Category Archives: Tips

The Importance of Proper Nutrition for Cheerleaders


By Steve Pawlyk

Published January 21, 2023

As a cheer coach, you play a crucial role in the development and success of your cheer squad. One important aspect of your squad’s performance that you may not think about is proper nutrition. Proper nutrition is essential for cheerleaders to perform at their best, both physically and mentally. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of proper nutrition for cheerleaders and how you, as a coach, can help ensure that your squad is getting the proper nutrition they need.


First and foremost, proper nutrition is essential for maintaining a healthy body weight and preventing injuries. Cheerleaders need to have enough energy to perform the demanding physical activities required in cheerleading, such as stunts, tumbling, and dance. A diet that is high in carbohydrates and lean protein, such as chicken, fish, and legumes, will provide the energy needed to perform these activities. Additionally, a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables will provide essential vitamins and minerals that are important for growth and development.

Proper nutrition also plays a crucial role in preventing injuries. A diet that is high in calcium, such as dairy products, will help prevent bone fractures and injuries. Vitamin C, found in fruits and vegetables, is also essential for maintaining healthy connective tissue, which can help prevent injuries. A diet that is high in antioxidants will also help to reduce inflammation, which can lead to injuries.

Proper nutrition is also important for maintaining the mental health of your squad members. A diet that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish and flaxseed, can help improve mood and cognitive function. A diet that is high in vitamin B6, such as chicken and turkey, can also help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

As a coach, you can play a critical role in helping your squad members to maintain a healthy diet by educating them about proper nutrition and providing them with healthy meal options. You can also work with a nutritionist to create a meal plan that is tailored to the specific needs of your squad members. Additionally, you can encourage your squad members to drink enough water and limit their intake of processed foods and sugary drinks.

In conclusion, proper nutrition is essential for the physical and mental well-being of your squad members. As a coach, you play a critical role in helping your squad members maintain a healthy diet by educating them about proper nutrition and providing them with healthy meal options. By ensuring that your squad members are getting the proper nutrition they need, you can help them perform at their best, both physically and mentally.

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Bring in more athletes to your gym


By Steve Pawlyk

Published January 21, 2023

As a cheerleading gym owner, it’s important to consistently attract new athletes and build strong, cohesive teams. But how can you do this effectively? Here are a few tips to help you sign up more athletes and build better teams:

  1. Create a welcoming, inclusive atmosphere. When athletes visit your gym, they should feel like they’re part of a supportive, friendly community. Make sure your coaches and staff members are approachable and welcoming, and encourage your current athletes to be inclusive of new members.
  2. Offer a variety of programs. By offering a range of programs, you can attract a diverse group of athletes and build teams at different skill levels. Consider offering tumbling classes, stunting clinics, and team training sessions to appeal to a wide range of athletes.
  3. Utilize social media and other marketing channels. In today’s digital age, social media is a powerful tool for reaching out to potential athletes. Make sure to maintain an active presence on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, and consider investing in targeted advertising to reach more people.
  4. Host open gyms and demo classes. Open gyms and demo classes are a great way for athletes to get a feel for your gym and try out different programs. Consider hosting these events on a regular basis to attract new athletes and showcase your gym’s offerings.
  5. Don’t forget about cheer music! A crucial element of any cheer routine is the music. When it comes to purchasing cheer music, be sure to check out IPP Music. We offer a wide selection of high-quality cheer tracks at affordable prices.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to signing up more athletes and building better teams at your cheerleading gym. And remember, always keep things lighthearted and fun – after all, cheerleading is all about having a good time!

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IPP's Premade Mixes are USA Cheer Compliant and customizable!  Add Sound FX, swap songs, & more!  Add your Team Name to the mix for only $10! 

Cheer Gym Tips – Partnering with Local Schools


By Steve Pawlyk

Published January 19, 2023

As a cheerleading gym owner, partnering with local schools can be a great way to attract new athletes and grow your business. By offering specific athletic clinics and signing up students to your gym, you can tap into a whole new market and build stronger relationships within your community. Here are a few tips to help you partner with local high schools and middle schools:

  1. Reach out to school administrators: The first step in partnering with local schools is to establish contact with school administrators and coaches. Set up a meeting to discuss your gym’s offerings and how you can work together to benefit the school’s athletic programs.
  2. Offer specific athletic clinics: Once you’ve established a relationship with local schools, consider offering specific athletic clinics to their students. For example, you could host a tumbling clinic for cheerleaders or a stunting clinic for aspiring cheer athletes. This will give you an opportunity to showcase your gym’s offerings and attract new athletes.
  3. Sign up interested students to your gym: After hosting a clinic, you may have students who are interested in joining your gym. Encourage these students to sign up and take advantage of your gym’s programs and offerings.

By following these tips, you can effectively partner with local schools and attract a new pool of athletes to your cheerleading gym. Remember to be proactive and stay in touch with school administrators and coaches, and don’t forget to showcase your gym’s offerings through specific athletic clinics.

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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 Small Coed
Teams: 11
Paid Bids: 3
Limited XS Coed
Limited XS Coed will be the SECOND largest Club Coed division, following XSC
Teams: 10
Paid Bids: 3
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:


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


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


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. 


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.


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?”


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. 


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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How Cheerleaders Can Improve Their Flexibility

cheerleaders flexibility

By Dr. Scott Christie

Published September 24, 2020

Did you know there are three main determinants of your flexibility potential?

They are:

Did you know there are three main determinants of your flexibility potential?

They are:

  1. Your neuromuscular system

  2. Your joint capsules

  3. Your joint structure

Neuromuscular System:

Your nervous system and muscles are the largest determinant of your range of motion. The brain will create tension in the muscles surrounding a joint in order to protect it as you move closer to an end range of motion.  

The reason the nervous system does this is to ensure your joint stays in place and does not move out of place. Therefore, the stronger you are or the more stable your joint is as it gets closer to its end range, the greater range of motion can be achieved.

How do we create a greater range of motion?

The best way to improve your range of motion in this scenario is to use different contract and relax methods.

For example, use a partner, lie on your back, have your partner help you move into a heel stretch position. Once you are in position, resist your partner who is trying to push your leg further.

Do this for 5 seconds then relax. Repeat 5 more times. You can also do this with a stretching strap.

Joint Capsules:

The second area of restriction comes from your joint capsule which helps hold two bones together and can become stiff or can already be stiff based on your genetic make-up. 

The best way to improve your joint capsule flexibility is to hold your stretches longer. Once you are done stretching you should do some contractions at your newfound end range so that you are strong in this new position.

Stretching like this every day is key to long term flexibility increases. 


Lastly, the structure of your joint can dictate how far a joint can move. For example, some athletes will have a fairly deep hip socket and as such they will not be able to increase their range of motion at this joint.

However, they can employ other strategies like tilting their hip or flexing their back to be able to get their leg up higher. This may not be ideal, but the body ultimately is the boss.

As you can see, each area discussed above will respond differently to how you can achieve improved flexibility. There are also other strategies like vibration therapy and rolling but at the end of the day the most important takeaway is to stretch daily. 

For tips on stretching, you can visit Cheer District’s Stretching Series on their YouTube channel.


Your Mix Can Now Have Audio on Varsity TV


By Steve Pawlyk

Published September 21, 2020

We have some good news!

Your mix can now have audio on Varsity TV.  Fear of copyright law violation and potential lawsuits have burdened the cheer community with having to watch videos of their favorite teams in silence.  Moreover, viewers have been paying subscription fees year after year for an incomplete service.  However, this season Varsity TV, Flo Cheer and a few music production companies, such as IPP,  have come up with a solution!  I can almost see the excitement on your face.  I bet you’re saying, “about time” right now.

Want your mix to be streamed with audio?  Here’s what you have to do.  First, you’ll need to choose content for your mix that comes with synchronization rights.  More specifically, transferable synchronization rights.  You’re scratching your head right now. I know.  Bear with me though. I’ll help you out.  Without getting into some technical mumbo jumbo regarding licensing it can be summed up easily:


Avoid cover songs


Purchase a full custom mix or select content from a licensing platform such as


Work with a cheer music production company, such as IPP, who has a synchronization agreement in place with FloCheer

Technically, you’ll be all set if you work with one of the cheer music companies who have an agreement in place.  Just let your production company know that you want your mix to have audio when streamed.        

The only question we have left to answer for you is, which production companies have an agreement with FloCheer?  There are only 4 companies (IPP is one) that I know of at the time of this blog. My best advice would be to contact your production company and ask them. If they do not have an agreement with FloCheer then you should encourage them to reach out to get a contract in place. You’ll definitely be disappointed if every team in your division has audio on their stream except for you.  Your music is a major part of your routine and the whole world should hear it!            

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Shifting your Mindset

Law of Attraction Cheerleading

By Liz Scumaci

Published August 28, 2020

What is the Law of Attraction?

People have been practicing the belief that positive energy attracts positive outcomes for hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until the early 19th century that this practice was coined the Law of Attraction. Every individual emits a distinct frequency that can be as high or low as they want. Higher frequencies attract positive experiences while lower frequencies attract more negative ones.  It may seem simple, but it takes a lot of time and patience to fully master the practice of matching frequency to desired energy.

I adopted the Law of Attraction as a daily exercise in my life 10 years ago and haven’t looked back since. I saw a need and a want to always have a solution based mindset. Having a solution based mindset and a positive attitude towards the Law of Attraction is the perfect formula for success. Through the utilization of this practice, I continue to grow my business to unimaginable heights. My continual high frequency attracts positive life experiences which I attribute to the success of GlitterStarz. 

Turning Uncertainty into Positivity

Turning uncertainty into positivity, and ultimately prosperity, starts with just changing your energy. In order to do this, you must first start by shifting your mindset. “I am,” statements are a great start. For example, if you are worried about having to close your gym then verbally assure yourself, “I am going to figure out a plan to keep my gym open.” Speaking this truth into the universe will boost the frequency you are emitting, thus attracting more positive life experiences.  Simple wishful thinking won’t cut it.   It is important to completely rewire your internal thinking, so that it aligns with this new mindset. Following simple steps will help boost your frequency in turn generating more desired outcomes. 

