Stamina is a main component in a performing a successful cheer routine. The ability to successfully complete a cheer routine from beginning to end mandates a high level of both energy and endurance. You cannot rightfully expect your team to perform to their full potential when proper conditioning has not been completed. Conditioning helps build the proper amount of stamina, and it will ultimately translate into less injuries and an overall better performing team.
There are many methods to help lead your team to their peak condition, but we’ve included a few below to get you on your way to reaching your necessary stamina level. It is important that your athletes understand the significance of these exercises and complete them to the best of their ability.
The first suggested method is to have your athletes jog for the entire length of your routine. If your routine is entirely to music, play the music and have your cheerleaders run until the music stops. If you have a cheering section in the middle of the music, make sure, while still running, your team yells the words at the appropriate time. Immediately after the run, the team should walk a lap or two and get set to begin their routine. Begin by having them mark the routine out, meaning that major skills, like tumbling and stunting, are not performed. When you are marking a routine, motions, jumps (optional), formations, tight transitions, facials, and dance should all be at 100%. As your team begins to gain more stamina, add in more elements of the routine. Eventually, your squad will be able to run for the complete amount of time and then immediately get set and perform the routine full out. Your goal should be able to do the aforementioned with no falls, touch downs, or mistakes.
Another solution to gaining increased stamina, while also working on perfecting all of the major elements of your routine, is the pyramid method. Break your routine down into major sections (such as partner stunts, standing tumbling, running tumbling, pyramid, basket tosses, jumps, etc.), and prioritize them by importance (this will help you to determine which section you will do the most repetitions of). Then, based on the number of categories you’ve created, you will count down the number of reps until you reach one. For example, using the above six categories, you would start with six complete repetitions of your partner stunt sequence. Each time, all elements must be successfully completed or it will not count towards your total amount of reps. Once the six partner stunt sequences have been completed, move on to standing tumbling. In this category, five repetitions must be successfully completed. When it comes to tumbling, this method is a great opportunity to stress the importance of sticking landings and maintaining technique even when you’re tired. Continue to progress down the list of routine elements, completing one less repetition with each section of the routine. It is beneficial to rotate the order of your list each time you conduct this exercise. By rotating the list, you ensure your routine is strong in every section.
A final suggestion is to repeatedly run your routine from beginning to end. The first time will be only a marked routine (no tumbling, stunting, jumps, or basket tosses). Each time you repeat your routine, add in one additional element. The rest time between the routines should be the same time it takes you to complete your routine.
Conquering these methods will have your team in top physical condition in no time. It will not only appear as if your routine is effortless, it will be! Adequate conditioning leads to increased stamina, which is the key to successful cheer routines.