Competition usa3

Published on April 17th, 2014 | by Kim Conley

Team USA Day 3: Mental Strength

I’m back after another long day of practices! I think the theme of today’s practices was definitely “mental strength.” It’s relatively easy to do each skill in the routine by itself, but the true test comes when you start putting elements of the routine together.

We started by warming up each skill in the routine. Then, it was time for sections. First, we did all of the pyramids and baskets together. I got super excited because the first time we did this, everything hit and my confidence skyrocketed! Coed was given a break to come spot our pyramids, and showing them what we had been working on, and doing it well, felt great!

After practicing our pyramids and baskets a few more times, we moved on to stunts and tumbling. We started with tumbling through to tucks, which went very well. But next it was time for what everyone dreaded the most – tumbling full out. This is where mental strength is most important, especially for me. The first time we did it was a little rough, but it was then that we switched our mental focus. Tony gave us a pep talk and explained that we must be mentally strong for this part of the routine because it is the only part of the routine where we rely solely on ourselves. As we lined up, I knew it was going to be difficult, but I had no doubt in my teammates’ abilities. The amount of mat talk and encouragement coming from everyone on the team as the music started was crazy! Even though everyone had their own tumbling to worry about, they still took the time to cheer on someone else. In this moment I could feel our team come together. Our coaches purposely planned on ending our last practice of the day with full out tumbling because they knew it was something we needed to mentally conquer. If we could do it at the end of the day when we were tired, then we could do anything!

usa3 studyAfter practice, I headed to the study room that USA Cheer nicely provided for us. The study hours really help us to stay caught up with school while training for Team USA. It encourages me to get all of my schoolwork done because everyone around me is doing the same.

After getting some studying done, some of my teammates and I headed to the hot tub to relax. We talked with some members of the Coed team, and it sounds like their routine is coming along great. I have only seen a few parts of their routine so far, but I am so excited to see the rest!

Check back for more updates from my journey with Team USA as we prepare to go for the gold!

-Sam Smith

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About the Author

Managing Editor of American Cheerleader Magazine. Former cheerleader at The Ohio State University and UCA Staffer.

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