is surprisingly simple: you create drama through dynamic manipulation.

What are Dynamics?

Dynamics are some sort of change in fundamental elements of your cheerleading music. When you think about a cheer music mix: it is generally the same tempo, the same volume, the same style of music throughout. By changing those elements during the routine you create more drama. When a mix has the same drum beats over and over again, it gets monotonous. There is no variation in the tempo or energy in music, but this is actually all you need to complete a cheerleading routine: the right number of eight counts for your routine allows you and your squad to synchronize all the elements in your performance. However, that monotony makes for a pretty boring cheerleading mix.

How can you manipulate dynamics?

You can play with music dynamics by taking elements of your cheer routine music and changing it to make it noticeably different so that it goes through peaks and valleys throughout the course of the routine. You can create drama, for example, if you take the volume of your cheerleading routine and suddenly drop it down to complete silence right before a big skill hits. This creates a response from the crowd because the stunt seems more impactful.

As another example, if your entire routine is hip hop and suddenly you change to an orchestral piece, this really changes the feeling of the music. Genre and style dynamics can be just as powerful as volume manipulation. Even tempo can be manipulated in cheerleading music. Manipulating tempo can be challenging since your squad has to jump, tumble, and stunt at an appropriate speed. Still, clever use of tempo can create different time signatures within your performance. Jumps typically have to be at a certain speed, but running tumbling can often be faster. By changing these dynamic elements of your cheer music mix you can create drama.

Thinking about elements like volume, tempo, and music style you can create a dramatic routine which inspires those who are watching it to feel it as viscerally as those who are performing it. As you’re looking for the perfect cheer music for your season at, think about those dynamic elements and how you can use them to maximize the effect of what you and your squad are doing in the routine.

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