As first time cheerleaders, basic safety tips can easily be overlooked.
When cheerleaders and parents think about cheer safety, their minds often revert to stunting. Although stunting does require the attention of parents and cheerleaders, other elements like which cheer shoes to purchase and where you’ll practice can be the difference between a memorable first cheer season or one filled with injuries.
Here are the top 4 safety tips every cheer beginner should know.
Your practice location matters
Like most sports, the location of your practices matter.
You’ll want to take your cheerleader to a facility that has mats or one with a surface that can absorb impact well. Although cheerleaders are often seen cheering on hard surfaces like a basketball court, constant practices on hard surfaces can lead to injuries.
Another key factor for practices is the amount of space you’ll have available to use. You’ll want plenty of space to execute stunts such as flips and to move freely if you’re taking more than one cheerleader.
Warming up is key to avoid injuries
As one of the main sports to focus on flexibility, stretching is one of the most important things your cheerleader should master right away.
By stretching key parts of their body such as their legs and arms, your cheerleader will reduce their chances of getting injured.
Another benefit of stretching is that over time it will lengthen their muscles allowing them to execute new moves easier and faster than those that don’t stretch consistently.
Practice in cheer specific shoes
The type of shoes your cheerleader wears to practice does matter.
Your cheerleader should practice in shoes that emphasize rubber-soles and has extra cushion and support built-in. With kicks, flips and long periods of standing, cushioned shoes will prevent injuries to your cheerleader’s arch.
The rubber-soles are an important feature for cheer shoes because it will grip onto the surface better, preventing your young cheerleader from slipping or falling.
Don’t allow them to practice by themselves
Your young cheer star will want to try out their new skills every chance they get. Although practicing at home is fine, make sure that your cheerleader knows the importance of you supervising their home practices.
One way you can get them to understand why supervision is important is to reiterate that unsupervised practices can lead to injuries, which means their season and opportunity to learn new techniques are done for the year.
Although there are risks to cheerleading, knowing these basic cheer safety tips will not only keep your cheerleader injury-free, but able to enjoy the remainder of the season with the rest of their peers.