All-Star Cheer Competition Tips
All-Star Cheer Competition Tips
Competitive All-Star cheer competition season is in full force. For many, there are just a few regular season competitions left, and some have either already received bids to The D2 SUMMIT, and The U.S. Finals. For others, this is their first year, and they are learning as they go. Either way, everyone is having a great time, making new friends, learning what team work really means, and also learning about long days.
For us, this is our third year of cheer (Power Cheer! All-Stars in Port Orange, FL), and we have learned a lot. I wanted to share some tips for other new cheer parents, and hope you all will leave some of your tips in the comments. We all learn as we go, and all parents need to stick together:).
(pictured: Power Cheer! All-Stars 2016-17)
Our last outdoor competition was here in Daytona Beach, REACH THE BEACH NATIONALS. Two years ago, we got rained out at the beautiful beach location, and it was moved indoors. There’s always a chance that could happen with any outdoor event in FL, so, I decided to plan ahead (to save my back), and ordered a bleacher chair cushion/back. If we don’t use them, I am sure I will use them some other time, and was inexpensive, so I am not worried (also great for baseball parents too). UPDATE: We used them earlier this year for an indoor event held at a local high school gym.
You can get it through Amazon (PRIME available) below:
Here are some tips for new parents of competitive cheer (and not-so-new as well), AND, if you are thinking about having your child tryout for the upcoming season, these tips will help you as well. (tips from flocheer.com):
22 Lifesaving Tips for New All-Star Cheer Parents
Here are some things that can make your life easier:
1) Practice IS mandatory:
Cheer is unlike any other sport. Every person is utilized at all times and when one person is absent pyramids cannot function properly. Be a team player and make practice a priority – otherwise don’t do cheer!
2) Jewelry & Haircuts:
Don’t get your child’s ears pierced during competition season or even slightly before the season starts. They are not allowed to wear jewelry in competition. Avoid potential drama with your child and just WAIT until the season is over!
Seems like this would be a no brainer but find out what the hairstyle is for your child’s team. Usually long hair is the norm but if you’re going to go short, go very short! Think super sassy short bob! That in between length doesn’t usually work well for cheer competitions. It should be long enough for a pony tail or completely too short for a pony tail.
3) Do not plan anything for the day of a competition:
Competition schedules are not usually finalized until the Tuesday or Wednesday before an event. Don’t try to fit in big events on the day of an event. You WILL be stressed! This can be a source of stress for parents who like to make plans in advance or who need to attend weekend events for other children. The gym will circulate the final performance schedule but you can also check the event producer’s website, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter account.
4) Befriend someone who is a veteran:
Befriend someone who is “a veteran” of the gym that you can email / text if questions arise. They can also be a wealth of information when it is competition time.
5) Form a helpful “Group Me” for your team:
It always helps when the parents of the team have a “Group Me” where these questions can be asked. Usually if one person has a question, there are 2-3 others that have the same question. This is especially true if it’s a level 1 team with a bunch of newbie parents. Hopefully, at least one parent has been with the gym before and can easily answer the question on here rather than the same question 30 different times via text.
6) Find a reliable calendar & use it:
Whether it’s electronic or paper form, find one and keep up with it. It will save your life.
7) Keep up with the emails and write down any pertinent info.
It’s helpful to keep your gym related emails so you can refer back to them. If you aren’t an “email person” now you are. It’s just part of keeping a team running efficiently – so change your ways and check that email several times a day!
8) Declare one spot in your house for cheer items:
When it’s competition time, find ONE SPOT in your house to put all the official cheer uniform and accessories and let THE PARENT keep up with it, even if your child is responsible. It helps so much when getting ready for competitions if it’s all together.
9) No extreme activities before a competition:
Inevitably someone calls the coach the night before a competition and their cheerleader has broken her arm on a skateboard or at a trampoline park, etc. Of course kids should enjoy being kids but think wisely during competition season. Your decisions affect the entire team!
10) Child complaining of an injury:
If your child is complaining of an injury and there is a competition coming up, take her to the doctor as soon as possible. Don’t wait until two days before competition to figure this out. It’s difficult for the team and the coaches to make last minute changes.
