25 Tips for Drill Team Directors for Football Season (great for CHEER too!)

Editor’s Note:    This one is great to print out and hang by your desk!

  1. Get organized early.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep before big games.
  3. Put fake flowers in a vase in your office so that you always have bright flowers.
  4. Make friends with the custodians and office manager in your building.
  5. Get a pedicure.
  6. Drink a lot of water.
  7. Get a massage.
  8. Make sure you have a comfy seat for game nights in football stadiums.
  9. Delegate small tasks to those managers, they can alleviate a lot of stress.
  10. Go to at least one movie in a theater during football season.
  11. Keep your favorite lip gloss close by so that when you aren’t feeling your best, you can slap some on and smile.
  12. Take pictures – they last forever.
  13. Go and take a dance class for yourself.
  14. Have dessert for dinner.
  15. Allow your girls to not have practice one day during a repeat performance week so that you can sleep in.
  16. Take a walk around the lake or on a nature trail.
  17. Take time for team building each week with your team.
  18. Don’t forget about your family, they need you too.
  19. Make lists in priority order.
  20. Don’t forget to laugh.
  21. Find balance in your life, it’s not all about your team.
  22. Read your favorite magazine on a Saturday morning.
  23. Sit on a patio – morning, noon or night.
  24. Exercise.
  25. Remind yourself that every day you are making a difference in a young person’s life.

Author:  Lori Todd

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Get Your Fans Involved!

By: Carrie Batson

One of the best things about being a cheerleader is being on the sidelines of a game and hearing the roar of the crowd!  One of the biggest questions that cheerleaders ask is how they can get the fans involved.  Here are 5 must-have spirit items (all available at cheerleading.com) to gain your fans’ support…


  1. Signs – Direct your fans’ yells to coordinate with your own.  The best way to get your crowd to cheer with your squad is to build a solid pyramid and present them with your cheer.  Keep the words simple and easy to understand and you will have a fan base all season long!


  1. Noise Makers – Crowds love to make noise!  This will pump up your team and rattle the other team!


  1. Face Tattoos – Your student body will love face tattoos to show their school spirit.  These tattoos come in many different colors, mascots and spirit sayings- you could get a new one for every game!


  1. Mascots – Everyone loves to see their team’s mascot dancing and cheering on the sidelines of the game.  Even better, they love to see the mascot greeting fans.  If your school does not have a mascot costume- you should definitely think about getting one!


  1. Spirit T-Shirts – A crowd that is all wearing the same shirt shows the other team that you came prepared!  Having a spirit shirt that unifies your team, your school and even your community can be the thing that sets you apart!
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Attention All Cheer Coaches – Get Organized for Football Season!

By Carrie Batson

Football season is rapidly approaching!  As you get prepared for the season, I’d like to give you 5 tips to staying organized and making the most of your experience as a cheer coach.


  • Keep a master calendar with all school events, practices, and scheduled performances.  Make sure to include home and away games, pep rallies, Homecoming activities, fundraising events, community service projects and competitions.  Provide all cheerleaders (and parents) with a copy of the calendar, well in advance, so that any scheduling conflicts can be corrected.


  • Along with the calendar, make a schedule for your cheerleaders (and parents) that explains what each cheerleader should wear to practices, games, or any different activities.  This small step prevents tons of confusion amongst your squad!


  • Make a list of what should be inside your cheerleaders’ cheer bags at all times.  Some suggestions are extra socks, bow, briefs, cold weather wear, band-aids, water bottle, poms, etc.


  • Prepare a list of cheers and chants that all cheerleaders should know.  Make sure that your team has perfected all of the ones on the list.  Your cheer captain can use it at games to call cheers, and your squad can use it at practice.


  • Finally, stay involved in your squad’s school responsibilities!  Ultimately, their education is the most important thing.  Check that they are studying and balancing school-work with cheer activities.  Also, ensure that your squad is representing your program well, on and off the field!
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Zephz puts feet first! US World Cup Approved!


