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LIMITED WORLDS DIVISION EXPLAINED

LIMITED WORLDS DIVISION EXPLAINED

By Cat Weeden

Published April 18, 2022

We have all waited 3 LONG years for the return of “The True Worlds Experience.” 3 long years for international teams to return. 3 long years for the fans to sit from sunup to sundown to watch the best of the best duke it out one last time. 

After the 2020 Worlds was canceled (understandably), we were all grateful to be back in action in 2021. But the experience was just not the same. There were hardly any spectators, most teams only competed in person 2-3 times leading up to the World Championships and there was a noticeable absence of international teams. It was an all-around strange year, but man, were we so thankful to be back in Orlando. 

For the first time since 2018-2019, we all experienced a real competitive season. Albeit, a very strange regular season, but we all competed multiple times, the biggest and best events were back in person (NCA, Jamfest, and Jamz) and our kids returned fully to the sport they love. Beyond these factors, there was an extra magical air to this season. The addition and mystery of the Limited All Girl and Coed Worlds Divisions. 

The 2022 World Championships will feature 3 NEW division offerings for US Based Teams, Limited XS/SM Sr 6, Limited XS Coed and Limited Sm Coed 6. For your team to have qualified for these divisions, you must meet 3 standards: 

  1. Any team participating in Limited must be your brand’s ONLY worlds team. 

  2. Your Team must be a Senior Club Level U.S. Based team 

  3. 22 or less members. 

These divisions are not exclusionary of any size gym, as long as you meet the three requirements, you’re in. 

The History of How we got here

During the 2017 D2 Summit, USASF announced the addition of the XS worlds division. The parameters to participate were that you had to have only 1 Worlds team under your brand, and your team had to be 14 participants or less. At the time, the smallest worlds division size was “small” which was up to 20 athletes. For a smaller Worlds gym that had approx 75-125 athletes, having 20 Worlds athletes would mean that approx 20-45% of their program would need to be Worlds athletes in order to field these teams. The max number of 14 was an opportunity that created positive ripples in the small gym community for years.

That very first year of XS was MAGICAL. There was a sense of hope that we had never felt before on the world side. We would have the ability to compete on the Worlds stage, in a division that was more realistically attainable for Smaller D1 and D2 gyms. We were in regular season divisions of other teams that looked like us and were developmentally at the same place as us. 

We had 1 year. One fantastic, magical, wonderful year of this division with the limitations for participation. By the end of the season the gyms with more than 1 Worlds team made a full court press to not be excluded from Extra Small. At the time it was devastating for the division to be opened to everyone. In retrospect, the mistake was that it was a new SIZE category and that the option to field smaller teams SHOULD have been inclusive of everyone. 

Since the inclusion of Extra Small, Non-Tumbling Coed and All girl, Senior Open Small Coed and All girl, Senior Open Large Coed, Int Small Coed and numerous other divisions have been adopted by Worlds. Each division added serves a purpose and helps bridge gaps in the World’s fabric. 

Over the last 4 years, the Worlds dynamic has drastically changed. There are no longer 50+ teams in Small Coed and All girl. Large Senior and Large Senior Coed remain the title divisions of the championships, but they are dramatically smaller in size. Non-Tumbling and Senior Open Small Coed have EXPLODED in the US and Extra Small has taken its place as the largest coed and all girl club divisions at Worlds. 

While divisions have been continuously created to fill gaps, there hasn’t been anymore regard to the creation of divisions that are focused on further developing the Worlds opportunity amongst all types of gyms. What we do know is that according to USASF, D2 gyms are approximately  83% of the allstar gym industry. Yes, you read that correctly – at least 83%. We know that this number is probably TOO LOW based solely on the amount of D2 gyms that do not participate in USASF, so that number is probably closer to 92%, conservatively. 

We had divisions for athletes over 18 (Open/ Int Open), for club teams of different sizes (Extra Small, Small, Medium and Large), for Athletes that do not tumble, but still deserve the right to participate (Non-Tumbling all girl and coed) and if you look at the international spectrum, they have many more additional options that are direct reflections of the everchanging allstar landscape. However, no division for gyms that reflect possibly 92% of the industry… It didn’t make sense.

During the USASF National meeting in Charlotte, the Limited divisions were brought for discussion, and were overwhelmingly agreed upon by D2 and D1 gyms in attendance. There would be no gym size limitations on them, anyone could participate, and they would not be a new exclusionary size category.  The idea would be that while for the 21-22 season they would not be stand-alone divisions, they would be their own divisions for the World Championships. Mid-Summer the divisions were made official.

The Mystery Surrounding Limited

Since Limited was not a stand-alone division in 21-22, no one really KNEW who would participate in the divisions at Worlds. Would teams that qualify, but have had success in the standard divisions choose to stay in the standard divisions or would they participate in Limited? There have been many assumptions, guesses and predictions about who would be in the divisions, but up until last week, no one knew for sure.

