Progressive Cheerleading

Everybody always wants to be the best in anything they do. It’s rare that people want to put in the hard work AND time it takes to be the best. 

Of course when you watch a team such as Top Gun Large Coed, Brandon Senior Black, or Team Bangkok and you think “oh that looks so easy, I could totally do that”. Well, professionals are supposed to make their art look easy. I watch baseball pitchers in awe over how fast they can throw the ball. I’m sure I can throw the ball 5 maybe 6 miles per hour. But I realize that dedication and a lot of practice and training is probably what got that person to where they they are today. 

Just like most things in life, cheerleading is progressive based. What do I mean by progressive? I’ll explain. You know the phrase “you have to crawl before you walk”? Well as a parent, I know that not all babies walk at the same time and some babies don’t even crawl, but we can all agree, it’s a process. A baby has to become strong enough to hold its head up, and then has to have enough core strength to sit up, and eventually make his or her way to a standing position. After a baby has mastered standing, the walking becomes trial and error. Knowing how to move their legs in a certain way, learning how to keep balance, it’s all in the process of learning how to walk, whether you realize it or not. 

How does this relate to cheerleading? I’m glad you asked. Let’s start with tumbling. Tumbling in cheerleading has evolved dramatically over the last 5-7 years, but unfortunately what hasn’t evolved is the knowledge of tumbling. “Tumbling coaches” have been known to start out their athletes by teaching them back handsprings on within their first few lessons of classes which is both wrong and dangerous. One of the very first skills to be taught to any given athlete should be a forward roll. And not just flipping your torso over your head, but a correct forward roll.  Starting with your arms by your ears, keeping your legs together and standing up without the use of arms. Technique will always win over skill. 

The most useful skill in tumbling is the handstand. The reason why? A handstand is in a cartwheel, roundoff, back handspring, front handspring…I think you see where I’m going here. Just because you can kind of do a handstand and a janky cartwheel doesn’t mean you’re ready to move on to the next skill. Think of it like this, just because your child knows how to count to 10 doesn’t mean they know had to add and subtract. Right? I see parents and some coaches push their athletes hard to learn tumbling skills that they are not physically ready for. This is what leads to unnecessary injuries. Not only are athletes not ready due to lack of basic skills, but they also are not strong enough to do the elite skills. I’ve seen athletes who are attempting to do all these hard head over heel skills with absolutely no core strength whatsoever. Every athlete who attempts a back handspring should be able to hold a hollow body position for a minute. If we were not such a rush rush or comparative society, people would have no problem spending 2-3 hours OUTSIDE of practice, stretch, conditioning, taking private lessons to ensure they are safely and accurately progressing on their skills. 

Parents: Just because 5 year old “Mary” has a back handspring doesn’t mean your 11 year old “Sally” should have one. Take care of your athletes and let them progress at their own speed. 

Last and final thought. Think about the most powerful tumblers in our industry today…Angel Rice, Taryn Burke, Ashley Eichelberger, Jack Payne, Brandon Wu, AJ Singleton, Whitney Love and a plethora of others and I guarantee you they have one of a few things in common. They’re really hard workers, they started tumbling from the basics, they are very strong and conditioned, or they’re naturally talented. The naturally talented come few and far between, but those people either work hard and continue, or stay content and never grow as an athlete.
There is so much that I could cover about progression in the cheer world, but bottom line, you will not succeed if you do not take the steps needed to make a great athlete. 

 Thanks for reading! Follow me on twitter: @cheer_ology and Facebook: 


NCA Judges ARE fair!

Yes, I said it, and I will continue to stand by my word. As many of you know, the biggest Nationals in the nation happened this past weekend. If you happened to be on any form of social media, I’m sure you read the plethora of ignorant comments about how awful the judges are and how this sport is rigged. Let’s set one thing straight, just because you WANTED a team to win doesn’t mean they DESERVED to win. Whichever team won, won. Point. Blank. Period.

And who’s to say whether a team deserved to win or not? Those athletes worked SO incredibly hard to accomplish what they did. For you to take that away from them is rude and hurtful. How would you feel if you won worlds and you have a bunch of people saying another team deserved it? Of course you didn’t think of it that way. 

 For those of you who think the judges watch the routine and look at the team name on the uniform and whisper into the announcers ear who they THINK should win, have it allllll wrong. Anyone who thinks judges are biased are the people who would judge unfairly. Judges are professional, and there isn’t just ONE judge. I’ll give you a judging 101 lesson real quick. 

 There are usually 4 different types of judges at any given competition. The head judge, panel judge, rules judge, and deductions judge. Not one of these judges knows 100% what place any team is in due to how much goes into judging. If you’re still confused, I’ll explain a little further. 

Head Judge – This judge watches the routine and places the team into a specifc range based on what is put out on the floor. They don’t care how good or bad the skills are performed, they just need to know how many people or groups did the level (or non level) appropriate skills and places them in a range. It’s great that you have a standing back handpring, but if you’re in level 4 or 5, you’re not going to score as high as a team doing standing tucks, no matter how crappy they are.


Panel Judge – This judge is the one who gives the point scores. This is the judge who tells you what you need to improve on, and how you can score higher in the range that you are in. This judge can’t score any higher or lower than the range the head judge gives them. 

Rules Judge – This judge is watching for illegal stunts, tumbling, etc. Throughout the routine. This judge knows the levels and knows what is appropriate for each level.


Deductions Judge – This judge is watching for falls, touchdowns, bobbles, etc. This judge could care less that you did a double up, if you bobble or fall doing the double up, it’s a deduction. 

        Hopefully that clears things up. 