Steps to Success

In a recent virtual meeting, I provided gym owners with several ways to increase their frequencies. The first being, the “I am” sentences as mentioned above. I recommended compiling all of the previous doubts into new positive statements. Create daily, weekly and monthly goals that help bring the “I am” statements to life. It is important to keep track of your accomplishments along the way in order to practice gratitude, so keeping a journal is highly encouraged. The most important step that is crucial for your frequency to increase is rehearsing your victories. Using all five senses try to envision yourself accomplishing those goals. How does it look, smell, taste, feel and sound? This mental image should always remain present in order to help align your frequency with the desired outcome. 

Have Patience

Trusting in positive thoughts to yield positive outcomes is a great start to practicing the Law of Attraction.  However, there is much more to this theory when practiced. I provide an in-depth summary of the Law of Attraction and several steps to increase frequency. It is important to be mindful of your thoughts, feelings, gratitude and most importantly trust in the universe. It will deliver whatever the focus of your energy is and remember it will grow.

Liz Scumaci

Owner – GlitterStarz, Inc.

Cheerleading Practice Design Guidelines

By Dr. Scott Christie

Published August 17, 2020

Cheerleading Practice Design Guidelines

5 ways to reduce athletes’ risk of avoidable injuries

When designing a practice plan the main goal should be to put into place the appropriate elements of implementing the perfect routine. In order to achieve this goal, special attention must be paid to developing skills safely and efficiently, mitigating injury risk and ensuring your athletes have the adequate physical and mental capacity to handle the intensity of practices and performances.

One of the biggest obstacles in cheerleading is being able to ensure that you have full attendance at practice. A coach constantly has to deal with athletes missing practice due to sickness, vacations, weather, other unanticipated events, as well as injuries in and out of practice. Most of these factors are uncontrollable but a coach does have a significant control over avoidable injuries occurring during practice.


To help with achieving full team practices, below are five ways to reduce your athletes’ risk of sustaining avoidable injuries.


1. Chunking your practice (10-15 mins sections)

Chunking your practice is good for two reasons. First, by changing up your activities into small 10-15-minute chunks, you can avoid unnecessary mental and physical fatigue that comes with staying on one movement pattern or skill for too long. Secondly, from a memory acquisition standpoint chunking your practices creates faster learning of skills.

2. Control fatigue

Pay attention to your athletes’ body language. As a previous coach, I know it is very easy to get upset with the poor performance of your athletes at times and as a result push them harder to help develop ‘mental toughness’. This strategy more often than not will lead to an avoidable injury. Cheerleading requires high power outputs and fatigue will reduce an athlete’s power production significantly which can lead to increased risk of injury (especially near the end of practices).

3. Use vivid visualization


Vivid visualization allows for more practice time without actually performing the skill. This can be done at home or at practice once the athletes are too tired to continue safely.

4. Monitor overtraining

Many sports have their athletes fill out short mental health questionnaires out on a daily basis. There are many stresses taking place in an athlete’s life outside of cheerleading. It is important to be aware of this and monitor it on a daily or weekly basis. Try to remember that as much as cheerleading is all about the team, a team is still made up of many unique individuals that require different coaching methods.

5. Improving physical fitness

Athletes that are extremely physically fit are better suited to be able to handle the high physical and mental demands of cheerleading practices and performances. Most sports have their athletes work on their fitness between practices, cheerleaders should be doing the same!

For more information from Dr. Scott Christie please visit our website’s resource page at Interested in implementing training programs backed by science within your gym community? Email for more information.

About Dr. Scott Christie:


In the Spirit of Safety

By Jess Forte

Published August 10, 2020

Social Distancing. Quarantine. Travel Ban. Pandemic. Asymptomatic. Pivot. Masks. Sanitize. New Normal. Apex. Virtual…

These words have become what we wake up to every morning, what we talk about with our families, in “social” situations, at work. They infiltrate our heads as we lay down to sleep at night and try to hold onto the hope in our hearts that it will pass. This is our reality now, and it happened so abruptly that we didn’t even have the chance to process it. We are LIVING it. Breathing history, inhaling the narrative of a nation enveloped in fear of the unknown. We can either let it consume us, or we can fulfill our duty as the spirit of the country. Our friend and longtime industry professional/coach, Jeff Manhart, put it best:

“Remember it’s the cheerleaders that continue cheering when down 20 points with a minute left. While some fans head for the exit before time runs out, it’s the cheerleaders that are out on the floor after the game for one more fight song, or school song. Remember what we are: we are the people going nuts and loving life when our situation is going great! But what we also are is “HOPE” when our backs are against the wall. In my mind it will be the “cheerleaders” that won’t give up until the game is over.”

So, when given the “go ahead,” every gym in America created a “re-opening plan” in accordance with their own state guidelines and with the National CDC recommendations. Intensity Athletics in Albany, NY followed suit. New York was the last state to allow competitive cheer to resume in any capacity. So we are cognizant that the hesitancy with which we were allowed to reopen is still looming, so we needed to be as calculated and CAREFUL with our plan as possible.

The first thing that we did was a morning check in every day about any changes in the state of the pandemic and any regulations regarding our ability to operate. Watching our Governor (Andrew Cuomo) everyday at 11:30am became a ritual. This allowed us to gauge the process in regards to the reopening of other industries in preparation for our own to be released. We created a Phasal Reopening Plan which ultimately we were never able to implement as our gyms were not allowed to open in any capacity until the FINAL PHASE (July 6).

As soon as our sport guidelines came out, we read through them all and created a document with all of the regulations that would apply to our staff and our customers.

We then did a “walk through” of the gym and took notes on how to make each room compliant and what potential hurdles we would need to overcome. This allowed us to create a “To Do” list of things that needed to get done in preparation for reopening which we dictated in a separate document, along with a list of supplies we needed to purchase:

  • Gloves
  • Hand Sanitizers and Refill
  • Ice Bags
  • Ice
  • Lamination Paper 
  • Bleach Cleaner
  • Floor Stickers
  • PlexiGlass
  • Disposable PPE
  • Lysol
  • Lemocide
  • 3 Fumigators
  • Paper Towels
  • Automatic Paper Towel Dispensers
  • No-Touch Thermometers
  • 3M duct tape

All hands were on deck! Our staff each took responsibilities and got to work! Laminating guidelines, putting tape on the floor for social distancing, creating a gym entrance process. We even created a video that we pushed out via email, social media, and our website so parents and athletes knew what to expect and how they could stay compliant with the guidelines we needed to follow.

It took us at least a week to prepare for the BIG DAY! And still, we were nervous to press play. July 6 came and each staff member was ready! The multiple zoom staff meetings we had prior to opening day were important in creating cohesion where not only did everyone understand the plans, but they were “all hands on deck,” so to speak. All of the Intensity Staff was willing to not only do their designated jobs but to pick up the slack if something needed to get done, whether that was bring a child to the bathroom, open up doors for parents, run to the store to grab something last minute. 

Currently, in NY State nothing has changed since July 6 in the way of regulations for our sport. They have not tightened or loosened. We are playing it incredibly safe as we do not want to take advantage of this opportunity to physically operate after being virtual for so long. Right now, “group trainings” are not (and cannot be) mandatory. We set up a computer at every practice and create a google meets link which we attach to our google calendar which is shared with each team separately. This way, team members who do not feel comfortable coming into the gym, or are quarantined from it, can still participate! All of our practices follow social distancing, so we are not stunting at all. We are training with backpacks! And “stunt buddies!” We adapted these techniques and trainings based off of Spring CDT’s BASE system!

Kenny Feeley is a mastermind when it comes to stunting and his ability to pivot in this setting and to create a system so that our athletes are able to maintain (and gain) strength and technique for our sport is genius! This, coupled with some of our own drills have allowed our athletes to mimic the movements of stunting without actually doing it. We have created 2.5 minute stunt workouts to IPPs 8-count track that we repeat. Check one out HERE!

We are confident that we will have no problem getting back into the groove of stunting once it is safe to do so.

It is so important to us to put the athletes first right now. Every family’s situation is different, so it is very important to us to be aware of this and make sure we are not making any families feel uncomfortable. We are also very aware of the reality of what would happen if a breakout happened at our gym. We need to be looking 10 steps ahead. If we were to have multiple athletes with COVID in our location, we would need to shut down again, losing revenue and potentially customers. It could cause the government to tighten restrictions on all NY State All Star Programs. Not to mention, our athletes contracting it could have serious health ramifications for them and their families. Because of this, we are 100% abiding by the NY travel ban. We are also sending athletes home if they have ANY symptom whatsoever. Headache, tummy ache, cough, runny nose. You name it, they are going home! We even have our bathrooms labeled by which floor the kids are practicing on for contact tracing! We are going by the motto that “you can’t be OVERCAUTIOUS!”

Today I asked an athlete who was frustrated about the situation, “who won the race? Did the hare win? Or the tortoise?” Right now, patience will win out. We have a responsibility to our athletes to keep them safe. They are trusting us. And most importantly, their parents trust us. That is a huge responsibility. When they are dropped off at our front door, as we take that temperature and escort them to their “x” on the spring floor, their well being lies in our hands. Right now we show our families that we are that “home away from home.”

We need to be the constant in their lives. We were there virtually the moment the pandemic shut us down. We were there to “foot-five” the kiddos after they did their back handsprings for the first time again in 3 months. We will be there this season in whatever capacity we are able to practice (and compete) our sport! The kids need us to be that constant, but also need us to have their best interest at the forefront. The health, the wellbeing, and the safety of each athlete is the priority in the “new normal.”

Remember, we are making history. Let’s do it right!

Why Hiring an HR Professional is Worth the Time and Money

By Joyce Whitaker

Published April 30, 2020

Human Resources Includes You!

You may be asking yourself

“What does HR have to do with me or my industry for that matter?” 

Glad you asked! HR is so much more than being the event hostess or ensuring there are treats in the break room. 

These days we are asked to provide metrics on engagement, productivity, ensure a safety and security plan is in place in event of a crisis (such as the one we are now facing), interpret employment law to ensure that a business is compliant or offer our advice in C-Suite situations. HR professionals have become true leaders for clients and organizations.

Oftentimes many of you are trying to get a deeper understanding of hiring employees (taxes withheld via a payroll or accounting service) vs. an independent contractor (reporting their own income on their tax return).

HR professionals will analyze the current positions established in your gym and determine whether the work being performed meets Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) duties, test and requirements. Improper classifications could result in hefty penalties and fines; not to mention back wages from the start date of the infraction if the individual you hired as a contractor is truly an employee. 

This could shut a business down quickly. Ouch!

Always remember you are operating a business first and foremost. More and more small businesses are being audited so please remember that when defining your business model.

Speaking of Independent Contractors….