Are you looking for a shoe that really cares about your feet?    Look no further than our Zephz shoe collection here at Cheerleading.com.


All Zephz shoes have thermoplastic heel counters which provide great heel support.  A proper heel counter will also control your foot better than no heel counter or a soft material as seen in our videos with our consulting Podiatrist, Dr Nicholas Romansky:


All Zephz shoes are reviewed and endorsed by Dr Romansky, whom not only has his own practice in Philadelphia but is also a consulting podiatrist for the US World Cup teams both men’s and women’s and the Philadelphia Eagles.  Additionally Zephz has over 32 years of experience in athletic footwear Their founder and owner previously worked as an engineer for adidas and Converse.   So with Zephz, you can be rest assured that the shoes will perform!    Their owner still personally works with the factories to ensure it meets his quality and performance standards, which are the same as major athletic footwear brands.


Cheerleading.com is proud to feature the full line of Zephz shoes: http://www.cheerleading.com/236-Zephz.html.   From the budget-friendly Tumble to the lightweight Stratoscheer for men and women!    Be sure to check out the new Zenith arriving in August, 2014!

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How to Stay “Cheer-Ready” over Summer Break

Summer break is here, which means no school and fun in the sun.  For most of us it also means no cheerleading until football season starts back up.  How can you stay “cheer-ready” during your summer break?


  • Stay in shape!  You do not want to be huffing and puffing through practices when they start back up!  Plan to do something active several times a week- jogging, aerobics, really anything that gets your heart rate up and will improve your endurance.  Remember that those 3 hour football games are only two months away!


  • Work on your flexibility!  Summer is not the time to relax on working on your jumps!  Instead make it a time to advance and impress your squad and coaches.  I asked my cheerleaders to do a minimum of 25 jumps on each leg, each night, and most importantly STRETCH!


  • Work on your techniques, including motions, voice, tumbling, etc!  Summer is the perfect time to improve on your skills.  Join a tumbling class or see if your local gym has cheer classes available.


  • Think about ways to help build school spirit when school starts back up! Maybe your squad should make posters or plan a welcome back pep rally?  The best way to generate excitement for football season is to unite your student body.


Have fun as a squad!  Plan a squad sleepover, movie night, or other team-building activity.  Staying connected with your squad during summer break will guarantee a stronger squad during the school year.

By: Carrie Batson

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Introducing: Lori!


Lori Todd has been in the cheer and dance industry most of her life. Most recently, Lori stepped down after nine years as coach of the national champion SMU Pom Squad and SMU Mini Mustangs, a program she started. Lori was also the director of the national award-winning Hillcrest High School Panthers for seven years. Having studied ballet for 16 years, Lori joined her high school drill team as a sophomore and was the captain her senior year. Lori then studied journalism at the University of North Texas, where she danced on the dance team and was captain her senior year. Lori spent two years as a Dallas Mavericks Dancer as well. She judges cheer and dance on the local, regional and national level and worked for NCA/NDA for over 10 years. Lori currently is the journalism teacher, yearbook and newspaper adviser at Hillcrest High School in Dallas.

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Summer Tips for Drill and Dance Team Members

By: Lori Todd 

Yea! You have done it! You have made the dance team for the 2014-2015 season and now it is summer. Your first performance is most likely under your belt because the spring game or spring show of the previous year’s team is over and so you feel like you can just sit back and relax until pre-camp practices or camp gets here. Well, that is where you are wrong! As a team member, it is always important that you are thinking ahead and being proactive to add to your success and the success of your team! Below are four tips for the summer to help you stay ahead of the game for the upcoming year!


Work that Flexibility – It is super important to not lose your flexibility over the summer. Be sure to continue to stretch to ensure that you won’t be the one on the sidelines watching your friends at halftime during football season. The best time to stretch your muscles is when they are warm, so after a workout or after a hot shower or bath. Be sure to spend at least 16 seconds in each position, and if you are preparing for jump splits, research the best stretches for groin and hamstring muscles. Crank up your Pandora and get to stretching! You will be glad you did once practices start up again.