That mystery has been nerve wracking, but also very exciting. By not having to declare until you registered for the World Championships, no one really knew what these divisions would look like. Now that the first Worlds schedule has been released.  We now know that Limited has not only been well received by D2 gyms, but even more by the D1 gyms that qualify. This was absolutely the hope. We have previous World Champion Teams, many Worlds Finalist teams, and teams that have been right outside of the podium for years. 

Limited by the Numbers

(As of 4/18, The numbers are anticipated to grow since some teams are not classified correctly)

Limited DIVISION
Limited Small Coed
___________________________
Teams: 11
Paid Bids: 3
Limited DIVISION
Limited XS Coed
Limited XS Coed will be the SECOND largest Club Coed division, following XSC
Teams: 10
Paid Bids: 3
Limited DIVISION
Limited SM/XS All Girl
Limited All girl will be the SECOND largest Club all girl division, following XS
Teams: 18
Paid Bids: 7

The Future of Limited

The future of Limited is currently up in the air, with USASF commenting that they would like to see what participation at Worlds looks like and how the division goes next weekend. There are many more questions hanging in the air about Limited’s future, but I think it’s fair of USASF to wait until after its first run to decide its long-term fate. 

Will Limited be back at Worlds 2023?

Based on 2022 Worlds participation alone, I would call this a YES. With at least 40 teams participating, 13 Paid Bids and many more teams already declaring that they will be out of Open divisions to participate next season, I think there is no way Limited disappears for 2023 Worlds.

Will Limited become a Standalone Division for the 2022-23 Season?

This is up in the air. I think the mystery surrounding Limited and its participants was fun this year, but going into Worlds, there were a lot of teams that were classified and listed in wrong divisions on the first schedule. Some didn’t note Limited on registration and believed it would automatically populate them into the division, so it’s not really at the fault of USASF.  However,  this would be an easier process if we were ‘Limited’ all year. Also, there is value in competing against the correct teams all year and not only seeing your competitors at Worlds. If it isn’t granted stand-alone division status next season, which it should, it should at least become a Division Split that EP’s are allowed to use. 

Does the inclusion of Limited dilute Worlds?

No. While it feels like there are so many Worlds Divisions and Champions, the reality is that the number of teams that participate at Worlds represent less than 3-5% of the TOTAL membership of allstar cheer. The World Champs, even with 40 divisions, are less than the top 1% of active allstars. Back when there was one All Girl and one Coed winner, allstar was dramatically smaller. The participation has exponentially grown at a rate that called for more divisions and levels. If you are strong enough to take down 17 other teams in Limited All Girl 6, you have earned the right to the World Championship Title. 

Should franchises be allowed to participate in Limited?

In my opinion, no. The division has specific qualifications around it and within those parameters the division is already alive and well and could double in size within the next year. Even though some franchises are smaller in size, they are still a part of very successful brands, and they still have many options for divisions without the ability to participate in Limited. There are many benefits to being a part of a strong national brand, but there are also drawbacks, and to me this is one of them. This division is about development in the same way Non-Tumbling is about offering a division to kids who are not strong tumblers. 

Is Limited a Fast Track to the Podium?

We have divisions at Worlds where you wake up as AT LEAST a Bronze Worlds Medalist. Or you must take down 1 team to Globe. Take it, these are the most talented, best coached, most storied, and outright toughest divisions of Worlds, but that doesn’t change the stats. Whoever wins Large coed, has to move mountains to do it, and they deserve every second of glory and infamy for doing it. With the Limited divisions already being second largest in club division size, I would go as far as to say that these divisions are legitimate, hard and going to be unpredictable. 

Not Everyone Should be able to Compete at Worlds?

Are you the Worlds gatekeeper? Am I? Is your mom? No none of us are. And again, less than 3% of the industry gets to even compete. No one behind a keyboard, a screen, a group text or behind nasty comments gets to decide who can participate, USASF does. You get a bid or you don’t. You go and hit or you don’t.

Who are the Front Runners for Limited?

That’s the best part of these divisions, IT’S ANYONE’S GAME. When was the last time a Worlds Division felt like that?

My final thoughts on Limited

I hope every team in the 3 divisions go out this weekend and performs the routine of a lifetime. I hope any given day the best team of that day wins. I hope that every kid who has waited their turn to compete at Worlds, in their home gym uniform, lives the dream this weekend. I mostly hope that the MAGIC we found 4 seasons ago lives on through Limited. 

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Tough Times Don’t Last

Cheer Coach blog

By Cat Weedon

UpdatedJanuary 14, 2022

They say ‘Tough Times don’t last but Tough People Do’

And these my friends, are the toughest of times. It’s about time we had a very honest conversation about it.

As Coaches, Owners and Directors we thrive on structure, order and on controlling chaos. But right now, there is very little ability to do any of this. Every day brings new challenges that we never anticipated we would face. Every day brings more decisions that need to be made accurately and swiftly. SO MANY DECISIONS. The sheer number of daily decisions can be almost paralyzing.

I see you calming the storms, keeping the ship on course, and leading with confidence. I also see the days its hard to get out of bed and face the realities of what today will bring. I see the struggles to leave it all at the door, to have something left to give so you can be Mom, Dad or Spouse. I see the stress of wanting to NOT be another person or institution that have let these kids down. I see the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows that are hidden behind your game face.

