Lets All Brainstorm: More Cheerleaders

Discussion in 'Discussing the Cheerleading Industry' started by TheCheerDiamond, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. TheCheerDiamond

    TheCheerDiamond Cheer Stalker

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    I just had a amazing idea:


    I think if more girls joined cheerleading, the better. And I decided to go around and talk to girls about cheerleading. Most of them said "but I can't do a split" I think if more girls knew about cheerleading, (and that you don't need a split to be a cheerleader) the sport would become more and more popular. One of my friends told me to "create a website for cheerleaders and non cheerleaders to learn more about the sport. or for them to get tips on skills, or get advice" and I think thats a great idea. I really want to take part in the cheerleading community and raise awareness about cheerleading. Rather its recreation cheerleading, middle school cheer, or all star I think cheerleading is an amazing sport to be apart of. So what do you think about me creating a website about cheer? Yes? No? Please tell me!!

    Thanks!
    Emmi



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  2. CoachTamara

    CoachTamara Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    Way to attract more cheerleaders to the sport: lower the cost.
     
  3. Just-a-Mom

    Just-a-Mom Best Overall Female Newbie

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    Cater to older kids more. Meaning 12 and over, minimum. Yes, middle school and high school age kids can join and get on a team, but there almost never seems to be tumbling classes for kids that need basic level 1-2 tumbling that aren't 8 and under. A 14 year old is not going to take a class with a bunch of 8 year olds. So they stay on either a lower level team they don't want to be on with kids way younger than them, or on a higher level team they don't belong on (and spend every day being reminded that they are the weakest link of the chain).

    There are sooooooooooo many kids in middle and high school that are dying to get involved in some kind of sport but don't because they know that nowadays you have to start by the time you're 5 or you're never going to be with kids your age (which is why most kids would want to do something - to get involved with more kids their age). There's no place for them to go and be with kids their age and beginner level.

    Most gyms are jumping up and down trying to lure level 5 athletes to their gym so they can get that necessary worlds team. I think if I owned a gym I'd also be at every middle and high school around telling those kids that we have classes and teams specifically geared towards kids who've never done any type of cheer or gymnastics before.

    And yes, the costs are too high. But that's all youth activities it seems. The powers that be have certainly figured out that parents will pay any price for their kids.

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  4. TheCheerDiamond

    TheCheerDiamond Cheer Stalker

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    Exactly. I'm 12 and just got into cheer. I almost quit the thought of doing it because I didn't want to be in a group with little kids. There aren't alot of classes for girls who are my age that want to get involved in all star cheer. :(


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  5. Just-a-Mom

    Just-a-Mom Best Overall Female Newbie

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    My cp was 13 when she started. We never found classes - she j7st had to tumble with 8 year olds. :confused:

    I really don't understand it because it sure isn't like there isn't a market for it. Lots of kids don't decide they want to do a sport when they're younger. I know LOTS of kids in the 12-15 age range that would live to start something but can't find any beginner level activities. This is true in all sports I think.

    Gym owners: They're not just going to show up on your doorstep if they think they're too old. The money is there, you just have to go get it.

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  6. TheCheerDiamond

    TheCheerDiamond Cheer Stalker

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    Exactly. The reason I don't tumble at a cheer gym is because I'm embarrassed that I'm 12 and don't have a back handspring. :/ I tumble at a gymnastics gym with people who are older than me and beginners too.


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  7. krush-kara

    krush-kara I make my own voiceovers

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    Lucky for me, this sort of thing exists in Australia (and other countries I believe?). A lot of gyms around where I live offer Open Level 1/2 teams, which is great when you start the sport at 19 and have little to no skills :) 20 and STILL trying to get my BHS :)
     
  8. SarahS

    SarahS Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    My idea for bringing in more kids: make the entire tiny division exhibition, and make the top age for tinies 6. This will do several things for the sport:

    1) It will bring kids in at a lower cost point - many competitions have a lower (or no) fee for exhibition teams. Additionally, with non-competitive teams, this will likely require less practice time (seriously, cp's competitive tiny team practiced 2.5 hours twice per week for most of last season) which will reduce costs for gyms and will possibly reduce tuition rates for tiny teams (although I know tiny teams are kind of "loss leaders" for many gyms already, in terms of tuition revenue).

    2) It will allow coaches to focus on the two things most important in driving a life-long love of the sport: fun and skill development. If tiny teams are non-competitive, games can be played at practice, kids can try all different stunting positions, tumbling can be fun and focus on developing basic skills before pushing for level one skills when it can be argued that most tiny bodies are not physically developed enough for back/front walkovers. I am SURE that many gyms already focus their tiny teams on these fronts, however, making the entire division exhibition will allow other gyms to refocus on priorities that, arguably, should already be at the forefront of coaches' minds.

    3) Focusing on fun, skill development and lower costs at the beginning of an athlete's "cheer life" will drive more kids/families to the sport and likely will set up a broader base for future athletes. Today's tinies are going to be your senior team members in less than ten years. If you take a long-term perspective, focusing on bringing in more tinies (and developing them properly) by creating the rule to make them exhibition only and age 3-6 will build your business probably more than any other single rule change. Sure, you could argue that this should be an individual decision to be made by business owners, but then you end up with gyms that take competitiveness to the extreme and completely kill kids' love for the sport. I really and truly wish that there would be a bigger push to make tiny teams *less* competitive, rather than more.
     
