Archive for Cheerleading
This time last year my daughter was so excited because she was getting ready to wrap up her competitive gymnastics career and try out for her high school’s cheerleading teams. She made both the JV Football sideline squad and the competition squad and our cheerleading journey began.
Since we did not know any better, we just ordered the $40 shoes that the school had recommended to start with. By the second month of school, the shoes were already showing their wear and before the season was over, the shoes were already falling apart. This year we are a little more experienced and are taking a cue from some of the upperclassmen on the varsity squad – I just purchased Nfinity® Vengence cheer shoes for her.
The Nfinity® Cheer shoes are the “go to” shoe for so many of the girls. They are extremely lightweight and are constructed to give support whether the girls are tumbling, stunting or dancing. The other thing I really like about the Nfinity shoes is that they come with a case to put them in. When you are spending $90 on a pair of shoes that need to stay white and looking new week after week, having a dedicated case to put them into is a nice feature.
Nfinity is also one of the few brands I have heard of that addressed the unique biomechanical needs of the female athlete when designing their products to enhance their athletic performance and possibly reduce the risk of injury.
Conditioning and basic stunt training has just begun for my daughter again, but she is so happy with her new shoes – and considering how much time she will be spending in the over the next few months, this is a good thing.
While watching ABCNews.com this evening I caught a segment they did on the dangers of cheerleading, the growing trend towards higher, more dangerous stunts and tumbling, and the rise in injury rates among cheerleaders. So, in case you missed it, here is the news piece:
So, what do you think? Is cheerleading too dangerous? Should it be considered a high school sport? Should there be different rules for High School Cheerleading vs. College Cheer vs. private club programs?
Now that I have a child who is a High School Cheerleader, who is a “flyer” at times, I have a little different perspective – good and bad.
Cheerleading is a great next stop for competitive level gymnasts who have left gymnastics for one reason or another. This has been very true for my daughter. She went straight from competitive gymnastics to trying out for the JV cheer squad. The practices, community service (Pee Wee camps) they did, and camp experience gave her an immediate transition that was at a level she was used to and it also made the transition from middle school to high school easier.
At the high school and/or college level it is a team sport – whether they want to call it that or not – and team sports are a positive part of the high school experience. The camaraderie (girl drama and all) has definitely been one of the things my daughter has enjoyed most in her first season as a high school cheerleader. That said, with just a few weeks left in the season, she is ready for a change of pace and has opted to swim on the high school team rather than do winter cheer this year. She is swimming because her older brother is on the team, but I am going to guess she will miss cheer almost immediately.
I do like that at our high school the cheerleaders are treated like athletes. They have to have sports physicals, they pay the same athletic fee as the other sports, they have access to the athletic trainer and they all get their baseline concussion test before practices even start (and there have been quite a few of them who have been retested throughout the season). They also follow the high school athletic league’s guidelines on stunting (no more than two high) and tumbling. It is definitely a step in the right direction.
But as positive as this first experience with high school cheerleading has been so far, there definitely are plenty of things that do concern me – not just from a parent perspective but also from the 20+ years of coaching gymnastics that I have to draw on.
While my daughter’s squad seems pretty good about progressions and not rushing the girls to try new skills until they are confident with the pre-requisite steps, I still get concerned about the fitness, strength and focus of the girls in general. Those are things that take years to develop and you can’t expect a 14 year old who has only ever done parks and rec cheer clinics to have the skills to lift another athlete in the air let alone catch her if she falters.
Tumbling on an outdoor track or basketball courts scares me. I’m sorry, it just does! Even when I see the girls who I know can tumble, and tumble well, I just don’t like the pounding on their wrists and ankles – not to mention the risk of injury if something goes wrong.
Cheerleading and the dangers associated with it is an important issue – as are ways we can prevent sports injuries in general. I found out about a Twitter Chat on the topic that is taking place today from the Women’s Sports Foundation Facebook page:
Please join us for a Tweet Chat with ABC News’ chief medical correspondent Dr. Richard Besser. The topic is kid’s sports injuries. This is a great opportunity to get your questions answered and voice your concerns to some of the top experts in the country. Simply head on over to Twitter Tuesday, October 23rd, 1:00PM EST and search for the hash tag #abcDRBchat. Or enter that hash tag into tweetchat.com and follow a streamlined version of the chat. We look forward to hearing what you have to say about this important issue!
I plan on joining in the conversation – how about you?
The DegreeGirl “Don’t Fret The Sweat” campaign recently awarded $20,000 to five winning cheerleading teams of the Degree Girl Varsity Awards on their Facebook page. These cool and confident teams told DFTS how they were able to come together to overcome sweat-inducing moments and then rallied their communities to vote for them on Facebook. In celebration of the winning teams SportsGirlsPlay.com is hosting a giveaway a Degree Girl gift set for you, too!
The giveaway package includes:
- iHome – inspiring teams to get active before, during or after practice, with quick and easy music access
- Degree Girl Just Dance deodorant
- Degree Girl gym bag to hold gear
- Degree Girl water bottle to stay cool during workouts
The Degree Girl team sent us one of the giveaway sets to keep so we could give you our take on each item in the set. The iHome player is a fun docking station and speaker for your iPod that changes colors as the music plays. It charges your iPod while it plays music – perfect for practices, relaxing in your room or hanging out with friends. My 13-year old daughter immediately took the iHome to her room and it has become a part of her decor.
In addition, the gift set comes with a black gym bag for carrying all your gear to and from practice. The bag is very roomy and has plenty of pockets, too. The Degree Girl is my teen’s new favorite deodorant – according to her, it smells good and after using it for the past few weeks of gymnastics practices she has asked for a second one to keep in her locker.
So, how do you win this gift set for yourself?
Required entry: Leave us a comment on this post telling about a situation in sports that tested your nerves at first, but through determination, courage or encouragement from friends, you made it through! It could be about your first game, a championship meet, learning a new skill – you name it, we want to hear about it!
Bonus entries: Get BONUS ENTRIES by letting your friends know about our giveaway. Get one extra entry for each of the following, but come back and leave a second comment telling us where you shared it:
- Post about it on your own blog, in a forum, tweet about it or share it with your friends on Facebook
- Follow us on Twitter (we are @SportsGirlsPlay) – please send us a tweet letting us know you are following us and introduce yourself, too.
- Like us on Facebook (we are SportsGirlsPlay and Don’tFretTheSweat) – again, feel free to leave us a note on Facebook saying hello and that you are entering the giveaway.
- Leave your comment(s) no later than midnight January 10, 2012.
- Make sure your email address is right. We only use it to contact the winners and we will NEVER share it or publish it.
- You must be 13 or older to enter. If you are under 13, just ask your parent, grandparent, favorite aunt or uncle to enter for you!
- We will be using the “And the winner is” plugin to select one (1) winners at random.
Disclosure: Degree Girl sent us a gift pack for purpose of review but the opinions of the products are our own!