You’ve been working hard in practice for weeks now. It’s competition season and everything is wearing you down. The basketball schedule is hectic and the team keeps losing. You are sore, tired and are having trouble keeping up with your class load. It’s starting to happen: you’re getting burned out.Cheerleading is a physically and mentally demanding sport. It is easy to become overwhelmed and exhausted at some point during the season. But, we have tips that will help you keep the fire and push through the hard times.
1. Don’t get frustrated
When you are on the brink of a burn out, the worst thing you can do is get frustrated. In cheerleading, frustration is like poison. It rubs off on your teammates, leads to unsafe skills and it drains you mentally. So right when you start feeling frustrated with cheer, take three deep breaths through your nose—really feel it deep in your tummy—then let it out of your mouth. Then choose a three-word mantra that reminds you why you tried out for the team. Your mantra can be simple like “I love cheer,” “my team’s great,” “have no fear,” “it’s my passion” or “it’s worth it.” After you have picked the mantra, close your eyes, take in some deep breaths in and out while you repeat your new mantra in your head. Once you feel less frustrated, open your eyes and attack your cheerleading challenge with your new, positive attitude.
Cheerleaders often hold in their pain, tiredness, soreness or stress. It is a quality we learn to help carry our teammates through the challenges we face. However, if you are feeling burned out, it is important that your coaches know. It is easy to get caught up in the season or practice, and many times your coaches don’t realize how heavy your load is. Talk to them. Tell him or her that you are feeling burned out and what is causing you to feel this way. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel when you communicate. Plus, your coach is now in a position to work with you and hopefully help find a solution that will get you through your rough patch.
3. Get organized
We often get burned out not only because of our cheerleading schedules, but because of everything else going on as well. If you realize you are exhausted and starting to burn out, take 20 minutes and write out your schedule. Include practice times, school, workout times, work, social events and any other commitments you have. Once you write out everything, prioritize the things you need to get done, put off things that aren’t immediate needs and insert an hour or a half hour a day to regroup. If you are coming home from practice right after school and rushing to get your homework done, you burn out much faster. Take time to relax and switch gears. A good time to do this is during your meals. Eat a healthy meal at the table and chill out. You will feel much better.
4. Be in the moment
When you’re on burn out mode, it is easy to fall into a negative mode and dread heading to practice. But, instead of spending your time anticipating how tired you will be later today, tomorrow or next week, focus on your day-to-day commitments. You are capable of getting though anything you set your mind to and there is a reason you joined cheerleading. If you are at practice, don’t keep an eye on the clock waiting for it to be over. Concentrate on the stunt you have worked hard on, the smile on your teammates’ faces, your coaches’ encouraging words and constructive comments. If you can be in the moment at each practice, game or competition, you will be able to remember all of the little things you love about cheerleading. Enjoy them. You might be burned out, but those things are still there. You just have to notice them.
Burnouts are temporary. You will get through it! Remember why you decided to become a cheerleader. Below is a quote from Mia Hamm, a professional soccer player, who gives great advice for what to do when you are feeling defeated. The final tip: keep this quote in your cheer bag and take it out when you’re burned out. It is sure to light your fire and keep it burning throughout the season.
“Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her.” – Mia Hamm
A busy schedule of cheerleading, school and life can really take a toll on your cheer uniform. When you get home, the question becomes how to wash your cheerleading uniform. With every great idea of how to care for your cheer uniform comes a whole book filled with bad ideas. Here are some of the way you can ruin your uniform:
Tossing it in With the Rest of the Laundry
Never mix colors with whites — unless you want to turn that delightful white shirt into a delicate shade of pink. Remember: if it looks different, it may make everything else different!
Separate white and colored clothing, and make sure to use a little color-safe bleach to bring out the purest white possible in your clothes.
Removing Stains with Acid
Grass stains are a pain to remove, and a stubborn mark can turn a cute skirt into something only fit to wear while gardening. When the first blotch of green appears, it is common to seek out any remedy possible. The one thing you should never reach for is that big bottle of acid. It may be good for cleaning stone, but not for clothes!
One drop will get rid of the stain — and the fabric underneath! Imagine the fashion trend you will set wearing an acid-holed cheerleading outfit to the football game. Use the right detergent, or risk damaging your clothes.
Washing with Hard Water
We covered strong cleaning agents and mixing and matching, now let us look at the type of liquid you should use.
Hard water, which is water that has high levels of calcium and magnesium, can permanently stain clothes and ruin that beautiful uniform. Make sure to have the softest, purest water possible when washing your clothes. Otherwise, the results will be less than stellar.