Sharpen up your Technique – There is no such thing as too much technique, so get in classes this summer so that you can really be prepared for those double turns and grand jetes! Remember that these will likely be required of you once camp or boot camp/pre-school practices arrive. Having solid technique is what makes a good dancer a great dancer, so really pay attention to the fundamentals of dance and find a technique class near you. If classes aren’t an option, maybe an officer or the captain of your team would be willing to hold a free class at the school’s dance studio or gymnasium. It never hurts to ask!


Practice your game day look – What teenage girl doesn’t love to play with hair and make-up? This summer can be the time that you perfect your game day look. Most dance/drill teams require you to wear your hair and make up a certain way, so why not get a jump start? Practice makes perfect. Ask your big sis or officer what the requirements are and practice away. You will find out soon that there isn’t a lot of time between Friday’s last school bell and the time you have to be in line for inspection before the game. Get in front of the mirror today, and grab a friend while you’re at it. Most things are better with a teammate!


Pack up an emergency kit of essentials – Game days are always super busy and super fun! Team members are running around like crazy trying to get dressed, eat, put their make up on and practice the routine the night’s routine. It never fails that right in the middle of the craziness, someone realizes that they have forgotten something. Invest in an inexpensive plastic container with multiple compartments is the best and fill it with the essentials. My list would include: safety pins, bobby pins, elastic hair ties, a hairnet, Band-Aids, feminine products, a “Tide to-go” pen, nail polish remover pads and an extra pair of false eyelashes. You can never be TOO prepared.



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CUSTOMER SPOTLIGHT: Notre Dame School of Dallas, Cheer Squad

Hello! Let me introduce myself. I am Nancy Wiley, one of the coaches for the Cheer Squad out of Notre Dame School of Dallas.

photo (20)

Notre Dame is the only school exclusively devoted to educating students who are mild to moderately intellectually disabled.  The enrollment is 150 students ranging from 6 to 21 years of age who can participate in many Special Olympics sports including bowling, flag football, volleyball, basketball, soccer and track.  The cheerleading program started back in 2002 with several different coaches along the way and hand-me-down uniforms that were way too big for the girls who wanted to be a cheerleader.


In November 2008 (when the cheer coach did not show up for an event and told the principal she quit being the coach) the principal asked if I wanted to oversee the cheerleaders.   I told her that I would help the assistant coach (Missy) anyway I could and within an hour we both had an e-mail stating “Thank you both for volunteering to help with cheerleading, please get the girls’ measurements and order uniforms!”.

So, in January 2009, we started with 28 girls and new uniforms that fit each girl and through the years we have lost and added girls to the squad.  We also added two boys to the squad about three years ago.  For the upcoming school year the squad will have about 20 cheerleaders with ages ranging from 12 to 21.  We have weekly practices through February, and every summer we have a week long cheer camp.  From the beginning, Missy and I have treated this squad as a NORMAL Cheer Squad, fitting with one of the school slogans,  “no limits ~ just possibilities.”

The NDS Cheer Squad cheers at many our school’s Special Olympics games; flag football and volleyball in the fall, and basketball (four to five teams) in the winter.  We also perform at The Down Syndrome Buddy Walk in November, March for Respect in March and at all of our school pep rallies.  One day my goal is to get the cheerleaders out to cheer on the soccer and track team.  Basketball season is our busiest time of the year; it starts off the second weekend in January and goes to the end of February with 3 Basketball tournaments.  With having four to five basketball teams at NDS we cheer at least one game for each team pre-tournament.  So in one day we may cheer at five games plus doing opening ceremonies.


 I could not do this coaching job without the help of my sidekick Missy Ruvaldt.  We were never in cheerleading growing up, so we came into this job with a notebook of cheers that were passed down from previous coaches as well as internet searches of different cheer motions where we teach the girls the movements.   At our first cheer camp we asked the girls to come up with some new cheers and WOW!   The next day all 25 girls came with cheers that moms/sisters helped with or some they made up all by themselves.  And to this day we are still using some of those cheers.  We also have two cheer dances we do to the songs “Firework” and “Safe and Sound”.