11) Makeup and Hair:
Figure out how to do hair & makeup BEFORE the first competition. Don’t arrive looking like a mess the morning of the first competition.
(we often get ready in the car after a drive to out of town competitions, haha)
Don’t be on time. Be EARLY! Especially if you’re new. You never know how long parking, getting tickets, etc. will really take. The team, the coaches, and the routine are affected if members are habitually late.
13) Checklists – Checklists – Checklists:
Make a check list & check it TWICE or three times – especially for out of town competitions. Give your cheerleader responsibilities and checklists as well – but double-check each other!
14) Ask Questions:
Don’t be afraid to ask questions – but please ask them before the morning of a competition!
15) Social Media:
Follow your gym on all their social media. This is a common form of communicating nowadays and you want to be in the loop! Be cautious with all types of social media. Don’t be messy, go to the coaches if there is an issue and make it timely.
16) Prepare in advance:
Have snacks preplanned and in the cheer backpack and a water thermos by the fridge ready to add water right before practice. Another tip is to have all cheer outfits washed, folded and put together with sports bras, shoes, socks, etc. so everything is easy to grab and put on for each specific day. Spend a little extra time on the weekends preparing for the week and you won’t be stressed or rushed during the week because everything is ready to go
17) Additional info about competitions – it’s never as short as you think it will be:
There are the fixed costs for spectators attending each competition. Expect to pay entry fees, parking fees, food during the event, and any extra money needed to buy items from vendors selling a plethora of cheer related items. While you will be at a competition for at least four hours, count on staying all day since it’s part of the experience for families and cheerleaders to support each team in the program. Pack healthy snacks, bring bottled water, and a portable charger for your phone or hand held device. Food at the venues typically consists of pastries, popcorn, nachos, and pizza. The venues can be loud so if you are sensitive to noise, bring ear plugs.
18) Out-of-town competitions:
The gym will provide a schedule of competitions at the beginning of the season. Plan ahead if you wish to carpool or share a hotel. Make use of hotel points to help offset the cost for lodging for out-of-town competitions when you have a choice of hotels. Just remember, your cheerleader will lobby for staying at a hotel with his/her friends. The travel and managing your child’s expectations can become quite stressful as a new cheer parent.
19) Where to sit when your child competes:
Most competitions have a priority viewing area for families and friends to get closer to the stage to view the performance. You can only enter this area when your team performs and must exit at the end of the performance. Be early! Often if you don’t make it to the “on deck” viewing area a few teams before yours takes the stage, you won’t be able to join your group.
20) Hurry up and wait:
Learn to go with the flow. Inevitably with cheer events you’re rushing and waiting. Take a book, catch up on some much needed sleep, have emails to answer, have things to keep you and your other children (aka spouse), busy while you wait!
21) Be spirited:
Buy a team shirt, make posters, help with goody bags – make it more about the JOURNEY!
22) Most of all…HAVE FUN!
Laugh through the mistakes, make memories, and don’t sweat the small stuff!
My daughter turned 7 in February, and she is on the mini rec-team, Tigers, this year at our local gym. These girls compete in a category that is for ages 5-9. This is our third year with cheer, and our gym has a team for every age and skill level. The youngest team (KITTENS) is aged 2-4 (they are so cute), and the oldest team is 18 and under (Senior SAVAG3). This picture is from last year, when she was on All-Star Prep Youth L1 Team, LYNX (11 and under). She started at age 4 1/2.
If you are interested in competing in All-Star Cheer next season, most gyms have their try-outs coming up in May, so start looking up gyms in your area and reach out to them. Most will let you come see a practice, or have pre-tryout clinics, etc. Our gym has try-outs the first week of May (for prep and all-star teams, rec teams have sign ups, but start in August), visit their Facebook Page Here.
(pictured: PCA Rec Team Tigers Mini 2017-18)
(pictured: PCA LYNX Youth Prep 1 2016-17)
Funny stretching video by Caylyn (age 7)
New this past year: Rec Team. Tigers were in the Port Orange Family Days fall parade, and also competed in 1 competition in the fall, and more from FEB-APRIL 2018.
Learn more about fall rec cheer and year round rec cheer by visiting their facebook page!