Back to Reality
Now for some serious information about caring for your cheer uniform. Start with a presoak. Presoaking is the most gentle way to deal with the stains and odors that will inevitably find their way into your uniform.
Choosing a detergent for your cheer uniform is of utmost importance to keep your uniform in its best condition. Do not use bleach or fabric softener. Bleach can discolor the vibrant sections of your uniform. Fabric softener can cause residue to build up and often comes with its own coloring, which you will not want to transfer to your uniform. We recommend using Cheer, Tide Sport and, when necessary, a color-safe bleach.
Wash your uniform alone and in cold water in the washing machine. It’s even better if you can wash your uniform by hand, but be careful not to wring it out too aggressively.
It is not recommended to dry your cheer uniform as the heat and tumbling action of the dryer can cause your uniform to lose its shape and can flatten pleats. The best practice is to let your uniform air-dry. Find a flat, clean surface to lay your cheer uniform on. Better yet, you may purchase a sweater drying rack to promote airflow around your uniform while it dries. A small, dry towel or cloth can be inserted into the top of the uniform if desired. This will assist in keeping the front and back sides of your uniform separated while they dry. If you feel that your uniform is wrinkled or creased after air-drying, use a steamer (not an iron) to finish it off.
Being an active high school student is full of challenges, especially if one is fortunate enough to join the cheer team. Joining a sports team always comes with a big commitment and can sometimes turn out to be stressful if time is not managed properly.
Cheerleading can be an all-encompassing activity for a young person. Add to that the complex school assignments and social life of a high school student, and you can get an overwhelming schedule. Time can certainly seem limited, but with proper planning and effort, you’ll be able to maximize the time you have. Here are some ideas for balancing your schoolwork, social life and cheerleading activities.
First, think about all of the people in your life who can help you organize and manage your schedule. Keep your friends and family members posted on the things you have to do. Meet with your school guidance counselor and tell him or her your goals for the year. Talk to your coach if you are feeling stressed. Your coach will motivate you to be the best athlete and can also help you overcome the hurdles of high school life. Your support system of friends and family may provide effective ways to manage your schedule. Pay attention to advice they give.
A social life is vital for developing a healthy personality, and participating in high school teams and groups help with this endeavor. However, it is vital to balance this with the main reason for attending high school: academics! Remember that at some high schools, team membership is dependent on academic performance. In the end, your schedule is your personal responsibility, so use the tools available to you. Think about ways you can prioritize your responsibilities. You can set your mobile phone to act as a reminder for various important events and also help manage your availability. You can also make use of a planner to write down the various activities lined up for each day. The use of a to-do list will help you accomplish all your daily activities and also keep you organized. Make use of the time available to you prudently. Be attentive in your classes, and take every opportunity you have to do your homework.
Teenagers need more sleep than most people are willing to acknowledge. However, numerous school districts are pushing back the start of the school day to allow students the opportunity to get more sleep. Do not allow social functions, especially practice for cheerleading, to interrupt on time that should be spent sleeping. A well-rested student is the best-prepared student.
If you are a parent or coach of a cheerleader, be on the lookout for bullying behavior or misinterpretation of interactions of members of the cheer team. It can be especially easy for students who are still learning about social interactions to offend or feel offended by someone else. Monitor text messages, social media and in-person gatherings to identify the initial hints of a problem. By intervening early, it is possible to keep everyone focused on the positive aspects of the social group. A bully issue can have a negative impact on a young woman’s life.
With proper planning, you’ll be able to balance your schedule. Learning how to balance your social life, school and cheerleading activities will help you develop self-discipline and time-management skills that will be of great value to you later in life.
In honor of GTM’s 25th birthday, we thought it would be fun to show you a timeline of GTM’s success and expansion. Here is some insight about our history and how it all began! Did you know that GTM was original named “It’s Greek To Me?”
Did you know GTM sponsors more than 15 different NFL Cheer Teams? We asked the Minnesota Vikings’ Director & Treasurer, Tami Krause, about her team and why they love GTM! Check out what she had to say.
Transition from High School to College Cheer/Dance Team
Transitioning from high school to college is tough as it is, but adding college dance or cheer team into the picture is even more stressful. GTM wants to help you succeed and answer any questions or concerns you may have. We have compiled a list of Q & A’s for you to take a look at as you prepare for your try outs!
GTM is ready to help you look your best in 2014 with an update on the top cheer trends for this year. We have narrowed down a list of the top GTM items for your team to shine in!
It’ll be here before you know it! One of the best team bonding experiences is right around the corner – CAMP! Are you ready for early mornings, spirit sticks, lots of screaming, loud music, sore muscles, awards, late night snacks, team building activities and so much more?