Whether you are seasoned in the world of competitive cheer, or new to the family; competition days can be hectic and stressful for every cheer family. Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, however, there are several things that you can do to make the process much smoother! Below are a few of the tips that you can use to make competition day a major success!
Pack (several) Competitive Cheer Competition Kits
While you may already know that it’s a good idea to pack in advance, so as not to forget any of your important competitive cheer competition day essentials, you may not be aware that packing just one kit isn’t enough! Instead, we suggest packing multiple kits to ensure your competition day goes off without a hit.
For your athlete, it’s a good idea to keep a kit ready with all the things needed to prepare them for competition day. This kit should include the makeup they will wear, their competition day bow, a pair of white no-show socks for competition, as well as any supplies regularly needed for competition day (hairpins, safety pins, stain remover pens, medications, baby wipes, makeup remover, hair gel, brush, hair rollers, etc).
Consider printing a map of all your competition destinations at the beginning of the season. This will help with locating addresses and such in a pinch. Keep these in a competition day bag, along with cash that may be needed for parking and/or admission. It’s a good idea to keep in mind that many of the competition venues require cash for parking and/or entry. Having this ready will eliminate stress as well as unnecessary (and rather pricey) ATM fees.
It’s also a great idea to not plan on using your phone’s GPS for directions. Many times you’ll find yourself without signal at the moments you need it most (we know from experience!)
Another important essential is a travel pack of toilet paper! Sometimes venues run out of toilet paper due to the high volume of people, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Sibling Survival Kits
In getting your athlete prepared for their cheer competition, it can often be easy to overlook siblings. Keep in mind that cheer competition days can be long and often stressful. It’s a great idea to keep packed activities that siblings can engage in throughout the competition.
While electronics can be nice for keeping them entertained, signal and charging issues can present the need for backup entertainment. It’s a great idea to pack your sibling survival kit with books, coloring pages, pen and paper, and other items to keep your kiddos entertained throughout the “down times” in a competition.
Consider keeping antibacterial in these bags as well. Where there are many people, there are many germs. Quick trips to the restroom to wash hands are very much hindered when they involve walking long distances and navigating the plethora of athletes using the restrooms as their personal stage rooms 😉
Snacks and Food
Snacks are a great idea to keep on hand for siblings, athletes and yourself. Many of the venues lack healthy options for snacking or have long lines and pricey items available.
While many of the venues do not allow for outside food to be brought in, you can always keep a lunch bag in your vehicle for a quick energy and nutrition boost during downtimes! Items high in protein and nutrition are great choices for keeping your competition day energy throughout the day!
Designate a Photographer/Videographer
Lighting and special effects play an important role in many competitive cheer competitions. Add this to the shaky hands of parents brimming with excitement, and the loud cheers you’ll inevitably be emitting while watching your child perform… and you may find that the photos and videos you took during the performance come out with much lower quality than you desire. Designating specific people on your team and/or in your family to capture these moments can allow them to focus on quality, while you focus on cheering on your hard-working athlete! *
If this is your area of expertise, consider volunteering to be this person for another team within your gym, so that they might enjoy their children’s performances without worry!
*While we love the posting of photos during competition season, we do ask that all athletes and their family refrain from posting videos of our routines until after the season. If you are searching for ways to share these precious moments with your family throughout the season, consider a shared Dropbox or app that will allow you to share them privately without them being broadcast to the public!
HAVE FUN! As with any exciting event, it’s easy to let stress overshadow excitement. If you or your athlete find themselves becoming overwhelmed on competition day… remember that it is only a small portion of the season and should be a time to enjoy and showcase the many, many hard and tiresome hours they’ve spent practicing for these moments.
Do you have any tips and/or tricks that you use to make competition day a success? Any hurdles you’ve faced that you wish you wish you’d been better equipped for? Drop a comment below!
Summers were made for days at the beach, baseball games, and long days spent outdoors, but even the most perfect of days can quickly head downhill if you aren’t ready for the sun and heat. Truth be told, heat kills more than 650 people in the United States every year. Children and infants are particularly susceptible – and while we want them to remain active this summer, we also want them to stay healthy and safe. Prevent summer fitness from going flat by making sure your kids are prepared for the day ahead.
