Cheering safely: a few tips to try
BUFFALO –– The number of cheerleaders and cheer squads in attendance at Universal Cheerleaders Association Championship events rose by almost 10 percent since last year.
According to a survey conducted by “Varsity,” participating in athletics helps teen girls make new friends and gives them a built-in support system. According to that publication, playing team sports makes teen girls happier, builds their confidence and helps relieve stress.
Parents, coaches and cheerleaders can learn where risks lie, as well as the proper way to perform the various cheer techniques. To ensure the safest conditions, parents can take an active role in selecting the right cheer program for their kids and continue to stay involved in the sport.
“With the current explosion of participation in cheerleading at all levels, it is paramount that parents, coaches and cheerleading organizations continue to put safety at the forefront of the sport,” said Dr. Jeff Dugas, medical director of USA Cheer and fellowship director at the American Sports Medicine Institute.
Parents can ask the following questions before their children begin a cheer program:
– Has the school or organization conducted background checks on all coaches?
– Is the coach certified through the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators and does he or she adhere to AACCA guidelines?
– Does the coach ensure that performance skills are taught in the proper sequence?
– Does the coach train all squad members in proper spotting methods?
– Does the coach properly balance practice time between skills training and spirit leadership instruction?
– Does the squad have an emergency plan in place?
Cheerleaders should follow safety precautions, including:
– Knowing the rules for the school, college or all-star division/level.
– Ensuring that squads have emergency action plans and have practiced those routines.
– Performing stunts, tumbling and routines on appropriate surfaces.
– Warming up before stretching, tumbling and dancing.
– Attempting new skills only in the presence of an experienced instructor.
– Taking the iCheerSafe pledge, which asks cheerleaders to commit to cheerleading safety.
Cheerleaders who follow these guidelines will reduce their risk of injury and improve the chances of success in training and competition.
For more information, visit www.aacca.org.