The demands of cheerleading through the fall, winter, and spring are all-encompassing, and, for many cheerleaders, these demands seemingly create a world built around cheer. So as the summer approaches and cheer responsibilities dwindle, many cheerleaders are left with a case of the summertime blues. Idle time is not something most dedicated cheerleaders are used to managing, but these tips with help you make your summer just as cheerful as the other seasons!
Embrace the break – Initially, most athletes do welcome the break, but after a few days of idle time, they begin to miss their structured routine. One of the major keys to a successful summer is embracing your down time. Give yourself the opportunity to do the things you aren’t free to do outside of summer due to your cheer obligations: hang out with friends, go to the movies, spend a day at the museum. The best way to prevent athlete burnout is to really maximize your down time.
Stay in Shape – Just because you may not have a structured practice schedule during the summer doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your body in peak condition. Continuing some type of workout schedule will not only ease your transition back into cheer, but will keep you healthy and feeling good year-round. Your workout regime can be as simple as a daily jog or some in-home conditioning. If you are able to connect with teammates, you can organize group work-outs. The more the merrier!
Eat Right – In some cases, summer vacation is like an extended Thanksgiving. People tend to eat whatever they want and mentally decide they’ll work it off later once their sporting season resumes. This will not only slow the progression of your upcoming season, but is simply not the healthiest choice. Everyone deserves to splurge a little in their downtime, but keep moderation in mind. A balanced diet will help you in finding the energy to complete everything on your summer to-do list and with energy to spare. Just as making smart food decisions is important during the season, it is equally important during times of inactivity.
Improvement Time – The summer also provides cheerleaders with the unique opportunity to get some outside training. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, and find a way to work on improving those weaknesses. The great thing about doing this during the summer is that you are in a no-pressure environment. If tumbling is where you lack, find a local gymnastics center or rec center that offers group classes or private lessons. Oftentimes, if you have one or two other people who are interested in doing the same, you can get a really good rate for a private session by splitting the costs and practicing at the same time. You may want to consult your coach and find out if she has any recommendations for classes or at-home drills on which you can work throughout the summer. There is no better feeling than returning to your team with new or improved skills!
Much is expected of cheerleaders day in and day out, so don’t be afraid to simply relax during your summer break. But if the absence of cheer begins to get you down, the above tips should help to lift you right up!