Tips to Prevent Summer Fitness from Going Flat
We’re typically told to drink eight glasses of water a day, but if you’re going to be out in the sun, make sure to compensate for the heat and sweat with extra fluids. Note that sugar-laden drinks and alcohol has the opposite effect, dehydrating us, so adults – watch out for those margaritas and kids – steer clear of the sugary drinks. Fun summer food, such as melons or other fresh fruits and veggies are healthy snacks that also help to hydrate, thanks to natural water content – so enjoy them often.
Watch out for the sun.
Sun is great for getting that daily dose of vitamin D, but in excess, it damages our skin. Make sure to put on sunscreen first thing in the morning every day – and then reapply it throughout the day before going back out into the sun and as prescribed on the bottle. Each sunscreen has different reapplication requirements, so make sure you know what yours are.
Safety is about more than hydration and sunscreen – it’s also about knowing limits. While we, of course, encourage outdoor activity, try to keep your kids indoors or at least in a shaded, cool area during peak hours (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.). Also, make sure that as your kids play outside, you remain aware of their location and surroundings. Dangers can exist even in the safest of neighborhoods, so keeping your eyes on your children is your best path forward.
Kids are kids and have a tendency to go, go, go — so make sure to pay attention to their activity levels and know the symptoms of heat-related illness. NOAA has a quick-fact chart at http://www.noaa.gov/features/earthobs_0508/heat.html that gives the symptoms, likely condition, and recommended treatment – consider keeping a copy on hand for quick reference.
As tryouts approach, we see an influx of new skills emerging and lots of hard work being put in at the gym. This is awesome! But what do you need to understand before your athlete is placed on a team?
KCAC places your athlete on all-star teams based on their age and ability level. There are only 5 levels of competitive cheer. You will not move a level until you have MASTERED ALL SKILLS OF THE LEVEL. It is not uncommon to remain on the same level for several years. We do this for the safety of your athlete and also to put together the most competitive team. KCAC aims to have teams with full team skills.
Many times we see parents pushing their athlete to acquire a higher level tumbling pass and feel that once the pass has been done, they are now ready to move on to that level. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The sport of cheer is not just about the tumbling….the score sheet also reflects stunting, jumps, and dance. Just because an athlete can do the tumbling skill for a level does not always mean they are ready for that level. For instance – hypothetically – if we have an athlete that is currently on a level 3 and masters the jumps to standing tuck, 2 back handsprings to a full twist and a specialty to a full twist, making their tumbling skills a level 5 but they struggle at stunting at a level 3 – it is NOT in the best interest for that athlete to move them up 2 full levels to a level 5. A safe progression would be to move up a level and have the athlete compete for the next level up and master the stunting and jumps for that level to decrease the gap of skill levels. Stunting and jumps and just as important on a score sheet as tumbling. Each of those components bears equal weight.
Often times, when an athlete is pushed too fast, we see burn out and they quit the sport altogether. This happens because, although they had one component for a level, the struggle with the other components causes undue stress on the athlete.
If you find that YOU are stressing about your athlete’s skills, it might be time to take a step back and perhaps join your own sport. I am sure your athlete would love to come to offer helpful advice. 😉 Every athlete who competes does their absolute best and every athlete with growing as they are ready. Additional push from outside sources potentially can cause stress. If your athlete is wanting to put in more work to acquire skills – GREAT! If you are pushing them to acquire more skills – please stop unless you want them to burn out and quit altogether. We want ALL of our athletes to grow and progress in their skills – but it is important that they are doing this on their own timetable. As tryouts are approaching, this is a great time to share with your athlete how proud you are of them for what they have already accomplished. This is not a time to push them.
Our teams change every year at KCAC. This is based on the athletes that are wanting to be placed on teams and is driven by their ages and skills.
Dyana Daniel – Head of Coaching and Development, Kansas City Athletic Cheer
Sign up for Try-outs HERE