Cheerleading is a great sport for your child to take up
If, like me, your child likes to be active then why not encourage them to try out cheerleading. My 10 year old daughter had tried several activities i.e. running, dancing, brownies, swimming etc.
Six months ago she joined a local cheerleading club which was just starting out in our village. At first I was a bit sceptical as to whether she would actually enjoy it, but to my surprise she absolutely loves it. She loves the challenge and has become a squad leader. Her coach is very supportive and encourages everyone to work together.
So what is cheerleading all about?
Cheerleading originated in the United States of America, but is becoming increasingly popular in United Kingdom. It is a fun type of dance that involves gymnastics, stunts and jumps. It is a team sport and has many rewards such as:
* bringing out confidence in children
* understanding the importance of team work
* helping children achieve goals as an individual and as part of a team.
* giving them the opportunity to make new friends
* having fun
They are taught the fundamentals of cheer, learn new dance routines which incorporate stunting, jumping and they learn about flexibility and their own core strength.
There are Cheerleading Clubs all over the UK. The club my daughter joined has 3 age groups who train on different days:
4 - 8 year olds
9 - 12 year olds
13-16 year olds
The coach is excellent with the children offering support, encouragement and praise. As well as the benefits of pursuing a healthy, active hobby, the children all work hard to the best of their ability. They attend for one hour in the week and one and a half hours on a saturday morning. Although the club has only been running for a short time, the children have all excelled. One of the main aims of the coach is to support everyone to work towards the USASF standard (United States All Star Federation) and enter competitions which they are all excited about.
Each child is given the opportunity to do the stunts under strict supervision and shown the correct way to lift and support the child performing the stunt. They have all come so far in 6 months that they will be ready for competitions very soon. Once a month the parents are invited to watch their child perform as a team and I have to say that as a Mum, it is quite scary to watch at times. Seeing your child being lifted up and tossed in the air and caught by 10 year olds makes me nervous. They have all come such a long way and their new found confidence is amazing to see.
What to look for in a cheerleading coach
Before you enrol your child for cheerleading there are a few things to bear in mind:
1. Ensure that the coach is fully qualified and is registered with the B.C.A. (British Cheerleading Association.
2. The coach should be CRB checked. This is a check carried out by the Criminal Records Bureau who access information from the Police National Computer to ascertain if the person has a criminal record. It includes any cautions, warnings, reprimands as well as any convictions. If you are in any doubt, ask to see their CRB check. Anyone who works with or runs a club for children should have a CRB check carried out.
3. The club should have the appropriate public liability insurance in force.