Be mindful when hiring contractors to always define the working relationship including the scope of work to be performed, start and end date, agreed compensation and additional items such as what the employer will provide (Ex: 1099 Misc form)  through a well crafted document. Get everything in “writing!”

We are now trying to prepare for our new normal and what our lives will look like on the other side of this global crisis.  Ask yourself, “Am I prepared for the next natural disaster or global pandemic?”

If the answer is Yes, then WOO-HOO! But, if your answer is No, there is no time like the present to design a crisis response plan. A plan of this magnitude can calm your fears, save your gym time along with money in the long term as it allows you to:

  • Identify your threats (e.g., whether your region is prone to floods or tornadoes or the potential of another global pandemic) 
  • Create a written communication plan for your athletes, parents and vendors. 
  • Develop a plan to keep your business going during the crisis.
  • Test your communication and crisis response plan with real world exercises.

During this unprecedented time, keep in mind what your gym will need to remain sustainable and think about some of the other services that may be available:

  • Live and Virtual Training Sessions on Harassment, Leadership and more
  • Document and Handbook Design (Editable Forms)
  • HR Audits and Strategic Planning

Remember we are in this TOGETHER!

About the author

I’m a unique stakeholder with a wide range of experience as an HR Executive for an Event Producer, an Allstar parent and Collegiate Spirit Coordinator & Coach. I understand what’s happening with your business model from a bird’s eye view.  My calling is helping people and I’m here to help in any way I can!


Home Quarantine Workouts by Jess Forte of Cheer Intensity (with videos)

Home Quarantine Workouts for Cheerleading

By Jess Forte

Published March 20, 2020

This is our world...

I often liken the anticipation, the adrenaline we experience to climbing that first major drop of the highest roller coaster in the amusement park. It’s “Scary” in a sense, but also exhilarating!  This sense of “fear” has ironically preceded almost anything and everything great in my life. Or is it not irony? 

One of my Level 5 athletes was walking to perform in A Hall at NCA Nationals a few weeks ago and asked me “why do I keep doing this, even though I feel like I am about to vomit? But I continue to want to cheer, to put myself back on that stage?”

On Deck
The butterflies
The jittery hands
The lights blinding
The roar of the crowd
The smell of sweat
The 9 panels
The music starts
A snap, a wink, a smile
Let’s go
The point stunt
The last pass
Your coaches’ eyes scream “you’ve got this!”
The final structure
The last pose
The embraces
The tears

I recently read a book entitled “Fearvana” by Akshay Nanavati. He firmly believes that fear is an essential element to unlocking our potential, our success, and our passion. That finding and enduring a worthy struggle can open doors that we didn’t know existed and allow us the ultimate amount of  bliss and fulfillment. So basically, All-Star Cheerleaders are onto something! Akshay defines fearvana as “the bliss that results from engaging our fears to pursue our own worthy struggle.” We experience our own version of “Fearvana” when we stand in the corner to throw a new pass, or when we set for our routine at Nationals. 

So now on May 20, 2020 we find ourselves in a very odd situation. Our season, as we had envisioned it, was stripped from us by the Coronavirus. And there are so many unknowns. As an adult, I am having to draw on all I have known in my life to come to a logical conclusion that “this too shall pass;” that difficult situations come upon us and we are equipped as humans to work through them and overcome obstacles. Our athletes may not have this frame of reference. For them, their world is potentially about to be turned upside down. What I want to tell them is that you are right where you are supposed to be. If that is in a state of FEAR, that’s ok. 

Because fear keeps us on our toes; it elicits a heightened sense of reality that allows us to be our best selves. And who is better equipped to handle this fear than an all-star cheerleader? You all face it head on every day! And not only that, but you thrive on it! You hit that stunt, you land that pass, and you rock that dance – butterflies and all! So you have the tools to handle this, too. 


Every athlete is being dealt the same hand right now. But it is your choice how you decide to handle it. If you are forced to be home for an undetermined amount of time, what is going to propel you from the state of fear, disappointment, or anger into a state of being that is productive for your goals in the sport! Here is a suggested to do list:

  1. Write down 3 of your goals every morning. The same 3!

  2. Write down actions you can take NOW to take a step towards those goals (conditioning, studying technique, reading motivational books, contacting college coaches if you are an upperclassman, applying for scholarships at your dream school, e-mailing you gym owner to ask for internship hours, or your coach to help set a plan to achieve your goals when the gym opens back up.)

  3. Schedule those actions for each day. For example:

  • 9:00 am – wake up and get ready
  • 9:30 am – eat a breakfast high in protein and fats! (Think eggs, sausage, bacon)
  • 10:00 am – journal goals and current emotions (this will be cool to look back on)
  • 10:30 am – school work
  • 12:30 pm – lunch high in nutrients (think salads, fruits, veggies)
  • 1:30 pm – Conditioning workout (example below)
  • 2:30 pm – more school work
  • 3:30 pm – watch tumbling technique videos, read a motivational book, or work towards goals
  • 4:30 pm – flexibility regimen
  • 5:30 pm – Dinner high in protein and carbs (think pasta, steak, potatoes, meat)
  • 6:30 pm – Relax and connect with teammates, coaches, etc.
    Get at least 8 hours of sleep!

Adam Forte's Conditioning Workout


30 seconds each exercise X 3

  • Jog in place
  • High Knees
  • Butt Kicks
  • Mummys
  • Heisman


Upper Body 

    1. Finger wiggle and squeeze
    2. Motorcycles
    3. Wrist circles (both ways)
    4. Arms behind head
    5. Arms across body
    6. Hold hands behind back and pull up
    7. Look up, down
    8. Tilt head to both sides
    9. Shoulder rolls
    10. Arm circles forward and back
    11. Small arm circles forward and back
    12. Arms up tilt both ways
    13. Hips washing machine
    14. Hips figure 8
    15. Leg swings forward/back 5x each
    16. Cross leg swings (knee to front)
    17. Pony (alternating knees)
    18. Ankle circles (both ways)
    19. Sit on shins and rock back and forth
    20. Sit on heels and arms behind head turn (to both sides) and tilt 3x
    21. Hands and knees one arm behind head elbow up/elbow down 5x


    1. On hands and knees circle around
    2. Fingers facing you
    3. Side to side
    4. Cross hands (both ways)
    5. Back to all fours and do 5 flicks
    6. Palms up


  • 10 Double Marked Jumps
  • 10 Double T Jumps

4. JUMP Conditioning

3 Rounds

  • Fast Kicks – 20
  • Side Hurdler Lifts – 20 Right and Left
  • Hip Rolls – 20 Right and Left
  • Toe Lifts – 20
  • Floor Jumps – 20

5. TUMBLING Conditioning

3 Rounds (you can lower amount on each if you would like)

  • Plank – 1 Min
  • Side Plank – Right and Left 30 Min
  • Superman Hold – 1 min
  • Lunge Hold – 30 Sec*
  • Lever Hold – 30 Sec*
  • Heel Kicks – 30*

*Do one leg then the other

6. Stunt Focus

3 Rounds of 30 seconds each

  • Mountain Shrugs – 20
  • Lib Lifts – 10 Right and Left 10 
  • Full Up Squats – 20
  • Ext Pops – 10

7. Cool down/stretch


Adam Forte's Flexibility Workout


30 seconds each exercise X 3

  • Jumping Jacks – 30 Seconds
  • High Knees – 30 Seconds
  • Butt kicks – 30 Seconds
  • Mummys – 30 Seconds
  • Sprawls – 10


3 Rounds

  • 3 Count Bridges – 10
  • Bridge Hold – 30 Seconds
  • 1 Leg Bridge Kick Right – 20
  • 1 Leg Bridge Kick Right – 20

3. Split Warm Up

Alternate Right and Left Leg 3x

  • Leg Lift Kicks – 12/10/8
  • Forward Lunge Twist Stretch – 30 Seconds
  • Forward lunge kick – 30/20/10

4. Right and Left Splits

1 Min hold each

  • Sit up – 30 Seconds flex foot and lock back leg
  • Chest Down
  • Head up arms back in should stretch


1 Min hold each

  • Squat Stretch
  • Frog Stretch
  • Center Split

7. Cool down

How to Maximize Your Score Sheet

How to Maximize your Score Sheet in Pop Warner Cheer

By Melissa Eannuzzo

Updated February 24, 2020

How to Maximize Your Score Sheet

Ahhhh youth cheerleading…

It’s an exhilarating, inspiring yet scary sport.  In the world of Pop Warner cheerleading, ALL of the coaches are volunteers so many are starting with limited knowledge and working their way up. Typically,  they coach because their kids are cheering and they want to spend more time with them. For others, like me, we do it because we simply love the sport. My name is Melissa Eannuzzo and I’ve been coaching in the Pop Warner organization (as well as college, All Stars, middle school – you name it) for over 15 years.  In this blog series I’ll be talking to various Pop Warner coaches about topics that are near and dear to our hearts.

Score Sheet Max-Out

I’ll be kicking off this series by talking to Kaitlin Eby of the South Pasco Predators.  Kaitlin is the perfect coach to start with seeing she’s won 9 regional first place titles, 4 National first place titles, 3 national second place titles, 1 national 3rd place title and so on.  Her scores have been the definition of “maxed out”, having scored 95-97 at each competition. 

Let’s dive deep into what exactly it takes to “max out” your score sheet.

First thing you need to know is that there is a top half of your score sheet and there is a bottom half.  Both are just as important, but also very different. The top half, according to Kaitlin, “is where many teams don’t maximize their scores”. The top half includes choreography, dance and performance. Here are a few rules I always follow when creating a routine:

4 count transitions:

I can’t emphasize enough how important this is. Cheerleaders should not have to move any further than they are able to in 4 counts. This ensures that no one is running across the floor and that they can confidently move to each formation.

No more than 2 counts of nothing:

This means that when cheerleaders are walking, stunting, dancing or whatever it may be, there should be movement at least every 2 counts. For example, when moving from their stunt group to jumps, many will walk in clean for an eight count to get there. Instead, add motions every two counts to give the judges more entertainment!

Pop Warner Scoring

Rules of 3’s:

For each section of the routine (stunts, jumps, tumbling, pyramid & etc.), the judges want to see different pictures being created and unique transitions to get to each picture. By following the rule of 3’s in each section, choreography scores will improve. 3 pictures, and 3 transitions for each section!

