Practice makes Perfect

For every team practice can look a little different, but the majority of  practices look the same. Practice usually contains three separate categories plus or minus some on occasion. An example of a plus category could be practicing an additional routine for fundraisers or events.

Here at Thompson Rivers University are practices start with a twenty minute warm-up that is led my our team captains. We first start with a casual jog to get the blood flowing and then moving into a faster pace run while adding high-knees or butt-kicks.  Next, we move into tuck jumps which are when you jump as high as you can and at the peak of the jump up tuck up your legs to your chest, this gets us warmed up for tumbling as this move is the being to a front tuck, in other words a standing front flip. The next type of jump we do is a long jump which also gets us warm for tumbling because every tumble pass starts with a long jump into a roundoff and then into another tumble skill. When then finish off with a hard pace sprint for a couple of minutes.

After the warm-up we then move to the conditioning. Conditioning involves sit-ups, push-ups, crunches, calf raises, hand stand pops, which are when you are doing a handstand and push yourself up and down like a push-up but instead your upside down. We do leg isolations which are to build up the muscle in our legs for when we get to jumps. We also find our selves doing burpies, plio-metrics which is all jumping to get a higher jump for skills, and planks to strengthen are cores.

After getting all warmed up and sweaty we do good long stretch. Stretching is very valuable to us cheerleaders as we have to be able to do the splits in every directions and have flexible backs to do things like back-hand-springs. Also, for the flyers they must have very flexible calve muscles for being in the air because it makes it easier to stay up in the air.

Now that we are warmed and stretched we can begin our practice. We usually like to start with our tumbling passes. The members of the team square-off into groups that are working on the same things as them and set up stations if need be, like cheese mats for handsprings. Others get straight to the floor to practice what skills they already have or try to figure out different and unique ways to connect each of there skills.  Tumbling usually lasts about half an hour to forty-five minutes.

After we finish up with tumbling we proceed to stunting. Before having a routine to practice we are taught different skills and try out new things as they work or decreases to skills that would be easier for others to hit. For example when I get free time from practicing what is going into the routine I like to try out basket-fulls,  full-ups to extension,  and pike-peters. As people increases there difficulty in skills they are usually added to the routine. Stunting lasts about an hour to an hour and half.

Finally, we put it all together and run our routine over and over again with the tumbling, stunting, and jumping. We perfect every move making it sold, making sure it hits, that our facials look good, no one wants to see a frowning cheerleader on stage while they perform. All the critiquing is done at this part and it is never done until your done your last competition and the season is over.

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