“Cheerleaders aren’t athletes! All you guys do is walk around and shout to the crowd!” Sound familiar? Well, maybe that was true in 1898, but today’s cheerleading requires significantly more skills on multiple platforms. These skills need to be practiced and perfected. The only way to do that is to be an athlete.
Cheer has grown significantly over the past century. It wasn’t until almost 100 years after cheerleading began that the term “all-star cheer” started becoming a common term. The very first all-star competition aired on ESPN in 1982. The Cheerleading World’s Competition wasn’t even around until 2004. Cheer has become increasingly more competitive all around. Cheerleaders are now required to be physically able to hit elite stunts gracefully, build complex pyramids and tumble perfectly. The demands of cheerleading increase every season, earning cheerleaders everywhere the title of athlete. So the next time someone tells you cheerleading shouldn’t be a sport, remind them of these main points:
Cheer demands athletic ability. The amount of time, dedication, preparation and energy it takes to participate in all elements of cheer takes
Keeping a team together takes a lot of strength,effort, time and love, both physically and emotionally. Here are some ways to help your team be the best they can be!
Dare to Cheer. Cheer is a daring sport. A cheerleader spends a great deal of time with his or her team. Practices can be five days a week for two to three hours. That’s a lot of time! Whether the team is small or large, it is important to respect one another. Team building is as important, if not more important, as any other aspect of cheer. When there is a divide between team members, it can be difficult to prosper. You may not have to like every member in your organization, but they are your teammates. Working together is the key to becoming successful and improving overall sportsmanship and athleticism.
Save the Drama for Your Performance. When spending large amounts of time with any one group, it is inevitable that disagreements are going to happen. Avoid the drama. It’s entirely unnecessary! Leave it at home. It only causes delays to achieving what you want to be. You’ll never get there by turning your back on your team, putting another cheerleader down, or by not showing dedication at practices and events. If your team is divided, because of skills, drama or a combination of the two, remember the essential foundation for a team: respect
All Eyes on You. Whether you think so or not, there are members of your organization that look up to you, and are watching your every move.That includes your attitude and how you treat your teammates. Remember where you were when you started. Even if you were great and have extensive background in cheer, there was someone who showed you the moves and ultimately helped to shape you into the cheerleader you are today. Be that person for those who may not yet be on your level. If you want to be the best, it starts with building the rest. Respect those who are just starting out. It’s a chance to create something great! Never make anyone feel as though they don’t belong. They are there for the same reasons you are. To become great. To compete. To be the best. Help them get there! Your team is only as strong as its weakest link.
Build Your Team Up Using Positive Reinforcement. Learn from one another to build both your strengths and weaknesses. Pulling together and learning from each other is a great way to help build bonds and maintain a steady stream of constant hard work. One of the ways that Carmine Silano helped his team grow was to form a huge team circle, and each person or group would go in the middle of the practice and perform the skill that they worked on that day until it was executed perfectly. The rest of the team would cheer, yell, scream and encourage the performing individual or group to hit their skills. It was one of the most effective team-camaraderie drills he used.
Participate in Activities with Each Other Outside of Cheer. Whether it’s a movie night, going to dinner or a sleep over, spending time having fun together is important to build your team’s relationship with one another. Getting to know your teammates on a more personal level will allow you to understand them more. You’ll find out things you may not have known about someone. You may even meet your new best friend!
Get Going. If you’re just starting out in cheer, congratulations! Making a squad is a great accomplishment and should be celebrated. As a new cheerleader, it is important for you to have a great deal of dedication. So you may not have the skills needed just yet to be where you want to be. That’s okay! Time, hard work and lots of practice will get you there. Seeking help from more experienced members will get you there. Working outside of practices is essential to build yourself up. Don’t do just the minimal. Exceed expectations and constantly push yourself to be better.
