The teams who participate in the UCA College Nationals make us wonder, how do they do it? These teams seem perfect, with their flawless routines, in sync cheers and unimaginable stunts and tumbling. Aside from hours and hours of practice, in order to build programs like the top teams we interviewed, the cheerleaders go through extensive cardio conditioning, weight lifting and team building to be prepared for national competitions. AC talked to college teams and this is what we found out about how they train for competitions.
Most of the squads practice three to four days a week for two to three hours per session. Hofstra cheerleader Mariel Carbone says, “We don’t practice every day like some other teams, which means each minute of our practice counts. We work extremely hard from beginning to end.” When preparing for Nationals, teams kick it into high gear.
Cheerleaders start preparing for Nationals as early as possible. Lea Girard of the University of New Hampshire team says, “We begin working on our competition routine from day 1.” Training is intense, and includes 6 a.m. wake-up calls for early morning workouts, as well as team members doing conditioning on their own after practice.
As demanding as our sport is, there are different opinions on what is thought to be most challenging for a cheerleader. Some cheerleaders find the physical aspect to be the most difficult, while others think the mental preparation is tougher. When it comes to down time, the cheerleaders we asked said they relax in many different ways including composing poems and prayers, hanging out with teammates, or simply talking it out.
For the full story, check out page 66 in the October issue of AC!