Now comes the bottom half of the score sheet. This is broken into difficulty and execution. According to Kaitlin, here’s how to maximize both areas:

Difficulty in the routine:

Instead of having one stunt sequence that includes a 1/4 turn up to prep and a 1/4 turn cradle, look at every stunt and see where those 1/4 turns can be added. If you 1/4 turn up to each stunt and 1/4 turn cradle out of every stunt, you are much more likely to score a perfect 15 than if you only do it once. Another tip to maximize difficulty is by utilizing every member of the team. 9 groups of 3 athletes will always score higher than 5 groups of 5 athletes doing the same skills.

Cheer Score Sheet How to


This might be the most important section. Although execution only gives you an extra 1 point in each category, that 1 point is the difference between 1st and 5th place. Execution is what wins National Championships. When coaching, execution comes down to two things: being clean and being consistent. Kaitlin’s tip for all coaches when it comes to cleaning & consistency in a routine is to get your routine taught as soon as possible. The earlier that the cheerleaders know the routine, the more confident they will be. The cleaning and perfecting can’t start until the routine is taught.

Kaitlin Eby provided GREAT tips to help to understand the score sheet and also amazing tools to use as you prepare for the upcoming Pop Warner season. Since Pop Warner is year round now, you can start preparing your teams and your athletes IMMEDIATLEY by utilizing some of these techniques.  This will ensure you certainly have an advantage over your competition.

Score Sheet Maximizing
Coach Melissa - How to Maximize your Score Sheet

Throughout the Pop Warner season, I would love to talk to as many of you as possible about topics YOU want to learn more about.  If you have any suggestions, questions, insight etc. please email me:

I wish you and your organization the best of luck this upcoming season!

Cheerily Yours, 

Melissa Eannuzzo (Pop Warner & Allstar Coach)

Instagram: @melissaontheradio


Twitter: @radiomelissa

So it turns out your best wasn’t good enough, now what?

By Heidi Weber

Published on December 11, 2019

Youhitzero Logo Blanca Y Negro Butt

Raise your hand if you remember learning that as long as you did your best in life everything was going to be OK; that giving your best effort and, of course, adding hard work was the sure fire way to succeed.

Now keep your hand raised if you know that you can think of a time, maybe it’s right now even, where you gave your best, your all, everything you had and it still just wasn’t quite good enough. Those efforts and mindset just didn’t allow your world to turn out the way you had planned. 

It’s a difficult moment when you realize that no matter how hard you work at something or how much effort you put into your business, relationships, your customers there are other factors that can get in the way. Cause hiccups in your plans, Goals, and sometimes even your success. Variables that you didn’t count on. Could be timing, knowledge, money, there are lots of these variables.

We are trained and taught that hard work always pays off and in theory it does. It pays off in life lessons, experiences, sometimes money and always growth if we will although it.

But…. what do we do when our hard work

doesn’t lead us to where we wanted to go?

This is quite a predicament to find yourself lost in because it’s counter cultural to our core beliefs that Hard Work ALWAYS pays off.

One day I found myself in this very place. I had worked hard. No one would deny that. I had achieved things, made profits, and even had some recognition. I had worked really really hard and given it my very best. To my own detriment sometimes even. Sacrificing balance, time, and even family but always telling myself I was a hard worker and I had to always give everything all of me. It was the way to guarantee success. Period.

But then one day, week, month, year some variables got right in the way of my belief system.

Growth and change had brought new issues and more balls to balance. More staff and costs in my business. More customers and change and more stretching. Harder choices and bigger decisions. All the while never any relief from the mindset that if I just worked a little harder and continued to give everything my best would pay off in the end.

But then it happened… things started to crumble, fall apart, fail even. So I worked harder and gave more. But it didn’t matter because no matter how hard I worked, how much effort I gave, how much I sacrificed, the reality was I wasn’t going to be able to do “my best” enough to stop the dam from breaking… Imagine me standing at this massive dam where tiny holes are squirting water. It’s just a little leak in the beginning that doesn’t do much damage. Even if when a few more holes pop up you can just manage them even plug them yourself.

But then three holes becomes 5 and 5 becomes 7 and 7 becomes 27 and there are so many holes you spend all your time trying to keep the flood from breaking down the dam. You’re exhausted and scared and stretched way too thin and then one day the waters just burst through the barrier and wipes you out in the process. It’s when you just know you’ll drown.

But drowning doesn’t have to be the only option.

See I was so busy holding back the water I was missing the point that I couldn’t escape the overflow that my current capacity could no longer contain. So the water was coming whether I wanted it or not and I could choose to drown in the waves or ride them to the next chapter of my being.


Being not doing. See this is the key. Doing is easy. Being is tough. If I’m doing I’m in control. I convince myself I hold the keys to destiny. If I’m being then I’m in touch with the fact that there are many things I can not control and I must not react to the things outside my touch. To evolve to the place where your value and success is not based on wins and loses, profits and margins, toil and tears, yes this is now being.

Knowing that I’m the moments of growth and pain, stretching and development, there is strength and power in this. This is the new belief system. To have the new mindset that replaces the hard work and doing my best leads to success with the idea that being the truest me is the ultimate success.

That new view of what success looks likes becomes the understanding that I’m always developing and I am so much more than what I can do. That I’m always building the “who I’m meant to be” and that is touching all those around me as well.

Hear me clearly when I say that I most certainly thought about drowning when the dam came crashing down on me. Maybe I even wanted to drown in that moment if I’m honest. I would be lying if I tried to say it wasn’t a path I thought about taking. But in the end I decided to let the water cleanse me. That I would ride the wave and let the water surround me even soak it in consuming me so I could to be open to next version of who I could be.

Not what I could do, but who I could be.

Today is just a moment take a deep breathe and know it’s enough for you to just be you. Everything else is just part of our path and something to grow from. Your truest moments come the day you realize that you are your own greatest success and all those your life touches is the most treasured successes. Everything else is just icing on the cake.


Heidi Weber Signature 2019

Keeping Athletes Safe with Social Media and Gym Communications

By Kyle McCarthy

Published on November 16, 2019

Our industry is an informal one...

…it’s hard not to be when you’re dealing with family! We spend so much time together as a gym family that it’s sometimes not easy to see how social media and the way we interact with it can actually put the kids we coach at risk. After all, social media is great! It’s been revolutionary for the ways in which we can quickly communicate with parents, share photos and videos, free marketing for gyms and has really helped build gym communities and bonds. We’ve become so accustomed to sending a quick message to an athlete after a hard practice to check in on them, or to give them a personal shout-out, that we don’t realize the potential harmful effects of this casual closeness.

In most areas of life, communications between minors and adults is a no-go zone. Whether it’s a teacher at school or an inappropriate message on Instagram, neither of these are ok. So why is it ok for a coach? Truth is, it isn’t. And we have all allowed a culture to grow where it’s normal and ok for adult coaches to message minor athletes, and vice versa, potentially creating an understanding in a minor athlete’s mind that contact from an adult is not unusual nor cause for concern. The normalization of adult/minor online communication was a huge concern for the USASF and prompted the creation of the USASF Electronic Communications Policy.

In most areas of life, communications between minors and adults is a no-go zone. Whether it’s a teacher at school or an inappropriate message on Instagram, neither of these are ok. So why is it ok for a coach? Truth is, it isn’t. And we have all allowed a culture to grow where it’s normal and ok for adult coaches to message minor athletes, and vice versa, potentially creating an understanding in a minor athlete’s mind that contact from an adult is not unusual nor cause for concern. The normalization of adult/minor online communication was a huge concern for the USASF and prompted the creation of the USASF Electronic Communications Policy.

The USASF acknowledged that our informal industry culture was putting athletes at risk and acknowledged the need for safety measures to be put into place swiftly and comprehensively. They immediately banned private communications between athletes and coaches, as well as banning them from following each other on personal social media accounts (athletes can still follow official gym accounts).

They tasked every gym with coming up with an Electronic Communications Policy that was as stringent as the official USASF policy, or gyms would be expected to default to the USASF official policy. 

As we are into the second season with this policy in place, many gyms may still be lacking comprehensive plans or implementing the policies they have effectively. With the 2019-2020 under way, we want to help you with an easy plan to ensure that your athletes and coaches are safe into the future.

Here are 5 easy steps to ensure your gym is adhering to the USASF Electronic Communications Policy and protecting athletes from potential harm:

  1. Review your Electronic Communication Policy with your staff. This is something you should do monthly or multiple times throughout the season as a refresher so coaches remember how to appropriately communicate with their athletes.

  2. Hold parent information sessions to inform your parents of safety concerns regarding social media. Parents should oversee their child’s social media accounts within reason.

  3. Discuss social media expectations with your athletes and inform them of the rules so they are aware.

  4. Eliminate multiple forms of communication for the program and make all staff, parents and athletes aware of the official channels of communication.

  5. Find a digital platform that is trusted so you can manage the communication for everyone.

  1. Review your Electronic Communication Policy with your staff. This is something you should do monthly or multiple times throughout the season as a refresher so coaches remember how to appropriately communicate with their athletes.

  2. Hold parent information sessions to inform your parents of safety concerns regarding social media. Parents should oversee their child’s social media accounts within reason.

  3. Discuss social media expectations with your athletes and inform them of the rules so they are aware.

  4. Eliminate multiple forms of communication for the program and make all staff, parents and athletes aware of the official channels of communication.

  5. Find a digital platform that is trusted so you can manage the communication for everyone.

An app such as the CheerLife app will tick all of your boxes when it comes to safe electronic communications. It has group chats, one-way broadcast push notifications, revenue building channels (who doesn’t want to make more money?!), action tracking in a safe social media environment, a noticeboard for gym updates, built-in pro-shop channel, private lesson scheduler and full integration with existing class management software like iClassPro and Jackrabbit. It’s also adheres to the USASF ECP and our content management team is quick to remove, suspend or ban any individuals who violate our terms and conditions.

Keep your kids safe in a specialized custom app for your gym and keep your minor athletes off major social platforms!

Contact CheerLife today!

Mastering a Level – Perfection before Progression

By Tanya Roesel

Published September 16, 2019


Tryouts are over and teams are placed.

Although there is an objective standard to justify each athlete’s placement, you are still burdened with the task of explaining why a certain athlete was placed on a certain leveled team. Despite clear definitions of what is requires at each level of cheer (levels 1-7) some parents and athletes still question your decision(s). The following will help to explain to parents just why their child was placed on a specific team. It all comes down to mastering a level. Perfection before progression.