Accepting Criticism. The world of cheer can be a grueling place. You need to have a thick skin. If you cannot accept criticism from your teammates, how will you take it from coaches? If you can’t accept criticism from coaches, what happens if you lose a competition? Nobody likes being told that they’re wrong, but cheerleading is not all sunshine and rainbows. There is a lot of critical hard work that’s put into each and every member of the team. Not one top all-star cheerleader woke up one day and started throwing top skills out on the floor. They worked hard to get there.Remember that you have a large support system of teammates, coaches, parents and friends. Their criticism is meant to push you even further and ultimately shape you into a better athlete.
Even if you think you don’t need practice, you do. Maybe you have a few more skills than the group you’re placed in at the moment. However, you were placed in that group for a reason. Work it! Be a leader. If you have some skills, show the others. Cheerleading is not a sport where you can just take a break. Have someone critique you and learn from your mistakes. Ask yourself what you can do to become better. Ask your coach at the end of every practice what needs the most work. You should constantly be pushing yourself. Constant perseverance will make you and your team better and stronger overall.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It can be quite frustrating when you are unable to get a skill. There’s pressure from coaches, teammates and sometimes parents as well. If you need some extra attention, ask your coach to show you how to perfect your skills. If you feel that you don’t understand the way the coach is showing you, work with a vet to learn the skills you need the most help with. Sometimes a teammate can be more relatable and be able to show you a more effective way of approaching a skill. This is not saying you’re a failure, or that you aren’t any good. It’s a smart way of approaching something you’re dedicated to perfecting. Doing this will earn the respect of your coaches and teammates alike. It shows that you’re willing to do everything you can to become better.Remember to never give up and to have as much fun as possible!
Making music is no simple task. It takes time, thought, energy, creativity and effort from all different spectrums of musical talent to put together one mix. Producers have heard and been through many different aspects of in the industry from all different types of clientele. Production companies work on a large schedule. Certain requests can throw off the flow of production. Here are some of the top requests that producers have received:
1. Saying “Hi I need music now! I compete in 3 days.” Making this request may be possible, but it completely throws off the production schedule. It is quite discourteous to coaches who have placed their orders on schedule. In addition, this type of request neglects the producer’s schedule as well as the company’s turnaround time It’s a bad start to creating a mix.
2. Telling a producer that you have no preferences and making lots of changes after production has been completed. Creating a mix when a client has no preferences is literally taking a stab in the dark. A producer can only create so much content without guidance from the client. They have no idea as to what direction you want to go in or the sound you’re looking to achieve. If you want a fierce, hard-hitting mix with lots of sounds, say so. If you hate rappers, mention that. Don’t worry about “offending” anyone. Producers would rather you make a point of you telling them your preferences beforehand so they can create the sound you’re looking for. The best way to do this is to provide at least three songs, give an example of a mix you would like emulated or a type of sound you would like to achieve.
Always check beforehand on the company’s editing policy when creating your mix. Many production companies charge lots of extra fess in order to make changes. Some will even flat out say no! There are also companies that have editing fess that are inclusive in your mix. Be sure you know how to go about receiving an edit if needed on your mix.
3. “I want it my $300 mix to sound like the $1,000 mix; I’ll pay you after I hear it.” This demand tells the producer that you have no idea what you want but have an idea that probably won’t work, want to hear it regardless and then not make a purchase. It is a hard –learned lesson for many. If you are on a budget, there are many options that still allow you to have a great mix without reaching outside of your budget. However, if you have a very specific idea, it is unwise and unlikely possible to create something from a much smaller scale. For example, taking a mix that’s already pre-mixed online and asking for it to be rearranged to sound like the Stingrays or Panthers mix is not going to happen. They are in two completely separate fields of play. Although each are great in their own ways, there are stark differences in voices overs, production and customization that makes the mixes different from each other. The more customization a mix has, the more unique it sounds, the more vocalists it features, the more the mix will cost. To put it in perspective, the Panthers mix is a $1500 mix. Know your limitations and what you have available. A good production company will be happy to assist you with selecting a mix that is right for you and your budget.
