Practice Like A Champion

How to Practice Like a Champion

Being Prepared for Practice

Practices are run with efficiency and planning.  Our coaches spend time planning out their practices to the minute and try to follow these practice plans as closely as possible.  Due to the specific design of our practice plans and the progression they intend for the team being on time is the first step to success.  

Athletes should arrive to the gym with enough time to ensure they are ready for practice.  This means shoes are on, water bottle is full, and wearing the correct color of the day. This usually means athletes should arrive to practice approximately 10 minutes in advance of their start time. For athletes unable to drive themselves to and from practice, parents should strive to ensure their athlete is not late. Athletes who are late for practice, despite if it is the parents fault, traffics fault, or an asteroids fault will have extra conditioning. Why?  Because they missed that progressive warmup and physical training, we will make that up in some way.  This could mean they do exactly what they missed or potentially a conditioning circuit.   

Practices are physically intense for athletes. They work hard the entire time they are there. This means it’s in the best interest of the athlete and the team that everyone is well fueled and hydrated! Proper nutrition prior to and after practice is imperative for athlete wellness. Athletes should at a minimum have a snack prior to practice.  It is always a good idea to have a semi satiating snack in their bag in case you are in a rush, or a few extra dollars to get a snack from the front desk. Water is the best choice and will keep the athlete properly hydrated by drinking water throughout the day, versus slamming some right before practice.  We know kids love their dutch, coaches do too, but drinking a dutch or energy drink throughout practice is not healthy for athletes, and not what our water breaks are intended for.  

Oftentimes, athletes will be sore a day or two after a hard practice. Being sore is good, this means athletes are building strength and endurance. Bananas, kiwis, and any other fruit high in potassium, as well as WATER are some of the best ways to treat muscle soreness!

Cheerleading is a contact sport, and tumbling comes with inherent risk of injury.  Any time you try to compete with your body vs. gravity and physics there is a risk of something happening.  ODT strives to ensure our athletes are safe and we do everything we can to prevent serious injury.  The most common injuries we see are twisted ankles, bruises from stunting, and overuse type injuries.  We ask that parents and athletes partner with us in taking care of their bodies.  Treat injuries with good rest outside of practice, ice, anti inflammatory foods or medications, and therapeutic exercise.  Athletes generally speaking are allowed to sit out of some or all of practice for the maximum of 2 practices before coaches expect an athlete see a medical professional.  If athletes need to be excused by a doctor from practice due to an injury the number one thing we want to know is what is the plan.  What is being done to get that athlete healthy and back with their team. 

Parenting Through a Rough Practice

As much as we would all prefer for every practice to end with smiles on every face, that simply isn’t the case in any sport! All Star Cheer is no different. There will be practices that end with athletes feeling frustrated and/or emotional. The best thing a parent can do during challenging times are:

  • Be positive! Your child needs you to be his/her cheerleader! Say things like, “While tonight might have been rough, think about how much stronger you/your team will be next time!” or “One practice doesn’t define an entire season…tell me what went well tonight.” If that’s not working, steer the conversation away from cheer! Often, a good night’s rest, or some time to concentrate on something else, helps put things in perspective and allows athlete, parent, and coach, to see a situation with a fresh set of eyes.
  • If the concern persists after waiting 24-48 hours, contact the coach to schedule a meeting with parent, athlete, and coach. It’s important all parties are present so that an issue/concern can be addressed.
  • Do not discuss the situation with other parents/athletes. It’s human nature to want to bounce ideas off each other, reach out to a sounding board, or simply vent at times. However, these situations can quickly escalate to negativity, gossip, or inaccurate information. So do the best thing for the athlete, the parent, the coach, and the gym…and steer clear of these situations! Your athlete’s coach is the best resource as they are the ones who can solve your problem.  
  • Trust the process (One of our core values) – every road has challenges, disappointments, struggles, victories, and successes.  Trust that your coaches, owners, and teammates are working together to achieve the best result we can.