I feel for the constant changing of routines. I feel for the daily texts and calls asking for kids to step up and compete an additional routine. I feel for every coach having to comfort a teary kiddo that they may miss this event, but they will be back for the next. I feel for altering every hope and dream we had for our teams at the beginning of the season. Those hopes and dreams are still there, but they look different every practice. Today it’s to stay in range on tumbling/ stunts with fill ins, tomorrow its to try to address bandaids you’ve put on routines just to make it through the last event, the next day its just do what we must do, to get this team on the floor this weekend. 

I hear the tenacity in every owner and coach that has refused to give up. Just keep swimming, keep putting one foot in front of another. I hear the parents who are rallying behind their gym leadership with kindness, understanding and grace. I hear the pleas for just one normal week. Just one event where the roster this week is the same as the one last week. I hear the compassion of coaches that know this kid just needs your kindness and love, not the correction. I hear the pride of the hitting against all odds. I also hear the tears in the car on the way home convincing yourself you’ve done the best you can do today.  And you have! You did the best you could and you should be proud of that. 

Your battles are my battles too. We are wearing so many hats, and filling so many roles that it can be overwhelming:

OWNER:

Navigating owning a business dependent on children during a 3 year long pandemic

GYM MEDICAL DIRECTOR:

Tasked with enforcing everchanging CDC Protocols, calculating Days of Quarantine, and determining who is back in time to compete any given weekend

COACH:

Responsibilities to multiple teams’ success despite the challenges. Because parents want to see results and let’s be honest, we need the good results to recharge the empty tanks. 

CHOREOGRAPHER:

Sometimes you’re putting a ‘Bandaid’ on a routine, and sometimes you’re totally having to rethink sections depending on who is on the floor this weekend.

DOCTOR:

Eye’s down a kid, thinks to myself “did that kid just cough 3 times, was it dry or wet, do they sound sick or did the dust get them, does she seem like she feels ok? Racking my brain… I don’t think mom said Suzy wasn’t feeling good.” Everyone quick water break, Suzy sis come here, you’re not in trouble! “ How are you feeling?”

THERAPIST:

Kids are hurting and they need you. Sometimes they need encouragement, sometimes a stern push in the right direction, sometimes they need to be held accountable and sometimes they just need hug. The pressure can be debilitating on cheer athletes right now. Especially with the current Anon culture. Gyms are doing their best to keep kids competing, even with out-of-level fill in athletes, only to be slammed for not perfect performances. Anons should be ashamed of themselves. We are doing our best. 

PSYCHIC:

Answering questions about events that are over 30 days away is a stretch right now. Honestly, most of us are  functioning at a 3-4 days in advance place right now. But parents want reassurances that comps are going to happen, that money invested in flights and hotels won’t be lost, that all of this will lead to end of season events their kids are hoping for.

And we give them those reassurances the best we can, all while understanding that 2 years ago Cheer Stood Still. Every email, call, post or text now includes “as far as we know”, “Based on the information we have”,“ If anything changes you will be the first to know”, or “ They’re saying the event is a GO”

Escapism: (noun) the tendency to seek distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, especially by seeking entertainment or engaging in fantasy. 

I have read 8 books since Jan 1st. Though I have always loved to read, every free second I have right now, I’m reading. I’m staying up all hours of the night to read it is consuming me.  Tabbi M my cheer BFF called me out, rightly so, for using reading as a method of escapism. She was 100 percent correct.

I am ESCAPING into books, because my current reality as a Coach and Gym Owner is not always pleasant. This moment in time is HARD.  I’m lucky that I can escape into a book, but others may not have safe outlets that help them cope with the world around them right now.  Pour into them, give them grace and support, its so needed right now. 

But there is light, and hope, and daily reminders of why we all CHOOSE this industry

Let me tell you something about every coach and owner I know, no one can match their tenacity. No one problem solves better, and no not one of them will give up on these kids or this season. 

The greatest mistake we made, was believing that the 2020-2021 season was the worst it was going to get. We let our guard down. To a certain degree, last year was a walk in the park compared to now. We all competed a lot of virtual events, and while those were challenging, if you had the time and willpower you could get a zero for submission. Now the battle is making through the week leading up to competition. It feels like a total win to just be on the floor. 

Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do.

And we are TOUGH

Keep fighting the good fight, Keep Livin the Dream.

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Chasing Perfection in an Imperfect Sport

By Cat Weeden

Published August 23, 2019

Allstar Cheer is a conundrum.

Allstar Cheer is a conundrum.

We are literally chasing perfection ( Zero Deductions/ a perfect 100 score) in an imperfect sport.  Yes, I can love allstar cheer with every part of me, and still say that this sport is imperfect and its questionable if it is moving in a direction that will solve any of it’s current problems. But that’s for another blog ☺ 

Some of the biggest imperfections with the current state of Allstar Cheer, in my opinion:

1. The rules of play are ever changing
2. Divisions are created and altered to solve perceived problems, but sometimes they create more problems
3. The rising cost of the sport is a barrier to entry and retention
4. Too much of our scoring, point deduction and legality calls are subjective and are without the proper balance and checks system that’s needed for accuracy and legitimacy

5. Until 1-4 are resolved, the disparity between small gyms and larger gyms will not lessen, but only continue to increase.
6. Politics play WAY TOO BIG of a part of ALL aspects of this industry. If you disagree with this, then feel free to stay in the Skunken place…. Cause being blissfully unaware is really a thing.