4. “I don’t have 8 Count sheets, here’s 25 video clips of different parts in no particular order” Videos are a terrific tool for production. However, presentation is everything. Videos should be shot in a clear and concise manner, labeled and sent in the order of the routine. Keep in mind that an 8 Count Sheet is like the producer’s road map. The videos are like the voice on a GPS. Both are great and useful mechanisms, but when put together it can create a world of difference and clarity. 8 Count sheets layout a routine that the producer has it written out in front of them. Videos allow them to see anything that might be missing from the 8 Count Sheets as well as helping to clarify placement for things such as sound effects and transitions. Sending over clear videos in conjunction with an 8 Count Sheet will avoid edits and misinterpretation of the routine.
5. The theme is not cohesive with the way it is intended to sound. This means taking a theme such as “family” or “days of the week” and asking for it to sound “fierce.” The music chosen for these themes can be made to fit into the theme, but it will sound as the theme suggests. There is not really a way to take a light-hearted theme and make it so it sounds like something it is not.
The first day of cheer season starts, it all seems to just fly by. The importance of having everything on hand is quite important. However, it cannot be stressed enough that using your cell phone to play music at a competition can cause serious consequences to your team’s routine and reputation.
As convenient as it may be to have everything in one place, using your cell phone can be detrimental to your team’s success at a competition. There are so many small things that can make a routine take a turn for the worse. Text messages, phone calls and any other notification systems that you may have installed on your cell can cause a major setback in the routine.
Notifications will cause the music to pause momentarily, playing the notification sound in the middle of the music. Text messages may cause either a sound or a dramatic drop in the music, or both. If someone accidently moves your phone, the music may be shuffled to another track, a common feature on many devices. Phone calls will stop the music entirely, leaving your call ringing in the middle of an open arena in front of thousands of people. Battery life
is another issue. If your phone has low battery, there may be an indication sound that will interrupt the music. The phone itself may even run out of battery completely, in which case the music would stop suddenly and no longer continue playing.
Don’t get stuck being the team that gets noticed for a beeping frog noise in the middle of the music instead of the hard work your team has put in all season long. Although you may be allowed the opportunity to come back and perform at a later time, the chances of the routine running smoothly are highly unlikely. Your team will have to pick up and begin again from the exact moment that the glitch in the music occurred. This can cause major confusion for the team. The judges may also not remember the earlier part you’ve performed previously. Not only that, but by the time your team is scheduled to perform again, the chances of them being watched with as many fans is not nearly as likely. You want your team to come to competition ready and prepared to perform a fierce routine, and be remembered for it. Below are some alternate ways you can store your music and avoid any complications:
Although a seemingly outdated concept, CDs provide the venue with a hard copy of your music. Make multiple copies to ensure that you have the music on hand when ready. Store them in a safe place with a reliable person such as a coach or parent as well as yourself. Check to make sure each copy is in working order before storing them away. Play them again before competition as well. It is a cost-effective and efficient way to be sure that your music will play with no interruption.
Flash Drives (USB Keys):
You can store a large amount of data on these devices. Almost all newer sound systems are hooked up to a computer which will support USB drives (or USB Keys). Make sure your music is in MP3 format, which is much more compatible than some free formats like “ogg” or “aiff”. Simply transfer the music to the drive. Store the drive in a safe location. Store the device in something you know for sure you will have on you at competition, like your keychain, lanyard or backpack. Having two flash drives amongst two separate people is ideal as well in case one is forgotten.
Although there can be complications with MP3 players as well, there are certainly less issues that can occur than with a cell phone. Make sure the MP3 player plays the music properly before competition. Ensure that the device is fully charged, and that any shuffle settings are switched to off, in case the device gets moved or dropped during play time.
Take precaution when planning to pack your music. It is one of the most important elements of a routine. Your team worked hard to be there and earn their place at competition. Be remembered for all the right reasons. Make sure everyone notices your team’s hard work. Show the judges why you’re here today. Don’t use your cell phone to play your music! There are more important things to worry about. Go through competition having one less thing that can go wrong. Back it up, pack it and make sure it plays right. Take every precaution possible to ensure success at competition!!