When being evaluated for a team, the question that you need to ask is…. has my child “mastered” the level?

Is my child at the high end of that level, therefore being able to fully participate in every aspect of a routine? Yes, there will be exceptions, such as a “monster” back spot that is needed for a higher level stunt to go up…. or a amazing flyer that is needed for an elite stunt… but those are few and far between. Has your child mastered the level?


Most level 1 elite athletes are working back handsprings, but they have mastered the level one skills… they have beautiful back walkovers, front walkovers, they could be the first pass or the last pass. They can now concentrate on perfecting their jumps, but can be 100% a successful part of a level 1, 2 1/2 minute routine!


A level 2 athlete is working tucks… as they have “mastered” the standing BHS and the Round off BHS. They are fully a part of the routine and even have their moments to shine.


A level 3 athlete many times is working layouts, but has mastered not just the round-off handspring tuck, but beautiful standing series BHS, a punch front and an aerial.


Level 4 athletes are many times twisting in classes while throwing a hollow body, technically beautiful layout, a solid standing tuck and again, are capable of doing any part of a true level 4 routine.


Level 5 athletes are working higher, more elite twisting skills, can nail a jump to back with their feet together and the straight fulls they will throw in the routine are technically gorgeous.


And the new Level 6 athlete… these are the athletes throwing doubles, trick thru to full, standing full, jump to back and are the true elite of the elite.

Look at it this way… if you have not mastered a level, why put the stress on an athlete to attempt to do tumbling skills at a level they have not mastered and then be expected to stunt, jump and dance for a full 2 1/2 minutes? Why not allow them the year to be the shining star, to build their confidence and feel a full part of not only the routine, but the team?

There will be always be exceptions to the rule, but again, those are few and far between. As coaches and parents, we have to look at the bigger picture. Yes, we want to challenge the athlete, but we also want to consider what that challenge is and how it will impact them. 99% of the athletes I ask, would you want to be on a team where you are 100% involved and the shining star or are you okay going up a level where you may not be in the tumbling pass or jump section, but you will stunt… they say they want to be on the team they can 100% involved in. They want that moment…

Trust the process… you don’t have to agree with the process, but at least trust it. I have never had a true level athlete quit, but I cannot count the number of athletes who quit because they were simply on the wrong level and were stressed out by it. This sport is hard enough but if it’s not fun, if it’s not challenging but at the same time building confidence, then your child will not continue.

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.

Cat Weeden Signature Full Wht

How does someone get a license for a song?

By Click N Clear

Published on August 13, 2019

You know music copyright exists and that artists should be paid for their work, but do you understand why?  Music licensing isn’t rocket science. But it can be very confusing, so let’s break this down.

Music copyright is a law that says two things:

1) If you create something, then you own it, and

2) as the owner, you can decide what happens to it.

So, if anyone wants to use a piece of music, they need permission from the owner— in the form of a license.

If you want to mix music and make copies of it, choreograph a routine to the mix, play the mix at training, at home or at competitions or show videos of your performance by uploading to YouTube and social media, then you require a license.

How does someone get a license for a song?

When it comes to licensing music for uses like editing it and mixing it together, you’ll need direct approval from the rightsholder(s) – getting this can be a complicated, time consuming and expensive process. Every piece of music generally has multiple rightsholders and they all have to be included in this process. If even just one of them says no, then you can’t use the song.

When clearing music, there are two main music rights that must be cleared before use:
1) one being the Publishing Rights (to the musical composition, melody, lyrics etc.) and
2) the other being the Master Rights (to the specific recording of a song, whether its the original hit artist or an unknown cover version).

You must obtain approval from ALL rightsholders involved in the work, before use. Here is a video which explains this further:

There are often multiple people or entities involved in creating and releasing a song and there are on average 9 writers on a song; all of whom you need to obtain a license from. Let’s take a look at Beyonce’s ‘Run The World (Girls)’

In order for you to license this song legally, you would need a license from every one of the owners who have a share of the pie! You’ll need permission from Universal Records to use their master recording of Beyonce’s performance, and also need permission from the publishers who represent the shares in the writing; all SIX of them!

Unfortunately it’s not normally cost effective for each rights holder to respond to small individual license requests especially when their shares are smaller.

You will need licenses to cover the following rights for BOTH Master and Publishing sides of EVERY music track you use in the mix music:

  • edit and adapt the music (creating a derivative piece from an original)

  • put a choreographed routine to the mix

  • create a copy of the mix for use at home and in the gym

  • upload a video of the routine online with the music

In addition to this, if you are playing music in your gym or a competition venue, the gym owner or entity running the competition will need a performing rights license from the collecting society(s) in your territory. In the US there are a few which include ASCAP, BMI and SESAC and in the UK it is PRS & PPL. Again you need this to cover Master and Publishing rights.

We recommend getting in touch with your local Collecting Society for more information.

That All Sounds A Bit Tricky. Isn’t There An Easier Way?

ClicknClear works directly with the music industry to pre-clear their music available for you to license instantly. We work with around 100 rightsholders including the likes of Universal Music Publishing, Warner Music, BMG and more to enable both teams and music producers to license great music that is affordable and accessible for either $15 or $25, depending on the track. Licensing your music protects your team, coaches and event producers while ensuring artists are rightfully paid for their work

Find out more and begin your music search here.

What To Expect When Expecting (Your Mix)

By Steve Pawlyk

Published July 22, 2019

In the blink of an eye the 2018 season is gone and 2019 is upon us. 

It feels so good to see new faces in the gym and athletes both young and old working towards new skills.  The start of a new season is one of the most exciting times of the year. There is so much to look forward to and so much growing to be done by everyone in your gym.  With teams formed, practice wear/uniforms being designed and choreography booked there is just one more thing to check off of your list. MUSIC! Although the music process can be so invigorating, it can also be super stressful.  But, it doesn’t have to be. I’d like to relieve some of the anxiety surrounding your routine music by walking you through some ways to help you get ready to order and what to expect when expecting your mix.

Finding The Right Producer

My first piece of advice is to  “do your homework”. Just like your athletes prepare for competition each week/month by practicing, there is some prep work for you to do before ordering a mix that perfectly complements your innovative routine.  I would highly suggest shopping around before committing to any one production company. There are many great production companies in our industry that would love to earn your business and provide you an awesome mix.  However, there are some less than genuine producers out there. So where should you start when trying to find the right producer? A good place is the USA Cheer list of compliant vendors found here.  

Another beneficial method to find a trustworthy production company is via word-of-mouth recommendation.  Ask your friends and fellow owner/coaches who they have found to be reliable. You can always check out the Facebook groups “Allstar Gym Owners Association” (ASGA) or “Small Cheer Gym Association” (SCGA).  These two groups can be very advantageous to any coach or owner looking for a particular service (e.g., music, uniforms and etc.).

A few extra notes regarding picking your producer – ask for samples, look for pricing tiers (will be beneficial to help stay on budget), make sure that turn-around-time is desirable, and be aware of all policies and procedures.  Providing that your producer meets all of your requirements, I truly believe that communication is the most important part when making your selection. We will come back to this point later on. For now, if you like what you see and hear it’s time to submit that Booking Request   

Booking and Scheduling

The next task will be to submit your mix requests and receive your production dates.  Each company will do booking and scheduling differently. At IPP, we have an easy online form that you can fill out and submit.  You can also attach any documents you may have (e.g., 8-count sheet). Other companies may require that you submit information (i.e., program name, team name, package & etc.) via email.  Once your producer receives this necessary information you should then expect a follow up that includes an invoice and tentative mix dates. I say tentative because most production companies require at least a 50% deposit before exact productions dates are established. 

Keep in mind that in a lot of cases these deposits are non-refundable.  If you have gotten to this point you really need to make sure that you wish to proceed.  Why non-refundable you ask? Because most companies will start working on parts of your order right away (i.e., vocals, song creation & etc.).  This can be costly. Therefore, if you cancel and request a refund then the producers loses all the time and money that has been put in up that the point on cancellation.  Again, each company operates differently so make sure that you understand all policies.

8 count sheet & Video Creation

Now that you’ve chosen your production company and have submitted your booking request the fun really begins!  It’s now time to put together your routine information that will be sent to your producer. This information will be used to produce your amazing mix  Although this can be tedious it is very important. Keep in mind that some producers like 8-count sheets, some like videos and yet others like to have both (most effective).   Having both 8-count sheet and videos can be super beneficial to producer because it the 8-count sheet helps the producer layout the mix quickly and the video helps with nuance.  Additionally, some videos are submitted before teams can go full out which can lead to the producer misinterpreting some of the actions that will need particular sound effects. Before recording and submitting your videos please make sure to ask your producer if they have a prefered 8-count track that they would like you to use. 

Recording to the coach counting out loud can be a critical mistake leading to videos needing to be re-recorded and submitted. Side note: even if you record to an 8-count track we would advise to not yell and scream during the recording. This can sometimes make it difficult for your producers to line up your video in his/her music software especially if you record to an 8-count track that it not theirs or one for which they are not familiar.

In regards to completing your 8-count sheets you will want to be descriptive, but concise. Try to keep each cell to one or two action words such ”aerobesque”, “full up”, or “double down”. Your producer may want you to use a particular count sheet or set of action words. I would ask before hand as to prevent any production delays. For more tips on effectively filling out your 8-count sheet please check out our blog

Song Selection:

This is the part that can cause you to tear your hair out.

I understand that selecting songs can be overwhelming. With the new music rules things seem to have changed drastically over night. Remember when you would search day and night through itunes or youtube looking for that perfect stunt song? This was an art in and of itself so most coaches. They perfected this. And now it’s like tutor to most. However, it doesn’t have to be. Almost all production companies work with 3rd party vendor that they license songs from each season. Although they may change vendors from time-to-time, your producer will provide you a list upon booking. Once you have the particular sites to choose from you can take things back to the way that they used to be. Even though you won’t be browsing popular radio songs you will still be able to find the perfect song for each section by using a number of filtering parameters such as “mood, genre and etc. If you are still finding it hard to choose then I’m sure that your producer will be willing to lend his or her expertise. When it comes to song selection you will not only want to pick a song that stylistically fits a particular section, but also something for which your athletes can relate. I can’t tell you how many edits we have had to do based on athletes not liking a particular song despite it fitting the section well. Telling whether or not that your athletes like a song is easy. They will tell you. However, determining which style or type of song is appropriate for a particular section can be a little more tricky. Let me help you with that right now.