5. Until 1-4 are resolved, the disparity between small gyms and larger gyms will not lessen, but only continue to increase.
6. Politics play WAY TOO BIG of a part of ALL aspects of this industry. If you disagree with this, then feel free to stay in the Skunken place…. Cause being blissfully unaware is really a thing.

So if I’m saying that so much of allstar cheer is imperfect or broken, then the real question is how do we define “perfection” and how do we obtain it?

The answer to this question is going to be different for everyone. Some may define perfection as a win, a zero deduction routine, no parent complaints, happy teenage girls at practice, no drama, all accounts current ( we can only dream right?). I personally have defined it numerous ways over my career as a coach. Some of these ways ( like ‘Let’s win this event’) make you feel ultra fulfilled if you succeed, but incredibly hollow if you fall short. And most importantly there are factors outside of your control in this industry. You can only control your product, you cannot control what other teams do, or how judges judge creativity, routine comp or even the difficulty of your stunt sequence.

With all the factors you cannot control it is imperative that you focus on the ones that you can control. Take a step back and start focusing again on “The Experience” across the full season. Create or attend an allstar summer camp, find a sister/buddy team to create another layer to your season, choose competitions that offer more than just a bid, and enjoy every moment of your season as it happens.

Create or Attend a camp with other teams in your level or division

Last year the Small Cheer Gym Association held two allstar cheer camps in Tulsa at Luxe, one was for level 3&4 teams and the other was for level 5 teams. We came together, all helped coaches each other’s teams and spent 48 hours learning, bonding and breaking up the monotony that the summer time can be. Our kids interacted and made friends with kids in Texas, Iowa, Missouri and Oklahoma.

The camp was helpful for skills, but more importantly, it created another experience that our kids will remember for a lifetime. Find some friends, pick a gym and do this! It was awesome

Find a Sister/ Brother Team for the Season

I will be the first to say I thought this was super dumb…. I’m not going to lie.

Just another gimmick that gyms/teams do to stay relevant on twitter or whatever. The idea of having a team across the country that you’re linked to didn’t make sense to me. But what did make sense to me was having a team we were around many times throughout the competition season as a buddy team.

We found this in Icon Cheer Lady Envy. The Lady Legend and Lady Envy kids bonded immediately at our Level 5 camp and continued to stay in touch throughout the summer and fall. Lady Envy’s Head Coach, Tabbi McCallister, and I are great friends, but we didn’t foresee the bond our kids would create. We are cheering each other on during warm ups, on the floor, after the event and during the week. When we struggled, they were there for encouragement, and vice versa. We will practice together at worlds, even got a matching shirt for the girls, and will plan a sister team retreat this summer for the two teams. The addition of a sister team added a whole extra layer to this season for our girls, and I am grateful for it!

Choose a Schedule that Celebrates the Experience

Competition scheduling can be very redundant. Over the last 3 years the only time we adjusted the schedule was in order to accommodate bid intentions/ allocations. The lack of value on the actual event, but the overemphasis on a bid to another event started sucking the life out of me and our families.

We decided to drop a couple local two day events, and instead went to JAMZ Nationals Vegas. And man, that event was the Ultimate Experience. #1 its Vegas , #2 The Closing Awards ceremonies were a complete production, like amazing, #3 for our elite teams there were no bids, we were just trying to win our divisions! 

Imagine that. #4 it was VEGAS! Our families didn’t even care what hardly happened at the competition, because the experience was enough. We will still attend bid events, but they will be attended because they offer something of substance to our families. Whatever your reasoning is for picking events, ask yourself “ what does this event offer my families, experience wise, other than just a bid”

Enjoy as Many Moments as Possible

Go to the parks at your end of season events. Talk about how special each one of your kid’s are at your end of season banquets. Encourage and appreciate all the new skills kids are getting around tryout time, instead of reminding them that a single skill doesn’t make them a specific level. Find a couple parents and let them know how much their words of encouragement have helped you. Connect, connect, connect.

This isn’t about retention; this is about connecting to the people that have believed in you. Make sure people know that this is bigger than just skills and wins for you. You know this is the case, but sometimes they need to hear it from you. And please take the team picture event when you don’t win the event, or place last. The experience of the event was great even if the final placements weren’t what you wanted. Give them a memory to look back on.

 

The imperfections of this sport can literally kill you on the inside, you owe it to yourself to find the joy and fun again. And you owe it to these kids to keep their focus on the aspect of this industry that you can control. At the end of the day you can compete the best routine you ever have done, and you still cannot guarantee a win! That’s just how cheer works. So stay keyed on the experiences you can navigate and create through your program. Families that buy into this will carry these experiences with them for life.

