Archive | March, 2012

Fremont Bay Area Cheer Team Wins National Title

26 Mar

Hard Work = Great Rewards!

This March Bay Area, Fremont Cheerleading, RAW Allstars competed and won BIG, bringing home the 2012 National Title for Cheer Pom. This title has been sought after by gyms and dance studio’s across the National and we are proud to say we are the ONLY Fremont Bay Area Team to bring home a National Title in the Cheer Dance Sr. division. This was the Senior Teams first time competiting in this division and they brought home a National Title, earning multiple 9’s and a perfect 10 from judges.
We are proud to return home National Title Winners and headed back to the gym to recruit for Next Season. We have a National Title to defend and we are looking for the best dancers, tumblers and cheerleaders the Bay Area has to offer.
If you are interested in being part of the only NATIONAL TITLE holder gym in Fremont, CA, please visit to enroll now. Our members travel from across the Bay Area to be a part of this award winning facility. Now enrolling L1 teams (no experience required), L2 and up (ELITE Team experience required-tryouts required). Once teams are full enrollment will be closed!LET’S GO RAW!

Glimpse of Judges Comments:
“Superior Use of Squad, Movement and Dance Variety”
“Excellent Smiles, Engergy and Confidence”
“Beautiful, Just Beautiful”
“Love your uniforms”
“Great Music”

I Have 8 Years Experience, What Do You Mean I Am Level 1?

10 Mar

The Myth of Experience

It happens every day, Coaches & Directors are greeted with potential new members who stop by to check out their facility. One of the first statements from the member (or parent) is typically,  “Cary has been cheering/dancing for 3 years,  if she joins should not be placed on the beginner team”.  As a coach, we always have to assess the member by having them demonstrate their “talents” before team placement can occur. Sadly, more often than not, the child is unable to perform Level 2 or higher skills as determined by the cheer & cheer dance rules. Experience is a myth, because performers (and parents) think if they have been going to a place to practice something for years, they think they are gaining experience. Experience is only real if there is progression.

The hard part is telling the parent that their child is truly a level 1 performer and does qualify for L2 or higher. This statement is often meet with great resistance, parents and children typically go through an emotional response before anything else (hey, it’s human nature to get emotional first). But some coaches and directors are perplexed by this reaction, especially those who have many years experience in the competition world, but you also have to understand that no matter how nice you deliver the message; parents are not prepared for what they are hearing from you. Let’s just take a moment to explain why gyms get this reaction from parents:

  1. Imagine if you have spent the last 5 years spending an average of $500-$1000 or more on your child’s cheerleading or dance team. Her teachers tell you how great she is doing and her team even wins a competition or two. Now your finding out that in 5 years your child does not have the solid acro or gymnastics experience needed to be higher than a L1 performer
  2. Parents are realizing that they last 3 years and $4000+ dollars of gymnastics classes have gained a L1 placement on her cheer squad or even worse, she didn’t make the cheer squad because she doesn’t have the skills

Most parents do not understand that cheerleading should encompass everything, from dance; stunt; acro; gymnastics; projection; technique and more. If you don’t understand this, you won’t understand why your child did not make their Jr. High or High School squad after cheering for 5-10 years with youth leagues and other gyms.  This is not a blast on youth leagues, many of them actually follow policies set forth by organizations like ACA or other regulation organizations.  And the reality is, not all kids who join cheer, dance or gymnastics are looking to have a competitive edge or to become technically sound. For those kids, this whole post will not matter to you. But to those parents and children who want to get the most for the money and time, who want to have a competitive edge and excel properly, who want to have the full athletic experience possible, please read on.

Reality check! If you have spent more than 3 FULL season’s with any cheer program and can’t land a solid back handspring, move on and STOP WASTING YOUR MONEY! In a solid program, if you are a fully able bodied person, you will be landing a solid back handspring after just 2 full seasons.  There is just no excuse to spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours driving back and forth to practice/games, etc, if your child is not progressing. A dance program that can’t have your child doing solid double pirouettes after 2 years is not worth your time and money. So many times, teachers will say to parents “It’s not about progression but perfection, once they perfect this single we will move onto doubles”. The question you should ask is “Why is it taking 15 months to teach a child a double turn?”. An experienced coach who understands how to teach a child will be able to answer that question with a detailed and logical explanation, but if you had a coach like that it wouldn’t take 15 months to teach a student such a skill.

Yes, perfection before progression is very important to prevent injury. But parents should never  accept NO progression. It’s your time and your money. Now remember, coaches are not miracle workers, so do not expect to bring your child to a gym this week and having them doing Level 3 stunts in 5 months. It’s probably not going to happen.  Parents should expect, no matter what sport the child is doing, some consistent progression. In cheer,  if you child has perfected thigh-stand stunts, they should move up to halves, fulls then tosses.  But if you a child has been doing cheer for 3 years as a flyer and can’t hit a solid scorpion, IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON!

Someone recently asked “Well, what if my child just doesn’t excel at anything, can I really expect the coach to do something about that?”. The answer is YES, a true coach/teacher is going to be creative with kids who don’t seem to excel. Every child excels at their own pace, but there should be a pace! As a coach, if I am working with a student and he is not moving forward in progress, I get really creative to help find something that clicks to help the child excel.  If after many tries I see no progress, then its time to sit and talk to the parent about what’s happening on the dance floor or mats.  This allows the parent, coach and performer to decide if it’s a good fit for them, if they want to continue to pay for the program and try to fight through what they are “stuck” on (BTW, this conversation would happen within 2-3 weeks of no progression). At our training facility, we WOULD NEVER have a parent or child invests time if they weren’t progressing. Why? Well because we are not here to waste your money, were here to teach your child. So if we become concerned that there is no progression, we are going to speak to you as quickly as possible.  In the last 3 years, our Director has had this conversation with only 3 parents and each time the parents have fully appreciated the honesty.

“Well I don’t know cheer and I don’t know what progression is and what’s not”, a parent recently told us. That is a very valid statement; if you are not from the competitive cheer or dance circuit you may not know what progression or lack thereof. So here are a few things to look out for:

  1. Cheerleading teams that do not tumble. If your just looking for a fun thing to spend your money on and your child does not show desire to work on the technique of cheer, you will be ok. But if your child is looking to eventually join their high school  or college team, then you need to find a team that includes tumbling into their program
  2. Gymnastics schools that have coaches who have not been competitive cheerleaders/dancers.  Gymnastics competition rules and levels are very different from cheer. Judges see it all the time, a cheer/dance team hits the competition stage and they are AMAZING tumblers but lack the cheer technique and dance skills required for a competition. It doesn’t have to be a gymnastics school, a cheer gym is just as good as long as they have coaches with tumbling training abilities.
  3. Dance schools, a solid leap and double turn should be perfect no later than year 2. If not, please move on!
  4. Stunts: after two full seasons a flyer should be able to go to Full Extension, hit a solid scorpion in no less than 2 full seasons. Bases should know how to spot on all sides and be able to put a fulls up from any side. If this is not happening, then find a new program.

As performers and parents it is very important to understand that cheer & dance is progressive learning and good attendance is mandatory. If you miss practices, even just once a month, your progression is going to be very limited. You cannot blame a program for failed progression if your child is not in the training facility at least 90% of their training days and hours. It is important for both, parents and performers, to know what to expect from their programs. Once you know these, you will be proud to know that the next time your performer walks into an audition that they will be at the level that reflects the time and money invested in their trade.