Although song selection for your overall mix and/or specific sections can be subjective, there are generally some styles that really work well and others that don’t.  It’s probably easier to start with types of songs that either don’t work or just don’t make for an exciting mix. Again, this is my opinion. First, rap/hip hop songs tend to never work in a cheer mix.  Reason being is that the tempos are generally too slow. When we speed them up to cheer tempo they sound way too fast. Lyrics become unclear and you lose the essence of the song. Other types of songs that we don’t recommend are old songs.  I know, “old” is vague, but I think you get it. Older recordings just don’t stand up to today’s production sound quality. Mixing and older Donna Summers songs with a brand new Ariana Grande song just doesn’t mesh well.

I know what you’re thinking right now.  Steve, we can’t use radio songs. Although your typical allstar team can’t there are still some teams who are required to follow music copyright laws by their event producer. This one is for them, lol. However this can still hold true when working with a producer who licenses songs from a third-party vendor.  Some of these vendors have thousands and thousands of songs in their libraries. You can definitely tell the difference between their older recorders and newer.Although song selection for your overall mix and/or specific sections can be subjective, there are generally some styles that really work well and others that don’t.  It’s probably easier to start with types of songs that either don’t work or just don’t make for an exciting mix. Again, this is my opinion. First, rap/hip hop songs tend to never work in a cheer mix.  Reason being is that the tempos are generally too slow. When we speed them up to cheer tempo they sound way too fast. Lyrics become unclear and you lose the essence of the song.

Other types of songs that we don’t recommend are old songs.  I know, “old” is vague, but I think you get it. Older recordings just don’t stand up to today’s production sound quality. Mixing and older Donna Summers songs with a brand new Ariana Grande song just doesn’t mesh well. I know what you’re thinking right now.  Steve, we can’t use radio songs. Although your typical allstar team can’t there are still some teams who are required to follow music copyright laws by their event producer. This one is for them, lol. However this can still hold true when working with a producer who licenses songs from a third-party vendor.  Some of these vendors have thousands and thousands of songs in their libraries. You can definitely tell the difference between their older recorders and newer.

My last piece of advice when selecting songs is to not pick a song just because the title of the song matches a theme that you are trying to achieve. Themes are too common anymore as a result of the new music rules, but from time to time we come across a team that wants a specific theme like “fire” or “girl power”. What typically results is the coach providing numerous songs titles that pertain to that specific theme. When we, the producer, listen to the songs we usually find that they are all different in genre/style and very hard to blend together in an exciting mix. To avoid this, we suggest listening to each track and really making sure that a particular song is appropriate for a fast-paced, high-energy cheer mix.

Now that we know which types of songs to avoid, let’s look at what types of songs are suitable for a cheer mix. Types of songs that make for a good cheer mix are generally current, up tempo, electronic or pop in genre, have clear and present vocals and have appropriate language. Mixing similarly recorded and sounding songs give the producer the ability to create a consistent and cohesive mix. Think of it like being at the club. The DJ typically mixes songs of the same genre. For example, if you go to a David Guetta concert you will hear a mix of current electronic based songs. You won’t catch him mixing an EDM song, then a country song, then a disco song and back to EDM again. This would make for a less than pleasant auditory experience. We want your mix to not only express the creativity of your routine, but to also sound good!

When it comes to section specific song (e.g., stunt, pyramid, tumbling and etc.) here are some of our recommendations.  For stunt, you usually want a song that is more open and focused on the vocals. Stunt section typically are jammed packed with tons of action.  Although there are a lot of creative ins and outs (transitional elements) happening, we wouldn’t say that a stunt sequence is as action packed as your running tumbling.  Therefore, we recommend a song that isn’t so drum/beat heavy leaving room for your stunt sound effects to shine and really highlight your team’s actions. Moving on to a section like your pyramid, this component of the routine is arguably the climax.  Pyramids are typically super exciting and jam packed with actions performed by the entire team. This is we would recommend as song that is faster-paced and full of energy.

A genre like EDM with a constant 4-on-the-floor drum pattern can work great! The pumping drums and synthesizers will really suck in the crowd and have their hands up.  Another section that is full of energy and excitement which deserves a song of the same caliber is your running tumbling. Like your pyramid, running tumbling is one of those sections that has the crowd on their feet. We recommend a fast-paced, beat-driven song for this part. You’ll need a song that gives your athletes that little something extra to push through such a physically demanding party of your routine.   Although there are many other sections of your routine, we just named a few. You can contact us at any time to get our full recommendation for song selection for these other parts.

Submission, Communication, Transparency & Delivery

Videos are created, 8-count sheets are filled out and songs have been selected. It’s now time to submit all of that important info so that your one-of-a-kind mix can be created. When submitting your info you will want to make sure that you send it in with plenty of time to spare before your production date. Most companies like to have info sent in 1-2 weeks ahead of your production date(s). Why so early? We like to have time to review everything and make sure that all information has been presented clearly and done properly. Nothing is worse than sitting down to create your masterpiece and not be able to read the 8-count sheet or load the video or have missing songs. This causes delays and aggravation for everyone. Imagine you thinking that your mix is coming today to only open up your email and see a message saying, “Sorry, we cannot complete your mix as scheduled because all of your songs for team X are missing”. You would lose your mind.

Another reason most producers like to have your routine info way ahead of time is because if gives them the ability to rearrange their schedule on the fly. For example, if the team ahead of you in queue misses their production dates, then we can easily slide you into that spot and get your mixes to you earlier than expected. Now who doesn’t like that! Being prepared can be super beneficial to you and your team. Having your mix earlier gives you more practice time with that mix to be able to learn voice overs and etc. before your big competition.

Now that you have sent in your routine info (on-time) you should expect nothing less than open communication and transparency from your producer.  He/she should let you know that they have received your information and that everything is on track. They should be extremely responsive and prompt regarding any additional questions/concerns that you may have while waiting for your mix.  If there is an issue or change to schedule for any reason then your producer should let you know immediately. Too many times we hear the horror stories of delivery dates being missed and producers that are nowhere to be found. My heart goes out to you in these cases.  It’s not right and you shouldn’t have to deal with that in your life. You have enough going on between running your gym, your life and your family. This is why vetting your producer is very important as we mentioned in the first section.   

By now you just want your mix already.  Assuming no hiccups and invoice is paid in full, your delivery date is here!  Go to your email and download that perfect mix. It will most likely be in mp3 format and you can save it to your phone, itunes and etc.  Let’s play this masterpiece! Some things to listen for are that all the sound effects are in the correct place, the correct songs were used (in the correct sections if specified) and voice overs/other lyrics are correct (e.g., correct gym, team name, theme and etc.).  One of, if not, the most important thing to double check is that the overall length of mix is accurate. Sometimes mixes can go over time for various reasons. Some competitions give a little grace period. Others don’t. You’ll want to make sure that your mix is dead on time (e.g., 1:30, 2:00, 2:15 or 2:30) to avoid any penalties.  If the mix is under time then you’re okay. 

Here are a couple remedies to fix your mix if it’s over time.  The easiest solution is to have your producer speed up certain parts of the mix (e.g., running tumbling) or the overall tempo of the mix.  If you’re like a second over then speeding up one section should do the trick. If you around 3 second over time then you’ll need the entire mix sped up.  Another, more tedious fix would be to remove counts from the mix. At traditional cheer tempo each 8-count removed will make up around 3 seconds. In an ideal world a mix would start on 5 and end on 47.1.  This makes for a mix dead-on 2:30 with a bpm around 147. If your routine is choreographed past 47.1 then you and your producer should discuss how to handle that ahead of time.


Edit – what can I say. It’s a four letter word, lol.

Although most producers don’t love edits – they are necessary. We all know why so we don’t need to go into it. To avoid any confusion and a need for multiple edits due to lack of clarity, let me provide some recommendations for handling edits. If a song swap is needed that is easy. You can simply email your producer, or submit and edit form if they have one, and let them know what song you want in and what song you want out. This is pretty straight forward. On the other hand, sound effect changes can be a little more nuanced. Sound effect changes generally require one of two things (or both). If you are re-submitting your 8-count sheet with your new counts it is preferable that you highlight the new actions. This will tell your producer exactly where to focus in order to expedite the process. Going count-by-count looking for difference makes us pull our hair out. Additionally, it’s best to create the edit 8-count sheet from scratch leaving out the old sound effects that aren’t in the routine anymore and only including the newly highlighted actions. You can also include original sound effects that haven’t been changed.

Another way of submitting your sound effect changes will be to record and send in a new video – obviously recorded to your current mix. This will allow your producer to easily drop the video into his/her music program and line it up quickly. We highly recommend sending an email that gives an overall of what is different. Having the video is great, but if we don’t know what is different then we will have to do count-by-count to figure it out.

If more than song swaps and/or sound effects need to be edited then you’ll need to have a detailed call with your producer to come to a solution. Some major changes may be costly, but hey – you know that already because you read your producer’s Procedures and Policies

I hope this article helped to give you some insight on the music ordering process and what to expect when expecting your mix. If you have further questions feel free to contact us anytime via email, phone or on our live chat.

Steve Pawlyk Signature Full

IPP's Premade Mixes are USA Cheer Compliant and customizable!  Add Sound FX, swap songs, & more!  Add your Team Name to the mix for only $10! 

The Do’s and Don’ts of the 8-Count Sheet

By Steve Pawlyk

Published July 8, 2019


Someone out there needs to hear this…

your 8-count sheets are a mess

There I said it!  Don’t be mad. I’m just playing with you!  I know that filling out an 8-count sheet can be confusing and tedious at times.  Who wants to sit there and fill in each of those little boxes count by count – line by line.  It can make you pull your hair out. I know that’s why so many coaches fly through it just to get it done.  I’m right there with you. I have been guilty of this at times too. However, it can be problematic since the 8-count sheet can be a critical part of your music creation.  Most of the time it’s all your producer has at their disposal. Therefore, if your 8-count sheet is unclear or confusing then your music producer may not be able to execute that perfect mix that you envision.  Let me help you to solve this problem by providing examples of the do’s and don’ts of the 8-count sheet.

So why is this important?

Plain and simple, having the perfect 8-count sheet will reduce any aggravation on the part of you and your producer.  Your mix is the heartbeat of your routine. The perfect mix can help to bring your routine to life and pump up your team.  When you submit your count sheet at the beginning of the season you envision receiving a mix so perfect that the crowd wants to know all the lyrics and wants to sing along at competition like they do for Cheer Extreme Senior Elite and Top Gun.  Having the crowd support can help to lift your team up to the next level during their performance. You want your sound effects to be big and expressive, your beats to hit hard and the lyrics to be perfect! Trust me, your producer wants this for you as well.