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13 Tips for D2 Summit

13 Tips For D2 Summit

By Cat Weeden

Published May 6, 2019

Luxe Cheer has attended every year of the D2 summit...

We were at the inaugural D2 summit in Tampa and haven’t looked back since. We have had teams on wildcards, at larges and on paid bids. We have had our teams place 8/8, not advanced to finals, make it to finals, place top 3 and even have won the Junior 4 division.I am no expert on Disney but,between attending Worlds and D2 Summit yearly I have experience just about every hiccup possible in Orlando! What I have realized is that your attitude is everything.

These are my top 13 Tips for D2 Summit.

1. Disney’s Magical Express

The Disney’s Magical Express line to load the shuttles can be VERY long. Prepare your families for the wait. If people know what to expect, they handle it much better. Pack snacks in your backpack, and make the time pass by playing ‘heads up’ or other games while in line. If you forgot to reserve your DME, no worries, if you are staying on site, you can print off your DME vouchers once you arrive in Orlando.

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2. Gym verify

Staying onsite= Go to Celebrity Hall, which is in the parking lot of Disney Allstar Resorts.
Commuter= tents outside of Disney Springs.

The lines can be long, so prepare for that and give the staff some grace. People are probably unkind to them all day, be different and maybe ask how their day has been!🤗

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3. PARK HOPPERS

Have the kids and families IMMEDIATELY take a picture of the BACK of their park hoppers. If one is lost, it can be replaced (at Disney customer service stations) free of charge, if you have the numbers on the back. If lost and you don’t have the numbers, you would have to purchase a brand new one to replace it. And ALL athletes are REQUIRED to have the park hoppers to compete.

4. Set Athlete Expectations

BEFORE arriving in Orlando, make sure your kids and parents are aware of athlete/family expectations. Do you have curfew times, are kids able to freely go to parks with their families, do all athletes need to watch your other teams or will they be released after competing. Think through these things, make a decision on them and then communicate them ahead of the trip. Our families get to enjoy Disney, but they do not get a free for all on when they can go!

5. Getting around, once in Orlando

If you are staying onsite the DME will bring you to hotel, Varsity Charter buses will bring you to the competition and Disney shuttles will take you to the parks! If off site you may be responsible for some or all of this transportation.We chose to book our rooms through Competition Travel Group this season. They blocked us in a hotel that has practice space for all teams staying, shuttles to the parks and charter buses to the competition.

5. Getting around, once in Orlando

If you are staying onsite the DME will bring you to hotel, Varsity Charter buses will bring you to the competition and Disney shuttles will take you to the parks! If off site you may be responsible for some or all of this transportation.We chose to book our rooms through Competition Travel Group this season. They blocked us in a hotel that has practice space for all teams staying, shuttles to the parks and charter buses to the competition.

6. Double the Travel Time EVERYWHERE while in Orlando

If it says it 10 minutes, give yourself at least 20. Onsite or off site, being aware of shuttle times and commuting times is really important. We schedule ourselves to be at the competition 30 minutes before we would normally walk into a competition venue, and we give ourselves extra extra time for shuttles. Better to be early than late

7. Let your kids go to the parks

Don’t overschedule your teams. If you bring these kids to Disney, let them go and enjoy it! This will be a memory of a lifetime for them. There is nothing in life like being there when a kid sees Cinderella’s Castle for the very first time. You cannot control if they win or not, but you can help control if they leave feeling the magic of Disney.

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8. Roll with the Punches

There are going to be multiple things that go wrong while at the D2 Summit. Some of these things will be little, some big. My advice is to roll with the punches and remind yourself that your families and kids will feed off your energy and expectation.
Be a leader that problem solves and keeps issues in perspective. If the issues are amongst the gym, resolve, diffuse and keep moving forward. If the issues are with the competition, address them professionally and in person, I would refrain from posting them online until you exhaust all avenues.

9. Release the Pressure & Expectations that are Crippling you

No one can put more pressure on a Coach/Owner/Director than they can put on themselves. And sometimes that pressure can cripple you, make you fearful, and be very lonely. Find the time to release some of this pressure off of yourself. Go to the parks, have some fun, find perspective and remind yourself if you don’t enjoy the trip, how can the people around you enjoy it.

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10. Not all of Your Teams are Going to Do Well

You may not want to hear this, but you need to:
If you bring 2 teams, one is going to do better than the other.

You need to be prepared for this, and you need to communicate this ahead of time to your families and kids. This is just the reality of competing. The year we won Junior 4 at D2, 1 of our other teams made it to finals, and 2 didn’t get out of the At Large round. We knew with bringing 4 teams that their paths and the reality of each advancing or winning was different, by having honest conversations with families you can avoid a lot of problems. A division of 10 is not the same as a division of 100. That is just real life folks!

11. Connect with Other Coaches/ Teams While at D2

The other coaches attending D2 will be in the exact same boat as you. You will ALL be losing your mind together, so connect and support each other. We usually try to connect with other gyms when practicing on the football field at Allstar, find time to meet up at night or share a meal. Sharing ‘Suzie and her mom’ stories never gets old!

