Thursday, June 26, 2008

Start early, start right.

This post is dedicated to all young aspiring cheerleaders... You have what I always hope to have, that is time.

In the past few months, I got the opportunity to move around quite a bit and got in contact with some cheerleaders from secondary schools. They are very young (compared to me) and some just started cheerleading. Whenever we did some partner stunts, it never fails to amaze some of them. The guys being still quite small sized might be thinking I can never do this, but what I want to tell them is that they can too, I am not saying that it is going to be easy, but they do have time on their side.

If one is really passionate about cheerleading, they will be willing to sacrifice a large portion of their time for it. I spent the last 5 years of my life dedicating each and everyday to cheerleading to be where I am now. Shall not go into details, but it was very tough, and each time I wished that I had started when I was younger, when I was still in secondary school. This is because your body tend to be more receptive and learn things faster when you are still growing. If I had started younger, I probably will be much better now.

Because of my experience, I want to urge young cheerleaders who aspire to be good in cheerleading, to start training proper techniques and body control while they are still young. It would be even better if they got the chance to be enrolled in gymnastics lessons. To be a real good cheerleader, like those you see on videos, you really have to start from young, or be prepared to endure tougher times when you are older. Do not only think it is impossible when you see others do higher level stunts, stop drooling over them and start putting in the effort. Seek proper guidance and start young, results do not show immediately, but by the time you reach their age, you will be magnificent.

In alot of my previous posts, I always state the importance of gymnastics to cheerleading, it gives you overall body strength and flexibility for stunting, other then just tumbling, and by now I think all can agree with me on that. So back to the point of are we too old to start learning gymnastics? Personally I was 23 when I first got introduced to gymnastics, and I feel that now at the age of 26, I have achieve sufficient for me to be proud of myself. I believe that if you want it, no one is too old to start, just that as you age, the effort required has to increase too. Below is another abstract from addressing this topic.

This is a common question that we see often from gymnasts most often ranging in age from 12 and up. Can I still get good at such and such an age? We would never be the ones to ever say no to that question. We are firm believers in the ability of humans to do whatever they set their mind to. So yes, you can still get good at floor exercise, at the other gymnastics events and increase your flexibility at age 20. There are gymnasts your age and older who have or are competing at the international level. There are collegiate gymnasts your age who are making some of the best gymnastics progress of their lives at your age.

This is not to say that it will not be difficult and more difficult than if you had started at a much younger age. There is scientific evidence that very difficult gymnastics skills are more easily learned and much better learned at a younger age, say 8 – 11 years of age. Younger gymnasts also do not usually have any fear of doing gymnastics skills and they adapt to hard training regimens more easily. This does not mean that you cannot learn gymnastics skills at your age.

Many older people who have not done gymnastics at a young age do not understand the amount of work and effort and the large amount of time that it takes to get good at gymnastics. Even a highly talented young athlete is going to take 3 – 5 years to get really great.

At any age, strength and flexibility are the two most important prerequisites for gymnastics success. Older gymnasts can take advantage and gain more benefit from weight training than younger gymnasts can. Weight training is a good all-around progressive method of increasing strength. Train all strength building activities to the point of momentary muscular failure to gain maximum strength most efficiently.

Gymnastics is not a sport that can really be learned without a coach. You can perhaps do some of the preliminary strength and flexibility training on your own, but when it comes to really learning gymnastics skills, you will (as all gymnasts do) require quality coaching.

The primary impediments to someone your age training successfully for gymnastics are likely to be time, money and commitment. To become really good in gymnastics, you need to train every day. When you are playing catch-up like you will be, this is even more true. Daily strength and flexibility training can take an hour or more. Daily gymnastic skills training will take from 45 minutes to 1&½ hours per day per event.

Gymnastics coaching is not inexpensive. Your initial training will likely be in an adult or teen plus gymnastics class and they do not usually meet daily. Team level training often costs hundreds of dollars per month.

If you are working, going to school or socializing a lot, you may find it difficult to find the time and energy to train.

None of what we are saying in any way means that we don’t think a 20-year-old could not get really good in gymnastics. We believe that they could. We do believe that, like a gymnast of any age, they will have to be willing to pay the price, physically, mentally and financially. That price, especially physically and mentally, goes up as you get older.

We really love this sport, and if you do also, then we believe that you could reach your gymnastics goals through hard work, regular practice and with good coaching. We wish you luck and if there is anything else we can do for you, please let us know.

So to all younger cheerleaders out there again, start young and get a real headstart, to give you an edge over others, to become the best in the business few years down the road. You do not want to regret in future for not making the grade as you progress down the road. I have seen many cheerleaders give up and quit when they step up to the next level because they feel they are not good enough and cannot cope with the trainings, I am sure you do not want that. Your journey starts RIGHT NOW!

P.S: Do you only want to take/be the elevator for your whole life?

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