Dos and Don’ts of Safety

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Of course you want to be ready for camp, but “ready” may not mean what you think. Being ready means being prepared to learn. Here are a few do’s and don’ts that will help.

DO…

Work your fundamentals. Often, we get used to doing the same four or five skills that we use at games and/or competition. Start with basic skills and work your way up through the progressions. When you get to camp, you may learn new skills that will require you to fall back on those fundamentals. It’s better to arrive with perfect Preps or Extensions than with shaky Liberties.

Synchronize your squad. Whether it’s jumps, tumbling or stunts, make sure everyone is using the exact same approach on the same counts. It isn’t enough to start on the same count; you should be synchronized every step of the way. For example, in a Back Handspring, everyone should sit, touch their hands and feet to the ground and stand on the same counts. This will help when it comes time to incorporate skills into your cheer at camp. Converting those counts to words will be a breeze and will get you prepared for evaluations much faster.

Acclimate yourself to the heat. If you are practicing in an air-conditioned gym all summer, you may be in for a rude awakening once you get to camp. If your camp is held outside, you should spend some time beforehand getting used to cheering outdoors. There are some great articles on cheersafe.org to help show you the way.

Be in good physical condition. Being in shape is an ongoing process, not something you can do in a week. Be sure to cross-train so that you don’t overwork one area or muscle group. Even hitting your cheer motions on a regular basis will be helpful in decreasing thesoreness that often occurs on Day 2 of camp.

DON’T…

Don’t practice too much. Building up strength and acclimating yourself to the outside temperatures are important, but be aware that too much is not necessarily a good thing. Overtraining can lead to lower performance levels and increases your chance of getting injured.

Don’t crash diet. Fitness and conditioning should be a part of your summer regimen, but they must be approached the right way. This means fueling your body with healthy foods and following a conditioning program that encompasses strength, cardio and flexibility training. Trying to get fit or lose weight too quickly will result in fatigue and injury.

Don’t worry about winning. Camp is about getting better. The best teams focus on “the process” and on improving every day. Your goal should be to leave camp a better team than when you arrived. Measure your success by how well you are prepared for the upcoming season.

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