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12. Create fun traditions for your kids or your staff

We are all about our staff rituals and traditions at Luxe! One of them is the staff thigh stand at D2 Summit.
As silly as it is, its just something we do every summit. Another thing we love to do is grad one or two kids and randomly build a lib. Why? Who knows, but we love to do it and have some fun. Create something that you can do yearly and look forward too.

13. Enjoy the Experience

There are divisions of 159 teams at D2. In a division that large, you can hardly control anything, let alone the judging. You may hit the routine of a lifetime and still place 85th place and that’s just how it goes. No one is going to D2 to lose or not make finals, but still 75% of the teams that compete will do just that!

So focus on what you can control, enjoy the last performances of the year, take pictures with your kids and coaches, remind a kid that has not their best day that you love them regardless. Cut yourself some slack, and appreciate what you have created and the kids that believe in you!

Winning or not doesn’t matter in the long run, having fun, growing and wanting to be a champion is what matters.

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All in or All Out: Letting Go and Moving Forward when a Kid Leaves your Gym

All In Or All Out: Letting Go And Moving Forward When A Kid Leaves Your Gym

By Cat Weeden

Published January 17, 2019

This industry demands every single part of you to be successful.

You must be able to problem solve, balance budgets, work quickly and work well under pressure. You will sacrifice your time, your sleep, your relationships, and the ability to talk about anything else other than cheer in a one on one or group setting. I had no way to know almost 20 years ago that I would learn so much about love, loss and commitment through this sport. But I have. Over all these years, the biggest lesson I have learned, is that the greatest and most important part of you, that you voluntarily give away while coaching is your HEART.

I have given a piece of my heart away to thousands of kids who have turned into great adults, and great little people. They say that shared experience creates bonds, friendships and lifetime memories, and I cannot think of a better example of this than cheer. We grow with these kids through practices, tumbling classes, traveling, competing, handling adversity in their lives, celebrating individual and team successes and through navigating life, which can be really hard on some kids.

Its only natural that these kids hold a very special place in your life and you grow to love them like your own children.

There is no other heartbreak that is comparable in coaching, then when you have a kid or kids you have invested in, leave your program.Every coach or owner I have ever met, has a story (if not more than 1) of the total and absolute heartbreak stemming from this. It can be confusing, hurtful, blindsiding and really derail your forward momentum if you let it. Or this can be a moment in time where you grow as a coach and a person.

I have personally experienced this many times over the years. Its not easy to navigate through, but I have always come out the other side a better, stronger person. It’s important when you lose a kid to understand the situation from all angles, remind yourself that you ONLY want kids in your program that want to be there and lastly move on, find peace and gain focus.

Understanding the Situation from all Angles

Kids leave gyms or get out of cheer for a handful of reasons depending on their age.

Here are just a couple of reasons:

  • Cost
  • Time Commitment
  • Not Progressing
  • Burn out
  • Playing another Sport
  • Opportunism
  • Fit
  • Outside Distractions (Boyfriends, Friends, High School, Getting a Car, etc).

These are all valid reasons for a kid to start unengaging and want to quit or move on,  but these are not necessarily reasons that parent should allow it. But that’s itself could be a whole other blog ☺

Whatever their reasoning may be, once a kid or family lets one of those reasons fester long enough, it will become a distraction for them, you and the team. Not every kid is made for the long haul in cheer, and not every kid that starts in your program will make it to the end of their eligibility in your program. Once you understand and accept this some disappointment will come off your shoulder.

Put yourself in the kid or parent’s shoes.  Realize that sometimes it really isn’t about you, its about them and whatever stage they are in in their lives. If they have done you wrong before, during or after they’ve left, that’s on THEM, not you.

 

Our job is to love these kids, help them foster growth and become better people while they are with us. We are just lucky enough to do all of those things through the vehicle that is Cheer.

Only Want Kids in the Program That Want to Be There

This was a big mentality shift for me about 6 years ago. Instead of valuing my team, program or gym where I should have, I had gotten really suck on this idea that if a kid left it was because we “weren’t good enough in some way.” Being on the defense all the time stopped me from being able to read the team environment and individual kid’s interactions correctly. Some kids/ Parents are TOXIC to your gym and environment. Don’t fight for those people. Don’t stand in their way if they talk of leaving And don’t be sad when they leave.

Nowadays, my mentality is that it’s a privilege to cheer in our program, and I may love you, but if you don’t hold value in our gym, team, stunt, then this isn’t right fit for the kid, the team nor the program.

Move On, Find Peace and Gain Focus

Move on! Every kid that has ever come through your doors has been an important part of your history, your now and your future. No one kid, or handful of kids will define you or your program. It’s really easy to let getting burned by a kid or a family alter what you do, and question the motives of others around you. Be vigilant, but not paranoid.  Never let a situation or disappointment create an emotional wall between you and the people that are deserving of that love.

The last piece of the puzzle for me was gaining focus. I aim to focus on everyone around me that’s ALL IN. those people are the ones who can handle a rocky competition, terrible practice, stunt/ formation changes with grace and ease. They understand the process and the hills and valleys of a season. They understand that you are human and sometimes make mistakes, and they support you through them. I invest in these people and they invest in me and the program.  Give new kids and families that join your program the chance to create forever bonds with you.

