Category Archives: Cheer

Cheer & Tumbling Dynamic Warm-Up

It’s been a while since I posted! I have (and still am) very busy with very exciting projects! But I figured I would share a very small portion of some of the work I’m doing.

Click here to get a full body dynamic warmup that will you take your practice to a new level! This easy-to-perform warm-up prepares your muscles for even the toughest training session! It can help alleviate some minor aches and pains that may usually occur during practice and will significantly reduce your risk of future injury.

For the best results, follow the directions carefully and focus on your form! The more effort you put in, the stronger you will become.

How Long Does it Take to Learn a Tumbling Skill? — Part 1 — Physical Factors: Post 1 of 4

  

**As I mentioned in my previous post, this post is only part of a long article I’ve been working on. This is my first installment, “Part 1”.  I plan on having 3-4 “Parts” in totality.  Each “Part” will have between 3-5 “Posts.” My goal of release content in chunks, like this, is to get content out more frequently, instead of having my (ever growing) folder of unfinished articles become even larger!**  

 
 

As a tumbling instructor, one of the most common questions I am asked by new athletes and parents is “How long will it take to learn this skill?” Unfortunately, this question is very difficult to answer. There are many factors to consider when determining the length of time required for an athlete to master a particular skill, and these factors vary greatly from one athlete to the next. The goals of this series of articles is to help athletes and parents better understand the process of learning and mastering a skill, as well as to provide some tips on how to accelerate this process.

 

— The points I make in this post will apply for all tumbling skills; but for simplicity’s sake, I will be using one the most commonly learned tumbling skills by cheerleaders — the back handspring. —

 

Physical Factors:

 

The most essential components of learning any new tumbling skill are physical in nature. In order to safely perform a back handspring independently, an athlete’s  body needs to be prepared to produce, utilize, and sustain the high the amounts of force involved with the skill. Strength, flexibility, coordination, and physical development are all physical aspects that affect the learning of new tumbling skills. Overlooking any of these factors could result in injuries such as sprains, fractures, concussions, or worse! Think of these physical aspects as the foundation of a building. Without a good foundation, a building could collapse. In the same way, not being physically prepared for a skill is setting yourself up for failure and/or injury when learning how to tumble.

 
 
 

Strength:

It’s no secret that tumblers need to have strong muscles. In a back handspring, strong, fast, legs produce the explosive jump needed to propel a tumbler up and back into an inverted handstand position; strong shoulders allow the tumbler to forcefully push into the floor “springing” them from their hands back to their feet, and a strong core is essential to keeping the body moving together seamlessly throughout the skill.  But strong muscles are not only used to generate the force needed to get over in a back handspring. When landing, muscles act to decelerate, or slow down, the force produced during the skill in order to protect bones, ligaments, and other vital organs from trauma. Adequate strength is essential to tumbling because it necessary to perform skills, as well as land them safely.

 

 

I hoped you enjoyed this post! Keep checking back for Part 1: Post 2: Flexibility!

-Cheers
Matt Faherty

Matt is Back in Action!

First off, I hope everyone had a fun and festive 4th of July!

I just want to let everyone know that I am once again available for online lesson scheduling!

In addition, as a way of thanking you, my valued clients, for your patience while I was unavailable during my surgical recovery, as well as when I will be away coaching at Camp Woodward later this summer, I will be reducing my rates for a limited time!

The reduced rate will be:

$25 – Half-Hour Private Lesson :: Reduced from $30!
$45 – Full Hour Private Lesson :: Reduced from $55!

These reduced rates are for a limited time, and will expire when I leave for Camp on July 25th. So book your lesson NOW before it’s too late!

Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend! I will see you in the gym soon!

Coach Matt Faherty
Founder of Full-Out Cheer & Fitness

Matt’s Musings – Why Learning to Tumble is Like Learning to Read

After thinking about it a lot today, I realized that learning to tumble is a lot like learning to read. When you learn to read, you first need to learn each letter of the alphabet and the sound(s) it makes. Then you start to put basic words together using those letters and sounds. Finally you start to learn about more complex words, and tricky letter combinations and sounds.

Tumbling is much the same way. First you must learn body positions; tuck, hallow, arch, pike, lunge, etc. Then you start putting simple body positions together in a sequence. Handstands, forward rolls, and cartwheels are a good example of this. Last, we learn about using those same basic movements in more complex ways, learning tricky combinations of those same body positions. ex. Back handspring, front tuck, etc.

Far too often, we as coaches skip teaching those basic body shapes, and skills properly, or don’t spend enough time mastering them. I can’t count how many cheerleaders I have met through the years who were working back tucks without mastering a backward roll, who say they need to get their back handspring, when they can’t hold a handstand properly, and who want to work fulls, but can’t perfectly execute a layout.

If you have ever wondered why so many kids get mental blocks, try handing an encyclopedia to a second grader and ask them to read it. There might be some words in it that look familiar to them, but 98% of it will do nothing but cause confusion and anxiety. By letting kids work these hard skills before TRULY mastering basics, we only set them up for failure. We are teaching them to memorize and recite Shakespeare before they can sound out “See Spot Run” on their own.

