It is that time of the year again!
School is back in session!!
Football games are kicking off!!
Competition season is starting!!
As you’ve been physically, emotionally, and mentally preparing for the new cheer season, it is finally here!
School days, games, competitions, practices… that’s a full list for a cheerleader nowadays, and that’s not even including any other added activities. As you’ve been preparing over the summer for this cheer season, how are you going to manage adding school back into that list? The thought of school starting can be quite stressful, but thankfully here are a few tips to get you headed in the right direction starting off the school year and cheer season!
Set a Schedule-
Find a cool planner and write your schedule down. Start looking over and seeing now when certain weeks are going to be tough, such as exam weeks. Schedule time to study as well as finish homework on your planner. Having a set schedule each week with homework, will help you be successful just as your cheer practices are set each week. Also, take advantage of in-school study halls and extra class time to get any work done, in order to free up that study time later. It can seem overwhelming when everything is in front of you and seeing how busy you truly are, but sticking with a set schedule with schoolwork and knowing what is coming with practices will help prepare you throughout the season when non-scheduled things need to be added and you have that project due Friday.
Eat Healthy, Stay Fueled-
Long school days mean less opportunity for snacking, which means you’ll be hungry by the time school ends each day. If you are going straight from school to practice, pack a healthy mini-meal to help refuel your system, as well as a water bottle to keep you hydrated.
Communicate with Teachers-
Communicate with your teachers to know when important assignments are coming up and due dates so you can manage your schedule. You can always ask your teachers for tips in their specific classes that will help you get ahead and allow you to manage your work load better. Check on your grades often, and keep up with your grades, just as you would with your coaches on progress at practice. School comes first, don’t ever forget that!
Allow for Down Time-
Don’t over-schedule yourself! Leaving yourself time to read, play, hang out with friends, enjoy family time, and relax is JUST as important as practices are to cheerleading. Your mind needs the time to get away from 8 counts and cheers, just the same as your body needs time to relax from stunts, tumbling, and being on your feet all day long at school. Allow time to still be a kid!
Get Plenty of Rest-
Go to bed at a reasonable time every night. The human body needs time to reboot to get ready for the next day. If you aren’t getting enough sleep each night, you put yourself at risk for not only injury, but added stress. Have a set routine after practices and homework each night to help yourself wind down and get the much needed rest you, your mind, and your body need!
Learning Game Material/Choreography-
You’ve gone through camp, practices, the summer conditioning, now it’s time to put all that you’ve learned to the sidelines! It can be quite overwhelming learning all of the required material for the new cheer season as well as knowing school is right around the corner. When learning cheers and sidelines, always practice them with sharp, tight motions and while smiling to gain confidence while hitting the motions. Also, don’t forget to say the words which will help you remember what motion hits on that certain word. Something that has worked for me in the past was to write the words down and leave space underneath to write down the motions to those that are problem some, and study them as you would for a test in school. Don’t be too hard on yourself when trying to remember motions. We all make mistakes and that’s how we learn, the convenient thing about sidelines is that they repeat, so if you mess up the first time through, get back in it and try your hardest to hit all of the motions until the end. The same goes with choreography, take a step back and write down motions to your dances or specific parts you keep forgetting. Having a family member videotape and record can also help your confidence in learning your material.
For some people, going back to school can be tough. Summer was fun and relaxing but you shouldn’t let the end of it put you in a stressed out, panic for the year to start. It’s going to be overwhelming and at times, you are going to want to throw in the towel…..As cheerleaders you should try your best to always have a positive attitude and encourage those to do the same. Head into this new season and school year with just that, and success will follow. As a returner on the team, mentor your teammates and offer them guidance and advice that helped you in previous years. Be a support system for each other not only at practices, but with school work as well.
Starting a new school year means new memories, new teams to cheer for, new routines, new opportunities, and new friendships that will last a lifetime.
Enjoy every moment!