  9. SharkDad

    SharkDad Most Positive, Best Parent '12 Staff Member National Champion

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    why do you think there are not enough cheerleaders?

    There are an estimated 4 million in all forms of cheer. There are an estimated 30-40 million kids in all sports. It is one of the largest sports for kids in the country.

    There is a problem with the lack of structure that you can consistently attend competitions and only have a few teams in your division.
     
  10. BrettMiddleton

    BrettMiddleton They call me Susie

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    That's a good point, cheerleading feels small because the competitions are so widely divided and squads average sizes are in the 15-20 person range; but when you look at the sport as a whole its massive. Just go look at the USASF member gyms list, I work for Rebel Athletic in the Minnesota and Wisconsin region (which isn't as big into cheer as areas like Texas) and there are still 20-30 all stay gyms here. It's a growing sport and probably will continue to grow.

    Having said that I do like the idea of encouraging ages 12-15 to join the sport and learn in a welcoming environment where they aren't stuck with much younger kids, that gives off the wrong impression.
     
  11. Official OWECheer

    Official OWECheer Most likely to post anywhere

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    Let the parents say AMEN.
     
  12. BrettMiddleton

    BrettMiddleton They call me Susie

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    I've been thinking about this a LOT lately, and I know this discussion was going on some time ago...but ultimately isn't the best way to attract kids to the sport of cheerleading to emphasize the big picture? By that I mean find what cheerleading does best, and what it contributes to the lives of those involved in it, and make sure we build that up. I would suggest that Cheerleading builds character and determination as much, or more so, than any other sport and we should focus on that. It will make more parents want to get involved, and will better the kids that cheer. Also, it would help if the path after All-Star cheer was defined more clearly than 1. Cheer in College 2. Cheer in a professional sport...or maybe coach/run a gym? Kids that cheer should be able to turn their experiences into something that leads to a bright (and financially supportive) future.
     
  13. oncecoolcoachnowmom

    oncecoolcoachnowmom Bestest Newbie '14

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    Yes to the focus on lower levels!

    Your Minis/Tiny/Youth/Junior 1 are the LIFEBLOOD of your business.

    Seriously.

    Therefore, your promotional materials/social media accounts/etc. NEED to feature your options and teams at those lower levels.

    I cannot tell you how many gym's social media accounts consistently feature nothing but Level 5 or Worlds Team related information. Or "Come join us! Our Junior 5 was a Summit Champion!"

    The average interested parent does not have a Level 5 kid sitting at home gym-less. She's probably got a 10 year old who kind of wants to cheer but has like, a cartwheel.

    With that in mind:

    Got a Half Year Prep team for Level 1 that's "no experience required?" Post about it.

    Got a "New to Cheer!" junior class? That's worth sharing.

    Your Junior 1 highly successful? That's important!

    Those are the things that draw NEW and/or younger kids to the sport. Those kids gain skills and grow within your program!
     
  14. FlexyTumblerMom

    FlexyTumblerMom I'm an announcer on CBS for Worlds (or should be)

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    I feel that gyms around me are actually very welcoming to older kids who have never tumbled before (pretty much every gym's web site that I looked at this summer had a big line about "even if you have never cheered or did gymnastics before, do not let that discourage you as we have a place for all skill levels and ages" on their tryout page.) And older kids who join these junior and senior level 1-2 programs do start getting skills like handsprings, etc. quickly and it is a good thing.

    I think what turns people/parents off is the degree of commitment that's expected so quickly - like the kid comes in, trys a class or two, likes it, and the next thing they know they are presented w/ a sign your life away contract about traveling all over the place, manatory practices, etc. w/ four figure penalties for quitting mid-year. It's very intimidating to parents who's kids have never done a competitive activity before, and when the kid is new to it, and no one is ever 100% sure how they are going to feel about something new 4-6 months in, I bet a lot of people decide against it.

    Half year teams help w/ this though, so I think if more gyms did those, along w/ year round recreational classes, it would help.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
  15. oncecoolcoachnowmom

    oncecoolcoachnowmom Bestest Newbie '14

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    ^^^^^Yes.

    I think that what gyms are starting to realize is that NOT EVERYONE HAS ALL YEAR TO DEVOTE TO ONE CHILD'S ACTIVITY.

    All Stars (as much as I adore it) is incredibly time consuming and does not have a concrete season. It's all year.

    It requires a lot of personal sacrifices on the parts of families.

    Ex: If Becky wants to do all star cheer, she practices T/Th from 6-8 PM. All year. That means Mom or Dad is booked during that time. Which means Little Brother can't do any T or Th night activities. It becomes a FAMILY commitment.

    It also ties up Becky's schedule. She can't do Spring Play because it opens in March on a competition weekend. Dance? Forget it.

    However, if the gym offers a HALF-YEAR team that goes from say, May-December and practices Wed nights 6-8, she can do Spring Play, mom and dad are only booked up one night a week, other siblings have room to participate in their own activities, and there is a definite ENDING.

    She might end up loving cheer and wanting to do a whole-year travel team. Or not. But there is a "just trying it out" half-year option available so parents aren't asked to go "whole hog" with such a new activity.

    In summary, not everybody got time for dat and gyms need to be aware.