Conditioning may seem like a pain in the butt at the end of a practice but it’s that pain in the butt that will give you the continuous kick you need to push harder and become a stronger cheerleader overall. Everyone wants to become a top tumbler and do impressive stunts at competition. It’s no secret what the best teams are doing. They incorporate conditioning into each and every one of their practices. Cheerleading is a sport that will never be easy. It’s your job to continue to push your boundaries in order to be unstoppable.
Think of conditioning as the foundation of a structure. You cannot build a great house without a strong foundation! Keep this idea in mind when doing your exercises. Although it may seem strenuous and tiring, it’s those moments that are crucial to building your body that much more. As you know, stunting and tumbling require a ton of physical strength. The only way to get to that point is by constantly pushing yourself further.
There are many ways to condition and strength train. If you’re just starting out, take about 10-15 minutes after each practice and devote it to non-stop conditioning. Gradually build up exercises each time. Conditioning should be a grueling and challenging process. You should be sore later! Make sure you are stretching and hydrating properly as well.
As Carmine Silano says, “The point is to take the limit you currently have and be able to sustain that limit for an extended period time. Make this limit the new norm, and create a new limit each time you condition”. You should never feel that conditioning and strength building is easy. If it’s easy, you are not working hard enough. Think of your favorite cheerleader. Why are they your favorite? Think of them hitting their pyramid 2:00 into their routine already. Do you think they got there by being lazy? Behind every great athlete is a core strength building routine that constantly is testing them and making them that much greater. Your goal should be to top the person you idolize. Be a leader, not a follower. Pave your own way and make people follow you.
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion” – Muhammad Ali
One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is “What songs will sound good in my Mix?” While everyone has their opinion as to what sounds good as well their own musical preferences, there are certain elements that we look for when selecting songs for our song library and to suggest to you when we are creating custom music.
Below are some points to consider when creating a mix:
• Most cheer music has a tempo around 144 BPM (Beats per Minute). For reference, this is the tempo of Cascada’s Everytime We Touch” and Bruno Mars’ “Marry You.” A great tool to help you practice at this tempo is a click-track (a metronome-style song that has a counting voice) which we offer for free upon request.
• When choosing a song, be aware that the tempo will likely be adjusted. If the song is a non-cheer tempo (e.g. 90bpm or 170bpm), it will not sound as it is intended to after time-stretching because it will have either been sped up or slowed down too much to match the cheer tempo.
• Sticking to one generation when selecting songs helps to make the mix flow smoother. Older music does not have the same sonic quality as newer songs have. Also, the contexts are not aligned when there are large generational gaps between music choices.
• Try to have at least two song selections in mind when creating a mix so that the music producer has an idea of the music you prefer. Music producers can always assist you with making selections based on your preferences.
• Voice Overs emphasize your team and make an impact on the judges. Be sure to include as much information as possible when sending over your team information so the producer is able to create the most unique Voice Overs possible. Some ideas include:
o Organization Name
o Goals( i.e going to Worlds)
o Accomplishments( i.e Six Time National Champions)
• Producers can turn seemingly bland information into exciting voice overs the team can be proud of! For example, the information “red, black and gold/tigers” can be turned into “ The red means power and we don’t play mice, that’s the blood of the tiger and we’ve earned these strips.”
• Blending “I’m Every Woman” with aggressive rap voice overs makes an audience feel disconnected rather than engaged. Captivate your audience by ensuring your Voice Over phrases that are memorable and relatable.
• Leave it to the pros. If you are not sure what to say, not a problem! Vocalists love making your Voice Overs.