People stay in a sport like cheer because of their kids abilities, and their belief that the coaches care about the kids successes on and beyond the mat. A gym is a family, and its own community. And that community is strongest when you believe in your program, your product and yourself . These kids deserve ALL of you, not just a small protected portion of you.

Water, love, and nurture the ones who have dropped roots and move forward from the ones who have not.

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Completion Mode Vs Performance Mode: Answering the age-old question of ‘Why don’t my flyers perform in the air’

Ipp Cheer Flyers

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Youhitzero Logo Blanca Y Negro Butt


 

Published November 19, 2018


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Completion Mode Vs Performance Mode


Answering the age-old question of
‘Why don’t my flyers perform in the air’


Of all the valuable lessons I have learned through trial and lots of error in coaching, Completion Mode vs Performance Mode may be the most important. In an industry that not only puts a lot of emphasis on the aesthetic, but also assigns it a competitive value (performance, technique, creativity, showmanship, overall impression scores), teams scores don’t just depend on what they do, they depend on how they do it.


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As one of the creators and administrators of the Small Cheer Gym Association Facebook group, which is a fb community dedicated to Small Gym owners and coaches, the question, in many forms, that is asked constantly is “Why don’t my flyers perform in the air?” Its usually followed up with “they are flexible, work hard, the group is good enough to nail the stunt, but for some reason they never turn it on and create ‘A Show.’


For me the answer to this question lies in asking yourself are the focused-on Completion of the Stunt or the Performance of the stunt. Because it’s very hard for kids to do both.


In LuxeLand (the Luxe Cheer universe lol) we define being in Completion mode as: when the stunt group is concerned mainly with making it through the stunt. They are actively focused on getting from the starting point of the stunt or pyramid to the end.

  • The completion phase will vary per group on the team.

  • Some may be out of this phase fast, while others stay in it for a while.

  • In this phase they do not trust that they can make it to the end without concentration on every moving part of the stunt and most likely there’s one or two sticky parts of the sequence that they repeatedly miss.


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The most important thing to take away from being in completion mode, is that it will almost ALWAYS lead to:



  • A lack of timing across groups

  • Inaccurate building formations

  • Inconsistent performance from your flyers.

  • Increased stress or anxiety from the group or team



When the athletes are concentrating on just making it through, it leaves no room for details, faces, and growth. And the longer they stay in this place, the more likely you are going to start seeing bad attitudes, frustration, and anxiety from your team members.


As coaches, we put a lot of pressure and stress on ourselves to create and compete the most perfect, win-able routine from the start. We know the grids, the rubrics, the magic numbers and who our competitors are. And we know what skills it takes to be unstoppable. We also know the full potential of the kids in our programs. But knowing their full potential, or how they need to be pushed can cripple us.


So how do we get out of Completion Mode and move into Performance Mode???


1. EDITS


Modify the stunt or section of the pyramid that is causing the issue. If 2 out of the 3 groups have no problem with it, leave theirs and take out the 3rd. Knowing your magic numbers (the number you must hit in that section to score in the range you are going for) helps this tremendously. MAKE THE EDIT


2. KEEP THE KIDS IN THE LOOP


When you modify, explain. “Suzie, were going to take out your switch up lib and just do a straight up one for this event. We only need 2 not 3 to score high and I really need you to focus on nailing the dismount.” The older the team, the more likely they believe they know the scoresheet, remind them that their job is to trust your edits. Trust your gut and your edits.


3. REPETITION WITH POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT


Once you modify and get them on board, repetition is key! Have them do the modified section numerous times and point out the good, you as the coach, need to get excited for the good. Help them celebrate the little achievements and growth.


4. MAKE IT FUN!


Games, contests and candy will make superstars out of your tinys all the way up to your open college level athletes. Break up the monotony.


5. REMEMBER NOT TO MAKE YOUR ROUTINE ABOUT A SINGLE KID, SKILL OR SELECTION


If Suzie cannot hit a skill, or will not throw it, take it out and move on. I know it can be so frustrating, but you are letting the one skill or section define the whole team. You may not be in the range you want if you pull a skill, but what’s the likelihood it will be done correctly, if at all, on a competition day? Find another place on the scoresheet to make up what you lost. I.e Lose .2 in standing tumbling difficulty but gain .3 in technique with the ones who are solid.

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Once the kids KNOW they can all hit the routine that’s in front of them, you will immediately see a difference. The anxiety of uncertainty is what keeps them from rising to their full performance potential.


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Beat the October Money Pit

Beat The October Money Pit

By Cat Weeden

Published October 22, 2018

Beat the October Money Pit

As we kick off the new season, the excitement of finished routines, uniforms arriving, new bows and impeding competitions is in the air.

The kids are pumped, the parents are starting to see it come together, and the coaches know that every practice were one step closer to the routines of our dreams. Everyone is so excited, except the front office/ownership of the gym!   Because October = Money Pit month in Allstar cheer

Competition deposits are due NOW, new/Fill-in Uniforms need to be paid for yesterday, teams are practicing extra, which means payroll is higher than normal and we are getting just close enough to the holidays that payments are coming in late/delayed.