Hopefully, I still have your attention. Now let’s dive in and see how both you and your producer can collaborate to create the most magnificent piece of routine music that you’ve ever heard!


Use the recommended count sheet that your producer prefers.   Most production companies create and only like to work off of their own count sheet as they know it well.


Please don’t make up your own count sheet.  I’ve seen this time and time again. Some coaches have submitted pictures of their routine sketched out on a napkin with hand drawn rows and columns


Record your routine to an 8-count track.  You will want to have an accurate reference when filling out your 8-count sheet. Using an app like Simple8 by IPP is great way to record and save your videos!


Avoid trying to fill out your 8-count sheet by memory or in real-time (while watching your team practice).  This will lead to an error 100% of the time.



Make sure to include to the intro line when filling out your 8-count sheet.

Your producer’s count sheet should always start on 1.1 as the introduction line.  You will typically see that some producers will black out counts 1-4 (to start on 1.5) as a reminder that this is, in fact, is your opening 5,6,7 & 8

Regardless, if the first 8-count has any indication whether or not you should always start your first action on 2.1

For example, if your first section is standing tumbling then your section label would be placed on 2.1 and your actions would start somewhere on this line.  The reason for this is that your producer’s mixing software starts on 1.1 (with 1.5 being your usually 5,6,7 &8 intro). Therefore, 2.1 is the first line where he/she can start your mix.

Basically, what you consider the first 8-count of your mix is the second 8-count to your producer.

Basically, what you consider the first 8-count of your mix is the second 8-count to your producer.


Avoid skipping the intro line.  This will cause your entire mix to be off by one full 8-count leading to an edit (i.e., Reconstruction ) to be made necessary.  This may be time consuming and costly.


Note your sections on either the left/right side of the count sheet. This allows your producers to quickly understand the flow of your routine and helps to map out ideas.


Make sure not to leave your sections blank. This can cause unnecessary guess work on the part of your producer and the mix can start to lose it’s cohesiveness.


Include your song choices on either side of the count sheet, at the bottom in the notes, on the cover page of the count sheet (where applicable) or in an email (noting which song goes with which section of the routine).


Never leave your mix without song selections. Producers generally dislike picking songs. It can be a long process trying to find songs that they think you might like in your mix.  This leaves less time for actual mix creations. Additionally, your producer may pick something that you don’t like leading to edit which can incur a fee.


When adding action words (sound effects) to your count sheet be sure to be clear and concise.  Try to use one or two words per box to describe your actions. For example, scale, twist, double full and etc.  In addition, only use action words that are pertinent to your routine. Remember, sound effects are unique audio samples used to highlight important actions in your routine, therefore, we suggest only including sound effects that help to bring your routine to life.  If you need to add extra information about your routine as a whole or a certain section then you can provide that information at the bottom of the 8-count sheet in the “notes” section.

Good Count Sheet:


Avoid filing each box with phrases or multiple actions. Although you think it may be helpful – it’s not. It can become hard to decipher sometimes.  Also, producers can only add one sound effects per beat in your mix so if you put multiple action words in the box it could make your mix sound like a mess.  Only include the most important action words on your 8-count sheet. Additionally, not every box needs to be filled with minor details or actions such as set, look, hold and etc.  Your producer prefers to see a clean 8-count sheet verses one cluttered with a million words. It will help to expedite the process. Trust me!

Bad Count Sheet:


Make sure that you mix starts and ends at the correct time to avoid edits and/or your mix going over the allotted time requirements. As mentioned before, your mix will need an intro.  Typically, you’ll want to start on 1.1 or 1.5. However, there can be some slight variation (e.g., 1.3 or 1.7). Just as important as making sure that your mix starts on the correct count is that it ends on the correct count.  This will avoid your mix going over time which will eliminate the chance of receiving a time violation penalty at competition. We recommend that your mix ends on the following counts to meet the different mix length time limits: 47.1 for a 2:30 mix, 42.1 for a 2:15 mix, 37.1 for a 2:00 mix and 28.1 for a 1:30 mix.  These recommendations are based on a 146 beats-per-minute (bpm) mix speed.


Please do not go over time! This can be a hassle for both of us. Mixes that end past the recommended stop times will need to be sped up. What typically happens in these cases is that the mix becomes too fast leading to poor execution of skills. However, there are some more advanced teams that can handle this speed increase. Others can’t. Those teams that can’t handle the speed increase will come back with a Reconstruction Request (link out to p&p definition of a reconstruction in the edits section) which will require the removal of a specified amount of 8-counts. An edit of this nature will usually incur a fee – yikes!


Keep your producer’s 8-count sheet as intended.  It has been formatted the way he or she likes. If there are any special instructions then your producer will let you know ahead of time.


Refrain from modifying your producer’s 8-count sheet.  Doing something to the count sheet unannounced may result in a mistake in production.  For example, avoid color-coding your sections. This can be distracting. Just list sections on the side as mentioned above.  The only time highlighting will be necessary is when re-submitting your 8-count sheet for an edit

I know some of this can seem confusing, but it’s really not.  We are here to help you every step of the way. If you have any questions please contact us.  We want to make your music experience as pleasant as possible. Regardless if you use IPP or not, we are willing to assist you at any point in the season.

Cheerleading 8-count sheet

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How To Prepare For Your Choreographer

By Luke Johnson

Updated June 5, 2019

How To Prepare For Your Choreographer

A brand new season is here and it’s time for choreography. This can be one of the most exciting times of the season. You’re so excited for your choreographer to arrive so that you can learn your new stunt sequence and practice the newest and most creative transitions in the industry. Can you picture it? It’s going to be a blast!

For some this a year-after-year experience and you know just how to prepare your athletes for choreography week. However, for other, this may be a brand new experience. There are always many questions regarding preparation. Being unprepared can waste valuable time and money. Therefore, we thought we’d help you with how to prepare for your choreographer!

What can I have ready before my choreography camp?

It is very helpful to have stunt groups figured out before the choreographer arrives. The groups should be practicing basic and elite stunt skills. This helps to make transitions easier when building the routine.

Knowing what your skill level is

Summertime is the time to learn and work on new and bigger skills. Having a good understanding and realistic expectations of your team’s capabilities will help guide the choreographer in the direction to best place the elements of the routine to max out the score sheet.

Teach the basics

Seat rolls, show and go, knowing what a line and space is, practice tumbling in different formations, and know your approach for standing tumbling.

Placement of Skills

For example: if you know your team struggles with tumbling, let the choreographer know so they don’t put it at the very end when the athletes are tired. Maybe your team is excellent at Stunts – the choreographer will want to know so they can highlight them as much as possible.

Choreography Camp Attendance

Attendance is very important in being able to learn the routine as it’s being taught by the Creative. It is key to show up with a positive attitude and be ready to learn. The choreographers feed off of the energy you project, so give them something good work with :-)  We understand things come up and you can’t make your choreography date – figure out how to get a fill-in. It could be a coach, another athlete, someone who can visually help the choreographer place people correctly to complete the full picture.

Record the choreography

This is the BEST way to be able to reference back after your choreographer has departed from camp. Your TWISTED Choreographer is able to help some from on the road, but keep in mind they do a lot of routines during the summer and having a video refresher makes the job easier.

During Camp

Being respectful to the choreographer makes everyone’s experience much more enjoyable. Know that Choreographers work long hours for days in a row – the best thing to keep them motivated – is positive energy. Be excited to learn, have fun with the process, you get to meet someone new – be the athlete/team/program that gets remembered for the positive things, not the negative ones.

It is always nice to be appreciated

  • Welcome signs at the hotel, gift baskets, special food or drinks the choreographer likes, are all wonderful ways to show your appreciation.
  • Choreography sessions may be scheduled for more time than regular practice is, be prepared with water and nourishing food to help you keep your energy level up.
  • Be patient with yourself – there is a ton of learning going on and nobody expects it to be perfect after a couple of tries – give yourself the time to learn and grow with the material as you practice more.
  • Communicate with your Choreographer. They want to give you a routine that you LOVE – talk with them if there is a part you don’t like – they truly won’t get upset with you if you are honest.

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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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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.

13 Tips For D2 Summit Youhitzero Ipp Cat Weedon Blog 005 Enjoyment

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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Becca Webster’s Must-Have Worlds Packing List 2019

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By Becca Webster

Published April 18, 2019

Becca Webster from Great White Sharks' Must Have Worlds Packing List

It’s everybody’s favourite time of the year!

Practices are harder than ever, nothing but perfection will do, and soon enough we’ll all be dying in the heat trying to see our flyer as the sun blinds us. But again, it’s our favourite time of the year!

What people don’t usually consider is that, while we’re all grinding to make our biggest dream a reality, finals are on the horizon, work is getting busy, it’s your bff’s birthday, you just got a puppy, or another 100 things are going on in our lives. We are busy people. So busy, that packing for worlds may not be on your priority list.

I’m here to make your life easier and provide you with a list of everything you need as you make your way to the 2019 Cheerleading World Championships.

Yhz Becca 1

Yhz Becca 1

What people don’t usually consider is that, while we’re all grinding to make our biggest dream a reality, finals are on the horizon, work is getting busy, it’s your bff’s birthday, you just got a puppy, or another 100 things are going on in our lives. We are busy people. So busy, that packing for worlds may not be on your priority list.

I’m here to make your life easier and provide you with a list of everything you need as you make your way to the 2019 Cheerleading World Championships.

The Essentials

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Bras
  • Regular clothing
  • Street shoes
  • Passport
  • Wallet
  • Feminine products
  • Tech chargers

Cheer Related

  • Team clothing you’re required to wear
  • Uniform
  • Cheer shoes
  • Cheer bow or scrunchie…etc
  • Team branded backpack
  • Practice clothing
  • Water bottle


  • Hair extensions if you use them
  • Straightener/curler
  • Hair ties
  • Bobby pins
  • Hair spray
  • Hair brush
  • Eyelashes
  • Makeup
  • Tweezers
  • Make up brushes


  • Neck pillow
  • Blanket
  • Sweater
  • Book/computer to keep busy
  • Headphones


  • Neck pillow
  • Blanket
  • Sweater
  • Book/computer to keep busy
  • Headphones

Yhz Becca 2

Good luck to everyone competing! I hope to see you all there. Remember, the work is always worth it.

