Saturday, February 4, 2012

A TOP 5 MUST HAVE QUALITY from a Good Cheerleader

A TOP 5 MUST HAVE QUALITY from a Good Cheerleader

By XWonder

Recently I’ve interviewed our Singapore Cheer Idol, Mr. XWonder for his Top 5 criteria that constitute a good cheerleader. Below is the report for everyone else’s knowledge.

NO.1 - Sustained Passion/Love

Passion, defined as any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, such as love or hate. A passion that is sustained through till your deathbed is sustained passion. Everyone faces ups and downs in life, and similar in our cheerleading career.

Initially he mentioned the word passion. However, he felt that sustained passion would be a stronger word as cheerleading path is no easy than any other sports and also one that required time, energy and effort to begin to see some results. He feels that a good cheerleader must have the passion and love to this sports even to the extent giving up other passion. He actually shared with me how a soccer fanatic he was before he decided to go full gear on cheerleading. He always played soccer throughout his life even after he got in touch with cheerleading, he would still priotise soccer over cheerleading. It is only until one point of time that he decided to give up his passion for soccer and redirect this undying passion into cheerleading. And this is what that, he felt, the top most important criteria a good cheerleader should have. An undying and sustained passion for cheerleading.

And this also reminded me of what my mentor had taught me as well.

My mentor once told me that there are a few reasons that motivates people to do something

I. Anger/ Hatred

Many times people do certain because they want to prove to some other people wrong perception about themselves.

Eg. They looked down on me, so I want work hard, train hard and win to prove them all wrong.

II. Responsibility

A typical example of responsibility is our parents. If you may, ask your parents today, “Dad, Mom, do you love your job?” Most probably, they will answer you “Absolutely NO” Then the question would be why would they stay on their job? The answer is very simple, because their children are their responsibilities. They worked because they are responsible for their child welfare, education and etc.

III. Love

Bible - 1 Cor 13:13

‘And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love’

True indeed that the greatest of all is LOVE. It is only through TRUE LOVE that we find doing something fruitful and rewarding, that we are willing to do anything without any return.

I’ve seen many winners and champions were born. Anger may win you champion, but it will not last. Once you have satisfied your ego, you will find other things to boost your ego. Responsibility may bring you somewhere, but you will feel extremely tired and eventually leave. But those who loved this sport with an undying love never find doing anything related with cheerleading a chore and they will strive for another level up. If you find yourself not achieving the result you want, maybe you have not fell in love with this sport yet. Search for your passion for cheerleading and make sure it is sustainable.

Do read up about Ochi’s take about having passion. Click here

NO2. Willingness to Learn

He felt that willingness to learn has to be on the top of everyone’s list if they wish to go far as a cheerleader. Knowledge, skills, techniques improves and evolves very quickly and rapidly, if you are not willing to learn, you will soon find yourself stagnant and out dated. There should not be any excuses anymore nowadays in this era of information. If you are willing to learn, there is always a way.

With XWonder’s courtesy, he actually wrote the below passage and he would like to share with us an example, of how one can go all out to learn.

Below is written by him

‘Ken Lim, most serious cheerleaders will know him now, 2 times National champions with Wildcards Cheerleading Team, was not always as well known as he is now. Ken used to be a nobody in cheerleading, a cheerleader that no one knew and would thought he would ever become a National Champion. Ken epitomises the true meaning of willingness to learn.

The first time I met Ken was in NP. Ken was still in TP Blazers back then. I remembered that I shared, showed and taught him a few things that day, and after that day, he continued to follow up with us, and is even willing to travel after school all the way from Tampines to Boon Lay just to spend some time with us, just to learn something from us, the undisputed reigning champions then. I believed that was also the reason why I met him all the way at NP too, because of his willingness to learn and to take that a step further, going all out of the way to learn. Without first having the willingness to learn, one will never go out of his comfort level to learn from someone else. Ken did not restrict his learning only when he was around, but also constantly stayed in touched over the internet, msn chat etc. He would always ask for advice and opinions. This showed again if one is willing to learn, nothing can stop them, especially now in this high tech information age. Later on he proceed on to joining Wildcards and take his learning to another level, to the championship level, to practice what you learned.

Though there are many thoughts about how a cheerleader should conduct himself when it comes to learning, and especially learning from another team, but we shall leave that for discussion another time. End of the day, willingness to learn is always a good quality and trait to have; though other qualities also defines a person’s character too.’