 People were SO upset that Top Gun won after they had 2 falls on day 2. I’m not sure if you watched day 1, but they hit day 1. Day 1 does mean something. They didn’t win by a lot, but because they did what they were supposed to do day 1, and they had a high raw score, that left room for error. I’m not saying everyone has to go out and try and throw extremely hard skills and fall because you will score higher, but they were good at the skills that they did and probably scored relatively high in execution.

Since everyone thinks the judges have it wrong because Cheetahs hit day 2 and OBVIOUSLY should have won…what about ACE Cheer Company? They hit zero deductions BOTH days and still got 4th. Why isn’t anyone complaining about that? Riddle me that one? Oh, probably because their RAW score didn’t match up to the teams ahead of them. But there’s NO WAY that a team could have dropped and won. With that theory all teams who hit should win. Every team in level 5 should do straight up libs as their elite, round-off back hanspring tucks as their tumbling pass, and single toe-touch to tuck as their jump sequence. It’s clean, it hits.

To make you feel more like cookie crumbs, what about this question…why isn’t anyone arguing about the placements of the special athlete division? Probably because you have no business judging them. They’re out there having a good time, and doing what they love! No difference between them and the worlds divisions. 

I’ve been hit with the “cheer is a subjective sport” crap. Guess what else is subjective? Gymnastics, ice-skating, diving, any sport that has a judge and not a referee. But for some reason, everyone involved in cheer thinks they are a judge because they prefer one team over the other. And this is one reason why cheer will NEVER be recognized as a sport. Parents, coaches, and athletes always have to put the blame on SOMEONE for why their team didn’t win. Nothing is ever fair in cheer. It’s all about the team name. If the issue is that bad, do something about it. Be the voice. Find out which judges are playing favorites. Stop complaining or stop cheering. I guarantee the same people who are complaining about “bad judging” are the SAME ones who are going to order the live stream of NCA next year and the year after that. 

 If we could come together as a cheer community, and not bash athletes, coaches, judges, whomever and become more family like, we will be able to weed out the fakes and phonies who like to have someone to blame all the time. Let’s stand up for our sport. Let’s make a difference and show everyone WHY we love our sport. 


Educational Cheerleading

I love everything about cheerleading and my goal in life is to make everyone that is a part of cheerleading, understand what it is all about. I want people to understand the athleticism, the politics, the music, the everything. I don’t know EVERYTHING about cheerleading, but I know a lot. I want to be an educator about the “sport” that I grew to love. The only reason I put sport in quotations is because it’s not considered a sport. Stay tuned for my blog and podcast about that topic!

I just spent over 77 hours in a span of 3 days judging almost 1,000 cheerleading teams. Most people would consider that stressful, boring, hard, or some other negative synonym to the aforementioned words, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I got to meet people who are just as passionate about cheerleading as I am and who can teach me as I go along.

Cheerleading is definitely part of my DNA, and as long as I can educate people whether it be by a blog, a podcast, or a presentation in front of a crowd, I will do it.

Anyone who is interested can check out the few podcasts I do have at or follow me on Twitter at cheer_ology.

P.S. This is what a cheer hangover does to you.

Injury Prevention in Cheerleading

Injury prevention is an effort to prevent or reduce the severity of bodily injuries caused by external mechanisms, such as accidents, before they occur. Injury prevention is a component of safety and public health, and its goal is to improve the health of the population by preventing injuries and hence improving quality of life. Injury prevention strategies cover a variety of approaches, many of which are classified as falling under the “3 E’s” of injury prevention: education, engineering modifications and enforcement/enactment. Some organizations have expanded the list to six E’s adding: evaluation, economic incentives and empowerment.

Risk of injury can be reduced by completing an effective warm up consisting of a heart raiser to get your pulse up, followed by sports specific dynamic stretches.

Doctors believe fatigue can be a contributing factor in sports injuries because it is more difficult for the body to protect itself when fatigued. Stopping an activity at the first sign of fatigue can prevent sports related injuries.

For more about preventing injuries, listen to my podcast at:


Cheer Athletics

Cheer Athletics, located in Plano, TX (near Dallas), Austin, TX, Frisco, TX and now Charlotte, NC, is one of the largest all-star cheerleading progam in the United States. CA has over 800 athletes and more than 28 teams at any given time. The owners of Cheer Athletics are Jody Melton, Angela Rogers (who are also the co-founders) and Brad Habermel. They have won 15 World Championships at the Cheerleading Worlds sponsored by USASF, and hundreds of local and national competitions, making them arguably the most accomplished program as well. In 2007, their owners and coaches were ranked number 1 in the country by American Cheerleader Magazine’s list of the 25 Most Influential People in All-Star Cheerleading. They have won a total of 70 National Titles from the National Cheerleaders Association and have 32 medals from the USASF Worlds.

California All Stars

Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve posted and published, but I’m back and about to talk about another famous gym.

California All Stars, originally established in San Diego, California, holds the most world titles out of any competitive cheer program in California. Since 2001 it has grown to house over 1000 athletes in 6 different locations.

To learn more about Cali Bullets check out my podcast

Thank you for your continued support.
Twitter: cheer_ology
Instagram: cherita.cheerology20140523-094129-34889658.jpg

Maryland Twisters

Time to discuss world renown gyms. I’ll be doing a series on gyms that are known thought the cheer world.

I’ll be starting the series off with Maryland Twisters from Glen Burnie, Maryland! The owner and president of this gym is Tara Cain. Between 2 locations they have 27 teams and over 500 athletes! Find out more about this wonderful gym in my podcast!

Thanks for your continued support and talk to you soon!

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