Skill Progression and Development
Start by taking one category and evaluate what skill level your team is at and their strengths and weaknesses. A good place to start could be in jumps or tumbling, making a stunt more solid or working on the control of your movements in a dance. Whichever category you’re working on, it’s important to perfect the skills you have before moving to a new or more difficult skills. Using this rule of thumb will ensure success – Perfection before progression!
Once you determine your strengths and weaknesses start working on the weakest category until you progress enough where you become comfortable performing those skills in front of a crowd. It’s natural to want to work on the aspect that you enjoy and are most likely best at. When working on newer skills or skills that you haven’t mastered it’s important to work on them at least 10 times a day. You’ll see the best result if you can practice those skills at the end of practice. Your body will develop more when it’s already tired from practice then if you do those skills at the beginning of practice when you’re full of energy. If you’re working on stunts or tumbling, please be careful not to hurt yourself because you’re tired. Use proper spots if needed.
While working on new skills it’s important to maintain the skills you already have. It’s not necessary to do skills that you have mastered a lot but it’s important to focus on doing them correctly. You don’t want to build bad habits because eventually your bad practice habits will show while performing. For example; at practice you do your favorite jump five times and you practice getting your legs higher, but you land with your feet apart because you don’t think it’s important. You will most likely continue that habit and will need to rework and retrain yourself to land properly. Better to think of improving the height and continue to focus on a nice clean landing.
Practice should be a time of focus and concentration. The lack of focus is the number one cause of cheerleaders not developing or causing accidents which can be avoided. Focus and discipline are extremely important for every team and it all begins in practice. Mastering this will surely pay off during special performances and competition season.