NO.3 Down to Earth, Realistic, One step at a time

Many people know of our local Singapore Cheer Idol, XWonder and can guess that he had to put in a lot of hard work to reach this stage. Many are eager to ask him for advice on how to improve on their techniques and skills. But has anyone ever ask about the exact process he’s been through? I did and I will share with you all now.

Many people would laugh or take it as a joke when he tell them that he did nothing but elevators, elevators extension, elevator pops, elevator this and that for the first 2 years of his cheerleading journey. He and his teammates, did not even call it elevators back then, it was called double base. As the name suggest, it is always 2 base plus 1 back spot lifting a flyer. Partner stunts, or single base which they prefer to call it back then was something very rare and hard to do. This was because they had lack of information and help back then, of course, it was not till they went all out and even overseas to get them. Most people now would have quit cheer if the coaches asked them to just do elevators for 2 long years. Though now we must say that it is not necessary to spend 2 years doing just elevators, but XWonder was really glad that he did back then. During those 2 years, it really did help setting up his foundation very strongly, of how to use proper momentum, how to use proper strength and how to coordinate with a fellow base.

Now things are different, it would be unwise to just focus on elevators, but he would like to use the above example to illustrate to people the importance of proper basics first. It may be very tempting to try high level partner stunts when you see others doing them, but one should ask themselves, “Have I done enough basics? Are my basic techniques strong enough?” Talking about elevators may not resonate with the younger generation now, then how about we talk about toss to hands. If you cannot get your toss to hands right, do not even think about going for the toss cupie.

Different individuals may have different learning curve, some may start fast and wane later, some may start slow but boom later on. Whichever stage you are at, always clock enough “mileage” before you move on to the next step. XWonder personally must have toss over 10,000 times before he dare say he can do toss to hands, or before going for the toss extension. So if you are stuck at doing full up cupie, make sure you go 1 level down and do 10,000 proper full up extensions first. Always remember taking one step a time, down to earth doing repetitions after repetitions is the key to success in sports and cheerleading is no exception.

NO.4 All rounded team player

In XWonder’s opinion, a good cheerleader, must be able to give values to the team. Cheerleading is not only about partner stunts, it includes gymnastics, dance, spirit, and etc. While mastering the art of one, good cheerleaders strive to excel in others as well, and not surrendering to the fate that they are just not meant to do partner stunts, or not meant to do gymnastics, or not meant to do high basket tosses. Many aspects of cheerleading have been neglected or ignored by younger generation and that include things such as choreography, music mixing learning to be a coach too.

For Singapore cheerleading scene to boom, we would require more talents and committed players to move up the level and start coaching teams.

NO.5 Build good relationship among and between team

He felt that the ability to manage relationship is not only a quality one must have in cheerleading, but also a must have quality in life. Everyone has different personality, characteristics, values, strength and weaknesses, not everyone may see eye to eye and agree on the same thing and this uniqueness of each individuals is what that usually give rise to arguments, “online wars”, bad mouthing each other, strains between players, coaches and between teams. He feels that the better man does not have to win every single argument or war, the better man will learn to take a step back. What is the point of winning an argument and then losing a friend or teammate, or straining relationships? A lot of times our actions also might be an eyesore to certain people. We all need to learn what should be said and what should be done at a particular time and particular places. In his opinion, one will never go as far as you could have without the help and blessing of fellow cheerleaders. I’m always glad that felt blessed that I have a group of friends and teammates who supported my decision to move on and pursue what I really wanted. That is to improve and to achieve something and leave a legacy behind where my descendants would talk about after my departure.

If you had made some enemies along the way, try to make peace with them and start paying attention to your speech and actions in future. In his entire journey as a cheerleader, nothing causes more problems than what comes out of people’s mouth and the actions their hands and legs do. Usually some older cheerleaders like himself only realised this important point much later in their cheerleading career, but by then it may become very difficult to turn back time and reverse the damage that was already done along the way even if you want to. So young cheerleaders, do take this advice and start building better relationships with your fellow teammates, coaches of your team as well as with other teams.

Both XWonder and I would strongly recommend everyone to read the book “How to win friends and influence people”. It is a book that taught us how to relate with people better and brought our respective career to another level higher.

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