By teaching kids from the start that each skill is not a unique snowflake, but just a series of previously learned, familiar, body shapes we make the skills much less overwhelming to learn, and unlock the ability for kids to be able to safely practice “sounding out new words” in classes without constantly needing a spot, constant feedback,  and 1 on 1 attention.

Anyways, that’s just what’s been on my mind today. Make it a good week everyone!

-Coach Matt

Beat the Heat! – Re-hydration in Youth Sports

Hydration:

As summer swings into full speed, and temperatures rise, heat related illness becomes a serious risk among youth athletes! This is due to the  fact that the body’s of children have not fully developed the ability to regulate it’s internal temperature. As a result, a child’s natural response to heat, such as sweating, is delayed, or largely suppressed. Because of this blunted response to heat, children have an increased susceptibility to heat induced illness. To keep youth athletes safe, and performing their best, fluid replacement needs to be a top priority among coaches, parents, and athletes.

To insure proper hydration, and reduce the risk of heat related illness among athletes, the National Athletic Trainer Association (NATA) has released a position statement recommending the following: 

  • Insure optimal pre-exercise hydration by consuming 17-20 oz. of water, or sports drink, 2-3 hours before activity, and an additional 7-10 oz. 20-30 minutes prior to activity.
  • During exercise, consume 7-10 oz. of water, or sports drink every 10-15 minutes to replace fluids lost by sweat.
  • Be aware of the warning signs of dehydration, and constantly monitor athletes for heat related illness. Here are a few of the symptoms to watch for: headache, nausea, chills, cramps, weakness, dizziness, decreased performance and a heat-like sensation on the back and neck.

For more information about heat related illness, fluid replacement, or youth athletes, visit the links embedded throughout the articles!

Make it a great summer!
-Coach Matt

‘Tis the Season of Change in Cheerleading – Big Change for Rochester Clients, Changing Location of Lessons in May

As many of you have noticed, over the past few weeks I have limited the ability to book lessons at Fame All-Stars, in Rochester, starting in May, 2013. This is due to the fact that, in all-star cheerleading, May marks the end of one competitive season, and the beginning of the next.

May can be an exciting month in cheerleader. Often times, gym owners make huge changes to their programs, including rolling out new services, renovating their facilities, and hosting special clinics and workshops before team tryouts. May can also be a difficult time, as high-school seniors graduate and age off of teams, athletes decided not to cheer another season, and coaches come and go.

This May will be both an exciting and grim month for me, as I, like the gym owners, make large changes to the services I offer. I would like to take this time to tell everyone some of what is to come at the end of this current 2012-2013 season, and the beginning of the 2013-2014 season! I believe that the changes being made are necessary for me to further improve on the high-quality instruction, positive learning environment, and outstanding customer service I offer to my clients.

Starting May 1st, I will no longer be offering lessons at Fame All-Stars, in Rochester, NY

The decision to leave Fame has been a very difficult one for me, both professionally, and personally. I have spent the past two seasons coaching Fame athletes, traveling around the northeast to competitions, creating close bonds with teams’ families, and coaching alongside of some of the best instructors in both New York, and Virginia. Many of the bonds I share with people at Fame go much further back, some as far as nearly a decade. But I feel that it is time for me to take the next step in my career, and begin the next chapter in my life. Although I will discontinue offering lessons at Fame on May 1st, I will be leaving Fame as a coach on May 6th, after US Finals in Virginia Beach, Fame’s last competition of the 2012-2013 cheer season. I wish everyone at Fame All-Stars, both here in NY and in Virginia, the best during the upcoming season.

Beginning the week of May 6th, I will begin offering lessons and classes at Core Athletix, in Rochester, NY

Core Athletix is a multi-purpose training facility, specializing in tumbling and cheerleading. Core’s large training area, and vast amounts of training and safety equipment, will allow me to better train athletes, and keep them safer while doing it. The facility also has a large, comfortable, lobby/parent viewing area, which keeps the training spaces free from distractions, such as siblings, crying babies, and parent conversations. Reducing of distractions keeps the athletes focused on training, improving their performance, while also keeping them safe.

Core Athletix is located about 10-15 minutes away from the previous location Core’s address is 1344 University Ave. Suite #5000 in Rochester, NY.

More information, including “frequently asked questions” about these, and other changes, will be posted in within the next few days. I will also be updating my online scheduling calendar to reflect the changes, and allow you to book lessons at Core Athletix as soon as possible! I am still working to finalize the times in which equipment will be available for me to offer lessons.

Now Offering Lessons at the Sports Academy in Victor, NY

I am now offering a few openings on my lesson scheduling page for cheerleaders/tumblers at the Sports Academy located ay the Phoenix Mills Plaza in Victor, NY. Time is EXTREMELY limited! So if you are interested, book ASAP!