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This time of the year can be very overwhelming if you choose to let it be.

This time of the year can be very overwhelming if you chose to let it be. I challenge you to rise above the October Money Pit and stabilize yourself financially by creating additional income streams within your gym. Semi-Private Lessons, Parent Fitness Classes, Birthday Parties and Gym rentals are all great, fast ways to increase your gyms income.

Beat The October Money Pit


Semi-Private Lessons

Find any 30 minute to an hour holes in your coaches or your schedule. During those open times set up a 3-4 person lesson at $10-15 per kid. If staff work it, pay them their regular wage during the lesson. Make the Lessons skill specific (Backwalkovers, Back Handsprings, Tucks, Jumps, etc).  If you can put 4 of these in place your gym could bring in an additional $200 a week.


October Money Pit 3


Parent Fitness Classes

Everyone has that one coach that loves to condition the kids, and is very enthusiastic about fitness. Let this coach spearhead your coaches fitness class.  Set up 1 hour long parent fitness classes at your gym.  Charging a nominal monthly fee ($20-30) for a weekly class, and placing the class during practice times ( when parents are already at the gym) works great. If you offer 2 classes a week, with 5-10 participants in each class the gym could be looking at an additional $200-400 a month


October Money Pit 3


October 5


Birthday Parties

If your gym is not already offering birthday parties, you need to start immediately! Whatever equipment you have now is enough.  If you have a trampoline, tumble tracks, a pit, or inflatables even better! Parents of young children are always looking for safe, fun, inexpensive places to host parties. 2 hours, 1-2 junior staffers @$25 per party, a couple tables, some music and games is all you need to successfully operate birthday parties in your location. Create a flyer to post on FB, Instagram and to send to your gym kids is a great way to start.  1 birthday party a weekend can bring in an additional $700 a month


October 9


Gym Rentals

Depending on your location, you may have an influx of recreational teams, youth cheer groups or school cheer teams looking to get extra practice in. Practice space can be hard for them to nail down, especially as the weather turns colder. Reaching out to these groups and using organic FB and insta advertising can spread the word quickly. Charging a flat rate for a single rental, and a slightly discounted rate for multiple rentals. 3-4 rentals can bring in an additional $400 a month


October 9


RELATED ARTICLES:



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Semi-Private Lessons, Parent Fitness Classes, Birthday Parties and Gym Rentals take very little set up and financial investment on the gyms side, but can add additional steady income especially during this time of the year when finances are tight.

Take a good look into your weekly calendar, check to see where your coaches have holes in their schedules and implement programs that will help you stay financially free during Money Pit October!




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How to Progress during the Back to School Crunch – Practice Scheduling, Attendance, Motivation

Surviving Sept Fixt2

HOW TO PROGRESS DURING THE BACK TO SCHOOL CRUNCH - Practice Scheduling, Attendance, & Motivation

By Cat Weeden

Published September 13, 2018

As a Small Gymer, we all know the end of summer is a time of celebration! Church Retreats, Overnight Camps, Family Vacations, Trips to the Lake and the distractions of summer are finally gone and done. We are finally going to get full attendance back at practices which means stunts can solidify, tumbling can be finalized, and Pyramids can finally be created. 

Life is GREAT, you and your coaches are on a roll. Stuff is getting done. Then 3 weeks later school starts… and a whole new set of attendance problems start up!


In the Small Gym world, it is crucial to maximize the month of September by following these 4 tricks:


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Maximize Practice Efficiency Through Pre Planning


Every practice in the month of September is incredibly important. This is the last month before our internal clocks ding that its “Competition Season”. 

In order to get the very most out of this month, plan out each practice! Break your practice down into 10 minute sections and stick to the schedule. 


If your team is struggling in a section, planning ahead ensures that you think about this before practice starts, and you then create a plan to relieve the concern. You will be shocked how fast 10 minutes has previously been wasted once you start scheduling out practices.


“You will be shocked how fast 10 minutes has previously been wasted once you start scheduling out practices.”




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Mentally Just Keep Swimming


Absences are very hard on the team, but they are the hardest on the coaches! We have hopes, dreams and plans for practices, and 1 missed kid can throw that haywire….. if you choose to let it.

Coaches, I challenge you to take a “just keep swimming’ approach to these practices. Continue with your practice plan, work every section you need, let the missing stunt group do conditioning during the stunt run or even encourage the other groups. Whatever you do, don’t let 1 absent cheerleader distract you.

Intentionally include 3-4 full run throughs on your practice plan, and each practice continue to add sections to the “ run through” if you keep this up the kids will become acclimated to a 75% run overtime instead of drastically.

Even though there seems to be a million distractions in the month of September, by anticipating potential practice conflicts, maximizing your practice time through detailed scheduling, creating and encouraging extra bonus opportunities for your allstars and mentally continuing to advance your routines and readiness, you can excel and progress in the toughest month of the season!  


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-Cat Weeden

LuXe CheeR

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