Keep up with my cheerleading journey on YouTube: BeccaWebster

Also follow me on Instagram!
@beccweb & @beccweb_cheer

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15 Best Cheer Songs of 2019 (so far)

15 Best Cheer Songs Of 2019

By Steve Pawlyk

Published April 12, 2019

A new year brings new music!

Time to remix and revamp your current mix for Worlds and The Summit with our list of the 15 best cheer songs for January, February and March 2019.If you want to take your mix to the next level here is what you’ll need!

Follow us on Spotify

IPP's Premade Mixes are USA Cheer Compliant and customizable!  Add Sound FX, swap songs, & more!  Add your Team Name to the mix for only $10! 

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3 tips to help you increase flexibility without stretching

3 Tips To Help You Increase Flexibility Without Stretching

By Danielle Donovan

Updated April 4, 2019

Hands up 🙌 if you want to increase your flexibility

…you’ve been stretching every day and really working hard, but you’re frustrated because your flexibility just won’t improve – sound familiar?

‘How can I increase my flexibility?’ is a question I get every day, and today I am here to help share my top fit tips and best CHEERFIT exercises to help YOU increase your flexibility.

Hi, I’m Danielle, the founder of CHEERFIT (

and fitness expert for cheerleaders. Today I am going to break down the best exercises to help you increase your range of motion, show you how to do them, and share why they work.
And guess what, these flexibility tips don’t involve stretching!

Back Leg Lift Quote Yhz


Here at CHEERFIT, we are all about helping you reach your cheer goals and stay motivated through fitness! Today’s exercises are 100% focused on strengthening specific cheer muscles focused on improving your range of motion. Those areas are your lower back, hamstrings, hip flexors, and core.
Spoiler alert – by strengthening these muscles, you are improving your range of motion, and by improving your range of motion you are increasing flexibility! It’s a WIN WIN!


I planned out my best flexibility exercises to help you strengthen your cheer muscles and improve your flexibility! Again, remember each of these exercises works on STRENGTHENING the muscles that increase your range of motion and improve your flexibility. Do this workout for 10 reps each exercise x 3 rounds and share your workout pics with us on Insta @cheerfittraining #cheerfitstrong


● Focus area: hamstrings, core & lower back


● Focus area: hip flexors, core, and shoulders

Exercise 3: BACK LEG LIFT

● Focus area: lower back & core

Excercise 4: HAM STRING ABS

● Focus area: hamstrings & core


If you surround yourself with people that encourage you, support you, lift you up, and cheer you will be UNSTOPPABLE! Remember, we rise by lifting others up! Next time at you’re at practice, simply smile to the teammate across from you. Tell them you’ve noticed their hard work and let them know how amazing they are! You’ll both feel amazing! Need a tribe to lift you up?

Yhz Donovan Last Quote

We’d love to invite you to join the CHEERFIT Club! You’ll be instantly connected with thousands of cheerleaders and parents from around the world and get access to hundreds of cheer workouts, motivation, fit tips and more!

And there you have it, my top 3 tips to advance your flexibility – without stretching! Enjoy the tips and let us know your fav’ exercise TAGGING us @cheerfittraining in your workout pics or flexing selfies! #cheerfitstrong!
CHEERFIT: Danielle Donovan is the fitness expert for cheerleaders and founder of CHEERFIT – an online workout club and fitness community for cheerleaders. Join the Club to get 24/7 access to hundreds of cheer workouts, fit tips, and an online community – motivating each other and holding each other accountable. Be #CHEERFITSTRONG, join the Club.


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Daytona Prep – A Guide to NCA College Nationals 2019

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By Whitney Love

Updated March 26, 2019

It’s that time of the year again!!

NCA college Nationals is right around the corner and I bet you just might be freaking out a little… ok maybe a lot! All the last minute practices being schedule, required workouts, getting ahead on your school work, taking those tests ahead of time due missing them for performances during the week and travel to Daytona, attending regular classes, traveling to basketball tournaments, covering shifts at work, trying to work as often as you can… let’s face it, you’re just a busy bee!
PLUS, you’re napping during the day and not sleeping well at night (probably because of extra curricular activities..) and to finish this rant, I doubt you’re able to fuel your body with the appropriate nutrients it needs in order to make all of this possible. I get it though!

I spent 5 years cheering at Oklahoma State University (shoutout to my Cowboy fam!) and it took me 4 years just to figure out what my body needed during this time of the year. By my final years as an athlete it clicked! I was tan, fit, and finished full out routines with ease.
Below you’ll find a few tips that worked for me. Keep in mind, everyone is different. What I do may not be what work for you! Think of it as if you’re working on a new skill, you’ll have to go through trial and error in order to learn what the best method is for you. As long as you’re learning from each experience, it’s worth it!


Work up the courage and patience to wait after class so you can meet your professor and make sure they know you’re a cheerleader and that means you get the privilege to represent the university at games, tournaments, events, and college nationals. Go over dates that you could potentially have to miss and let them know whether any of the these days overlap with important dates for the class .
I took this very serious because good grades and organization skills didn’t come natural for me. This took away a lot of the potential stress.. trust me when I say completing homework or taking an online test while traveling or staying in Daytona is the last thing you will have time for. Communication is KEY my friends!


There is no healthy way to lose weight and get fit fast enough if you’re starting in March.. trust me, I tried it the unhealthy way and it is the surest way to injuring yourself as well as your self esteem. From the beginning of fall to the end of April I made sure to eat as clean as possible.


During fall semester I would workout at least 4 days a week. This was my favorite time because I could be creative with where I would work out. Whether that be the rec center, athlete facility, outside in the stadium, or around campus. I would challenge myself physically but I would also allow myself to have days off.

Around the end of December I would up my intervals! So mainly I’d increase my “mph” and do 20-30 minute session 3 days a week (typically not same day as cheer practice). In addition, I would reduce the weight lifting and focus more on exercises that used my body weight… I call them “Debbie Love” exercises. This workout method was great for me because the intervals made me feel close to what I’d feel after a couple full outs at practice and the “Debbie Love” exercises focus on injury prevention, increased mobility, and areas of my body that are used for cheerleading related skills.


When March comes around it’s easy to get overwhelmed and in my case that meant experiencing a few emotional breakdowns during the month! Even with the preparation prior to this month, you’ll still be busy and the older I got, the busier I became. Luckily, I had coaches, mentors, and family to encourage me during this time! This is when I would really start feeling that “Daytona Season” vibe.

I continued my normal workouts, eating habits, and really started focusing on my team. It’s important you don’t miss out on opportunities of personal and/or team growth. You only have a few more weeks left with this group of individuals. It’s important you make the most of it!

Some years I did better at this than other years.. and boy do I wish I could go back and tell myself to relax. You might find yourself having trouble sleeping around this time but in my case, that would happen if I had too much on my plate. One year I noticed myself developing a “Skill Block” as a result of stress and not enough sleep. Be aware and realistic with yourself when it comes to how much you take on each day.

While traveling and in Daytona during Nationals, I would kind of eat whenever I could. I ALWAYS had snack with me like

  • peanut butter
  • pretzels
  • apples
  • granola
  • protein bars
  • dried fruit
  • and a full bottle of water

Fortunately, my mom would attend nationals with me! She was able to wait in line for food each morning so that I could eat right before or after our first practice of the day. The coffee shop in Daytona is always busy but I’d make it a priority to go there for lunch and dinner would be spent at a restaurant.

It’s not impossible to be healthy during National season. It just takes effort and focus just like everything else in our lives. You’re nearing the finish line my friends! I promise the next two weeks with your team will be full of excitement. Don’t let the competition stress you out, but don’t let yourself think winning will be easy. The most important thing is to love what you do because when we do, we inspire others to do the same.

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original image source:Behind the Megaphone (2011)

Stress Block – Stress reduction overcomes skill challenges

Stress Block – Stress Reduction Overcomes Skill Challenges

By Debbie Love

Updated March 15, 2019

In sport, the word Block is used to describe an event whether single or ongoing where an athlete cannot do a skill they once had!

We live in a world of high pressure and stress. Our bodies are bombarded by internal and external struggles to remain relevant in whatever capacity we find ourselves!When we do not handle this stress and place boundaries to keep our balance in equilibrium, we may have a Tumbling or other sport related challenge. It may also show up in our relationships, health or ability to learn!

Therefore the answer to this problem is to keep our tools of stress reduction right within us. I want to share some of these with you.

Yhz Debbie Quote

1. Belly Breathing
belly in first – belly out last. This fills the lungs completely with air thus giving more energy and controlling too much emotional input!

2.Go to your happy place
Picture yourself where you are most calm!

3. Script your skills
Write all skills out using short action verbs and power words.This keeps your cognitive brain working so emotions can’t come over and play and wreak havoc with your mind and body!

4. Practice progressive relaxation
This is where you lie down and relax. Tense each muscle starting with your toes and move up to your fingertips, then relax going the other way so you understand the difference between a relaxed state and a tense state!

4. Practice progressive relaxation
This is where you lie down and relax. Tense each muscle starting with your toes and move up to your fingertips, then relax going the other way so you understand the difference between a relaxed state and a tense state!

Visualization is used to see yourself doing skills you desire to have; usually done by closing your eyes.You can also view videos of the skill being done by yourself at an earlier time!

Visualization is used to see yourself doing skills you desire to have; usually done by closing your eyes.You can also view videos of the skill being done by yourself at an earlier time!

6. Say NO to negative thoughts
Whenever a negative thought or idea comes into your head turn it into a positive thought. Don’t allow negativity to take seed!

7. Take a break
Sometimes we focus on one thing too long and our mind zones out. We need balance at all times

7. Take a break
Sometimes we focus on one thing too long and our mind zones out. We need balance at all times

8.Laugh a lot!
When things get so tense and you feel stressed out, read a humorous book or joke and laugh!

8.Laugh a lot!
When things get so tense and you feel stressed out, read a humorous book or joke and laugh!

9. Listen to music!
Music is calming and releases stress!

9. Listen to music!
Music is calming and releases stress!

10. Journal
Keep a journal to get rid of the thoughts in your head that need to be purged!

These are just a few tools!

When challenges come in any part of life these will help to overcome the event!A challenge is any situation that causes us to grow either physically or mentally!Challenges do not define us as people or athletes. They push our limits so we can cross boundaries!Have fun overcoming your stress challenges!

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