5 Things You MUST Tell Your Flyer BEFORE Competitions
For flyers, competition day is beyond nerve-racking. The endless thoughts racing through these athletes minds can be very unsettling, but there are a few things that they NEED to hear before they hit the stage with their team.
As a parent, you are the one that helps get your cheerleader ready physically, mentally and emotionally on competition day. The last thing that you want to do is stress your athlete out or cause them to question their own preparedness. So how do you do this?
One thing I always tell parents about competition days is to not to say anything that the athlete hasn’t already heard before. Keep it simple and remind your athlete that they know exactly what to do when they hit that stage. Their coaches have told them every possible thing to fix, and the last thing these athletes need is to have more things to “correct.”
I’ve laid out a few things that flyers can be reminded on competition day that will get them ready to perform like the athlete you know they can be. These tips have helped me calm down many flyers over the years and prepare them mentally to HIT their routine.
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The first tip that I would suggest to a flyer is to FOCUS ON HER TECHNIQUE. Stunts only hit when each athlete correctly executes their job. This means that the flyer needs to focus on her technique and performing, while the bases need to only focus on their grips and keeping the flyer in the air. When all of the elements are there, the stunt will hit every time.
Usually when a flyer is looking down while in the air, they are more focused on what is going on below her. This will lead to a lack of technique that could ruin the stunt. It is scary to be a flyer. Not only do they have to perform, but they have to do it more than five feet in the air.
As a parent, try to reassure your flyer that the entire stunt does not rely on her. If she does her job, and the bases do theirs, then the stunt will hit beautifully.
TIE THOSE SHOES! This next tip may seem a little funny, but it’s so important. Competition days are not like days in the gym. These athletes are in their uniforms for hours and hours. With this being said, I have watched so many shoes fly off during competitions. This happens more often in competitions than in practice, and I believe it’s because the athletes are fully dressed all day before they compete.
If a base or tumbler lose a shoe during a routine, their skills are less likely to be affected because they can still execute the skills without a shoe. However, if a flyer loses a shoe, this can mean serious trouble. Why?
Grips! During a stunt, bases must grab the flyers foot, so if the flyer loses her shoe, grips become much more difficult. Without shoes, the flyer loses a substantial amount of stability in her ankle, and the bases lose surface area to grab. This almost always will cause a stunt to not go or fall.
Do not allow this to happen to your cheerleader. Make sure those shoes are tied correctly, and even consider some type of a strap or locking mechanism for your cheerleaders shoes. I’ve seen many teams use these to ensure their athletes shoes stay on. I wish I had required my athletes do this last season, because we lost shoes on stage more than once.
There is one thing that flyers hear on a daily basis, and that is to SQUEEZE. They hear it screamed by their coaches and bases every day.
The reason I consider this such an important tip, is because it’s easy. Remind your athlete that the most important thing they can do to help their bases is to squeeze tightly. This goes hand-in-hand with the first tip of focusing on technique.
Squeezing all of the important muscles to execute body positions and skills is the most helpful technique to master. Body positions can be beautiful, but they won’t hit hard unless the flyer is squeezing ALL of her muscles.
BE AGGRESSIVE! On competition day, this tip takes on an entirely new meaning. Judges are not right beside the stage typically. They are judging from a distance so they can visualize the entire routine at once. For this reason, it’s so important to hit more aggressively than normal.
Sharp motions, locked out legs, and strong cores really amp up the look of a routine, and flyers should always be aggressive. Nothing shows more confidence than hitting skills hard at a competition.
Remind your cheerleader be aggressive enough for the judges to see it. The judges want perfect images in a routine, and sharp motions are the only way to make this happen.
And finally…remind your athlete to PERFORM. Flyers must be able to perform while in the air. This includes facials, smiles, motions, choreography and so much more.
Remind your flyer to keep that chin up and smile for the judges and audience. Tell her to show some variation so that you don’t have more action shots with the same duck face. I always remind my cheerleaders of how amazing they are and how much I love watching them perform. I will tell these athletes whatever I have to in order to show those emotions on stage.
Judges want to see your flyer having fun. Encourage your athlete to relax and focus on her performance and technique.
There you have it. Just a few of the things I try to remind my flyers and athletes before hitting the mat. Parents are the biggest influence on their athletes mental state on competition day.
Keep your athlete calm and just remind them to do what they have spent months and years training for. Their body know what to do. If you can reassure her of a few important things while shining light on some things she can and can’t control, will help settle her mind.
For the most part, athletes, especially flyers, do best when they are reminded of the things they already know and reassured that all of the pressure is not on them.