Cheerleading competition is what you’ve worked for all season. This is your squad’s moment to shine. You know how hard you and your team has worked in the months, weeks and days leading up to this one huge day. You deserve to nail that routine and walk away grand champs. And we really hope you do!!
BUT – there are a few simple things that could completely sabotage you that you might overlook. We totally get it, you’ve been at competition before, you know what to expect, therefore you don’t need these tips we’re about to give and you’ve got this whole thing in the bag, right?
But let’s face it, the day is a whirl wind and you’re having the time of your life. It is so easy to get caught up in it all and sabotage yourself.
So whether this is your first time at cheer competition or if you are a seasoned veteran, it is always good to remind yourself of what not to do at cheer competitions. Keep reading for our top don’ts for cheerleading competition.
1. Don’t Forget to Stay Hydrated
Drink Water!! We mean it! You might not be thirsty because you’re so focused on other things but this is a must! In general, we all know how important water is to the body. But as an athlete, it is even more vital to you. It helps regulate your body temperature so you don’t overheat, keeps your joints loose, and most importantly it gives you energy. And if you don’t have energy as a cheerleader, you might as well just give up now.
We know, Gatorade and other sports drinks taste super great and by all means keep drinking those too, but make sure that isn’t all you drink during the day. If you don’t get enough water throughout the day, you could experience signs of fatigue, dizziness, muscle cramping, or worse. So make sure you’re sticking with your good friend H20!
This kind of goes with the drinking water thing. Your routine is intense, it requires a lot of energy and endurance from your muscles to perform that routine, you get that energy from eating. Eating gives you energy. Energetic cheerleaders win trophies. Just sayin’, we see the correlation.
We’re definitely not saying eat all of that concession stand junk food either. Also, try not to eat a huge meal right before you perform, no one wants to get sick during or after you perform. Oh gosh, sorry for that mental picture, that would be horrible. Make sure you eat a decent breakfast and pack a couple of healthy snacks with you in your bag to munch on throughout the day. Not eating enough, or only eating junk could lead to you feeling low energy, dizzy, muscle weakness, and when you try and push your body through an intense 2 minute and 30 second routine, it tends to not react the best.
3. Don’t Be Too Nervous
Nerves are good. It means you care about your performance, it keeps you on your toes and gets your blood pumping. Too much nervousness, however, is mental and physical sabotage. When you have too much anxiety running through your body your mind can start to talk you out of your confidence. It can trick you into overthinking everything you’ve worked so hard for. That you don’t know the routine enough or that the other squads are too good to beat. That’s the mental sabotage.
The physical sabotage that comes with nervousness is not being able to eat, not drinking enough water, not being able to breathe, or feeling lightheaded and dizzy. Not good, for reasons mentioned above.
Breathe. Trust your body. Have confidence in your hard work and your abilities as an athlete. And most importantly, you should go out on that mat, have the time of your life, and give it all you’ve got. Seriously, you’ve got this.
4. Don’t Skip Stretching
It can be hard to remember this one. Once you get there, you have a set schedule and you’re trying to make sure you are all set with hair, makeup, nerves, and are on time to everything so stretching just seems like one thing that will slow you down. Please, we’re begging you, do not skip this. Your body needs to be prepped and ready to go and not stretching before your routine can cause muscle cramps, poor range of motion, and injuries in general. You need to relax and loosen up your muscles!
We recommend easing your mind and stretching at the same time. With each stretch, focus on what you’re doing, take big deep breaths to ease any nervousness and calm down your mind. Meditation + stretching – perfect combination!
They say your routine is mostly muscle memory, so it’s okay if you’re sleepy, your body will just know what to do when it comes time. Wrong! We know that everything going through your mind the night before competition makes it hard to sleep. But try getting as much sleep as possible. If you can’t seem to fall asleep, try breathing exercises, meditating to clear your mind, soft calming music, or even falling asleep to the TV helps some people. Just try and do whatever you can to get good rest.
Lack of sleep can cause clumsiness, not thinking clearly or correctly, forgetfulness (cough like your routine cough cough). Fatigue is not good for any one, especially when you need to be on you’re A game.
6. Don’t Ignore the Judges
We know it might make it easier for you to be less nervous if you forget that the judges are there and it’s not like they’re only watching you, they’re judging your entire squad. True, but it doesn’t mean you should completely ignore them. By catching their eye, smiling directly at them, and waving at them when you come on and off the mat shows confidence, connects them to your squad more, and in turn increases your chances of a higher score.
In general, when you perform your routine you are obviously performing it to your audience, well at competition, the judges should be your only audience, and they are the ones who matter most. After all, they’re the ones who hold your fate.
So what do you think? Are you ready to nail cheerleading competition this year? It can be an incredibly tough and intense day, but it can also be the time of your life and so rewarding. With our tips on how you can make it through, we know you've got it in the bag!
Are you a seasoned veteran?? Do you have any dos or don'ts advice to share with all the new competitors out there? We'd love to hear from you and so would the rest of our readers!