Opposing teams often ask us: “Are your cheerleaders coming to cheer today?” and if the answer is “no”, usually the responses are “Oh, we were hoping they would be here. We love to see them perform and cheer at the games”.   So, our plan for the new cheer year is “we are going even if we only have two cheerleaders!”.

As I stated earlier we try to treat the squad as a ‘NORMAL’ cheer squad, if there is a normal way a squad is supposed to be run.  We do not see the disabilities the students have we just see them as teenagers and young adults.

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Progress is being made in the cheer world. One day in the near future, Cheerleading may be accepted as and given, the title so many feel it deserves as a SPORT.

Earlier this month, the American Medical Association (AMA) made the decision to designate Cheerleading as a sport. While there was much debate regarding the subject, many made the push for change citing the high level of injury involved in the ever growing sport. This new designation will help to ensure proper safety training for coaches and athletes along with providing improved safety guidelines.

While this is a move in the right direction for Cheerleading as a sport, there is still a way to go. The debate is still going strong in Texas, but some tentative first steps have been made. The UIL or University Interscholastic League who responsible for overseeing educational extracurricular academic, athletic, and music contests, made the decision today (June 11) to give Game Day Cheer a chance at joining their list of official activities. The board initially turned down a proposition to test a program in the 2014-2015 school year citing budgetary concerns but immediately turned around and approved a motion to try the pilot program in the following school year, 2015-2016

Many coaches, parents, and cheerleaders, have pushed for official recognition of Cheerleading and the athleticism involved. These initial steps will hopefully increase awareness and acceptance of these athletes as well as, provide oversight and important safety guidelines for the protection of future athletes to come in the SPORT of CHEERLEADING.


AMA Announcement: http://www.medpagetoday.com/SportsMedicine/EliteSports/46236

UIL Announcement: http://www.dallasnews.com/sports/high-schools/headlines/20140610-texas-high-school-cheerleader-competition-may-get-uil-tryout.ece

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FIVE Expert Tips to Prepare your Middle School Squad for Cheer Camp!

Cheerleading camp is one of the most exciting times of the cheer season.  But for new middle school squads (and parents) that have never experienced it before, it can be overwhelming.  Here are some tips to prepare your squad for camp:

#1 – Prepare the cheerleaders (and parents)!  Hold a camp meeting with cheerleaders and parents to go over the daily schedule and let the parents know when they are invited to attend.  Prepare your cheerleaders for long hours.  Encourage parents to bond as a team (just like your squad).  They can wear spirit shirts and make signs for support, which can be used again during football season.

#2- Decide on your squad’s goals for camp!  Is your squad going to camp to learn new cheers, chants and dances, or are you there to win a bid to a national competition?  Or maybe you just want your new cheerleaders to bond as a team?  Decide with your squad, ahead of time, what the most important thing is that they want to accomplish at camp and remind them of these goals whenever their energy is lacking.

#3- Practice a little bit of everything!  Camp will be a time of major learning for your middle school team members, but a few days of practice beforehand can really help improve their confidence.  Review basic motions, jumps and stunts.  I also had my squad practice chanting and yelling as a team, during any transition time, just like they do at camp.

#4- Prepare an emergency kit!  Even though there should be a medic at the camp, pack a bag with extra medical supplies. Band-aids, tape, sore muscle cream, etc. can be very handy.  Also include extra bows, briefs, socks, feminine hygiene products, deodorant, hair spray, rubber bands and anything else you think your squad might need (or forget) at the last minute.  Pack yourself something for a headache- 8 hours of screaming cheerleaders will definitely give you one!

#5 – Focus on the Fun!  Camp can be long hours for everyone and keeping your squad’s energy and enthusiasm up can be quite the task.  Recognize when your squad needs a break, and give them time to be silly and take a break from the serious stuff.  Keep your squad focused on the fun of camp and the success will follow!  These camp experiences will be remembered for a lifetime!

~ Carrie, guest blogger

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