Wildcards is a cheerleading youth academy from Singapore that aims to gather and cultivate like-minded individuals who love the sport. For more about us, please visit our main website.
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Cheerleading Safety

Monday, June 7, 2010

Safety should be of the utmost concern for all involved in cheerleading. Every cheerleader's main objective should be to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

By knowing why the majority of injuries occur, a cheerleader can better understand how to prevent them. Practising prevention techniques will lower the risk of cheerleading related injuries.

Lack of conditioning and not being physically prepared

Cheerleaders should hit the gym often and do some simple cardio. It is a common misconception in cheerleading that lighter is better. What many coaches mean when they tell their flyers to lose some weight is to cut the fats and put on those muscles. Bases should never complain that a flyer is too heavy if she's hardening up. Bases should put on some bulk themselves by doing intensive gyming off training.

Untrained coaches and instructors

Many cheerleading teams look for current or retired cheerleaders with a good performance record as coaches. Some of these coaches have not been certified by any cheerleading bodies. Technically, these coaches understand how to make pyramids and other stunts work but they have not been trained in safety techniques. It is important for teams to make sure the coach they are hiring is certified to protect their own safety.

Poor decision making by instructors or participants

Fatique is often experienced during training, especially by cheerleaders who are behind their teammates in terms of physical proficiency. Instructors should always be able to evaluate and access their cheerleader's physical state. Attempting stunts when the cheerleaders are not physically capable can and will often result in otherwise preventable injuries.

From a different aspect, instructors should always practice progressive training. Allowing cheerleaders to attempt high level stunts when they have not mastered the basics will rob them from the experience needed to react in catastrophic situations.

Risk taking attitudes

It is important for an instructor to understand his/her team's proficiency. Attempting dangerous stunts beyond their capabilities with inadequate spotting experience will definitely be excessively risky. Also, cheerleaders should avoid taunts and always maintain a logical presence of mind. When a cheerleader gets injured, the whole team is affected.

Inadequate supervision

A certified coach should always be present at all trainings and stunting sessions. This is to facilitate the proper administration of safety techniques to protect the cheerleaders.

Inadequate attire

Cheerleaders should always equip themselves with proper body wear. Shoes are definitely a necessity. All piercings and accessories should be removed prior to training. Cheerleaders who require guards or tape should 'gear up' before training starts.

Poor nutrition

A proper diet should be adhered to at all times. A weak cheerleader is a cheerleader waiting to break something. Flyers should refrain from crash diets or starve themselves to look good before competitions.

Attempting difficult stunts before being ready

Proper warm ups are important before any difficult stunt is tried. Some simple warmups would be basic elevator pop cradles, and straight up basket tosses. Without proper warm up, the body of often unable to react to situations readily.

What can be done to prevent injuries

1) Adhere to all rules and regulations
2) Wear well fitting shoes with proper cushion and support
3) Have an emergency plan in place and preactise it
4) Require proper spotting
5) Gradually progress to difficult stunts and skills
6) Become educated and certified in safety, first aid and CPR
7) Requre and use the proper techniques
8) Learn how to identify eating disorders
9) Treat all injuries as soon as they happen
10) Increase flexibility
11) Strengthen lower back, abdomen and shoulders
12) Gradually increase the intensity of practice

last but not least, always listen to your coach. last stunt means last stunt.

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