• Occasionally, teams will choose to have themed music. When choosing a theme for your routine, be sure it is not overly obscure. Judges may scratch their heads trying to figure out “themes” based on topics such as time, war or weather. A theme should be blatantly obvious to the audience. As cute as a “Days of the Week” theme may be for a young group, the songs used to create this theme probably have no business being in cheerleading music. A mix made filled with The Beatles’ “8 Days a Week”, The Mama’s and the Papas’ “Monday, Monday” and “The Happy Days Theme Song” will not produce the energy and sound needed for cheer.
• Don’t try to fit random songs into a mix just because they are relevant to your theme. The judges will not be notified that you have a theme and may interpret the attempt as bad music. If you are struggling to fit songs into a theme, they should probably just be left out.
• Have someone outside of your organization hear the selections for your themed mix. Can they follow along? Is the theme clear? If not, there may be something to consider changing. Remember, the judges do not know your organization or your music. The more straightforward, the better.
• Obscenity is another area to avoid when choosing songs. Not only can a large deduction from competition judges occur due to crudity within lyrics, but it does not create a good overall image for your organization.
• Dancing in the “grey area” is not wise either. Everyone understands the implications of the song “Bang Bang.” Most parents and judges do not view it as cute!
• Don’t tarnish your good reputation with a song does not reflect the values your organization stands for. Leave your audience with lasting impression by making a selection that you want them to associate you with.
Most of you have heard about – and even tried – 8CountMixer by now, but there are a few worthy features that are overlooked by many. Here are just a few that can really make a difference.
When creating a mix, the first four eight counts of the routine should use one of the “Intro” tracks. This can be found under the Music category. “Transition” clips – also found under the music category – are musical backgrounds that contain no songs, and are meant to be put behind voice overs or used as a cheer section.
Every routine needs a strong ending boom! Find this audio clip under the Music category. Ending booms can add fullness and round out a mix to show the completion of a routine. Choose from various sounds to create a lasting impression.
Share your mix with your team before purchasing using social share buttons. One of the largest advantages of 8CountMixer is that you can practice with your mix and make unlimited edits all before purchasing!
Sound more elite by using our premium and custom voice overs featuring our male and female rappers. We have everything you need all in one place. Choose from different male and female voices, various phrases, and much more! Explore our vast Voice Over library and add some vibrancy to your mix.
Don’t know where to begin? Load a template from the File menu and modify an existing routine!
Make the mix unique to your team. You can also add effects such as: Character: This is a vocal effect that will make the recording sound anywhere from thin and crunchy to full- bodied. Delay: This option allows for an echo effect. The higher the delay is, the longer it takes the “echo” to play.
So go give it a shot and incorporate these tips into your next mix! Click here to get started!
You’ve made requests and we’ve answered!! Coming this week to our Premade Mixes, Quick Start Routines and 8 Count Mixer are the following songs:
Fifth Harmony – BO$$
Ariana Grande – Bang Bang
Charli XCX – Boom Clap
Clean Bandit – Rather Be
Taylor Swift – Shake It Off
Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass
Keri Hilson – Pretty Girl Rock
Little Mix – Salute
David Guetta – Where Them Girls At
Iggy Azalea – Bounce
Kanye West- All of the Lights
Madonna – Girl Gone Wild
Havanna Brown – Warrior
Iggy Azalea – Black Widow
Pussycat Dolls – When I Grow Up
If you have any requests we’ll always take them into consideration and do our best to ensure the broadest selection for you to choose from :). Feel free to call or e-mail in any requests for songs you would like to see appear in our library!
Use 8-Count Mixer to drag-and-drop songs, voice overs and sound effects onto an 8-count sheet and hear the mix instantly! Then, use the coupon code during check out to save 20% off your mix!
Copy and Paste the code below, and use it during Check-Out! The code is:
Offer expires September 15th 2014
Start your mix today, save it to your account and continue at your convenience. Bring the mix to practice and make unlimited changes all before buying! When you’re ready, use your coupon code and save 20%!
Please note this coupon code only works for 8-CountMixer mix purchases. It does not apply to other premade, quick-start or custom music products.