Q&A: Wobbly Single-Leg Stunts

I can never seem to get myself to sit down and write on a schedule. But I often find myself writing long replies to questions asked on the Fierceboad or sent by email. Most of those reply’s length rival those of my actual posts. So I decided I will share some of those questions/answers on here.

Question : I have a level 2 youth team and their one leg stunts have become weak and wobbly. Does anyone have any ideas to help strengthen this area?

Answer: That’s a pretty general question. It’s like going to the doctors and simply saying “I’m sick.” He’s going to need know symptoms, and details to be able to properly diagnose/treat you.

Likewise, on the forum, we will need to know a little more about those “shaky stunts” to be able to give accurate advise on how to fix them. A video would probably be best. But recording and posting videos can be a bit of a gray area legally, unless you have a release from all parents of the athletes involved. So I wouldn’t recommend it.

A few general suggestions:

-Look at the grip and building technique of the bases.

-Watch for any muscle compensations in the bases when putting up the stunt. For example, holding the stunt in front of their bodies, instead of overhead, excessive arching of the back, or knees turning in or out when holding the stunt. Any of these could indicate your bases need to get stronger to be able to control the stunt.

-Make sure the flyer has correct body positioning when loading and building the stunt.

-Look to see if the flyer has the ability to balance and stabilize their body throughout the stunt. Can your flyer do the skills balanced on a stable surface such as the floor?

-Make sure that your flyer has proper flexibility and strength to be able to hit each body position. Poor flexibility can cause altered movements in the air. An example of this would be poor hamstring flexibility, which would cause your flyer to drop their chest when performing a single leg heel stretch. Another would be inflexible/over-active hip-flexors which could cause the flyer to excessively arch in their their back in a scorpion.

Anyways, these are just a few general things to look for when diagnosing stunting issues. Like I said before, to be able to definitively tell you how to fix your teams stunts, I would need more information.

Hope this helps,
Coach Matt
Full-Out: Cheer and Fitness

 

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The Importance of Fitness and Safety in Cheerleading

By: Carolyn Fallon
Check out more work by Carolyn by visiting her blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/!

Anyone who thinks cheerleading is easy has obviously not tried it. Today’s cheerleading routines are extremely demanding and athletic, requiring amazing amounts of strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance. Training for cheerleading should always include some form of aerobics and strength training. Also, safety is a constant concern. If you are deficient in any area, you are putting yourself and others at risk.

It seems that every year cheerleading routines become more and more complex, more athletic, and more risky. There are moves underway now to improve safety for cheerleading routines and related activities. For now, be sure to train mindfully to avoid any hazards.

Actions Cheerleaders Can Take To Prevent Injuries:

Resistance Training:

Some type of resistance training will keep your weight under control and give you the strength to perform more advanced routines. You will also want to be sure that you always include a good stretching and warm-up session before your workouts, which will help prevent injury, both major and small.

Yoga:

Yoga is a great exercise for cheerleaders because it is low impact in nature while also providing a good strenuous workout. Due to the typical benefits of yoga being increased strength, flexibility, and balance, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Glen Axelrod states that many professional teams are integrating yoga into their regular training sessions. Additionally, yoga is known to also increase one’s core strength and focus, as well as decrease emotional states of stress and anxiety.

Proper Training:

It is always important to be training properly, in proper conditions, with proper training, observed by certified coaches. Be sure that you perform your stunts on mats to provide cushioning for falls. You will also want to maintain an atmosphere that allows you to focus. A certified and trained coach should be on hand at all times to ensure that safety is always being monitored and heeded.

Diet:

In addition to your training and exercise regimen, maintaining a diet is vitally important. For one thing, you will need to provide enough healthy fuel to provide energy for your routines and exercise. You will also want to eat the right kinds of foods so that you maintain lean muscle mass, while avoiding fatty foods that don’t provide any nutritional value.

Be sure that you are eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. The fruits will ensure that you are getting plenty of carbohydrates to fuel your workouts. Try to avoid getting sugar in the form of sodas and sugared drinks. These types of drinks tend to cause rapid increases in blood sugar. This can lead to weight gain.

Getting your carbs in the form of fruit also ensures that you are getting plenty of fiber in your diet. Fiber helps you keep from putting on weight in the form of fat. The reason fiber helps prevent weight gain is that it takes longer for your body to digest. You will also need to make sure you getting enough lean protein. Protein is the building block for muscle. Avoid meats like red meat and beef. They tend to have adequate protein but at a cost. They too often have high levels of unhealthy fat. This fat can clog your veins and prevent your heart from working at full capacity.

Some good choices for lean protein are turkey, skinless chicken, and most fish. Also, many nuts have good amounts of protein combined with good fiber. Walnuts, pecans, cashews, and sunflower seeds are good choices, and are an easy snack to keep with you for when you are hungry but it’s not meal-time yet. They also tend to be high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. One thing to be careful of, however, is high levels of salt, which can be found on certain types of nuts, such as peanuts.

Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has known to bust some serious mves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/!