Welcome back to the Man’s Guide to Cheerleading. If you’re seeing this for the first time, make sure to read Part 1.
Last time we discussed acting like a gentleman while being a Cheerleader, the general ins and outs of functioning and becoming comfortable with yourself as a guy who is a cheerleader. In Part 2 we’ll look into helpful views on practice, games, dealing with bullies & haters, and a few other general key points in helping you enjoy your time as a cheerleader.
Practices can be tough, maybe not every single one, but a lot of the time they can be rough on your mind & body. This goes for the whole team, guys and girls. Some days practice may be simple, it may be a practice where the girls work on a dance the whole time, leaving you with time to twiddle your thumbs or joke around with the other guys or teammates.
This isn’t a good thing; it may seem fun and innocent. But while you’re messing around and having fun, the rest of your teammates are working their butts off to master the skills at hand. Keep them focused, don’t be distracting to their progress. Instead, give them encouragement and let them know that they are valuable members of the team and that you’re valuable too. You wouldn’t want to be working on your toss hands in the corner while the rest of the team jokes around and has a good old time.
This time period where the girls are hard at work on something specific can also be used for your benefit. Work on your tumbling or new stunts, practice your motions (we know you have good ones, but I can bet they aren’t perfect yet!), or do some conditioning! Your fitness and strength is one of your more valuable assets you have as a male team member; increase your strength and use the time at cheerleading practice to do some sprints, maybe some crunches and pushups, or even some calisthenics with medicine balls or weights. Your goal should always be to get stronger and be in the best shape possible if you want to be a great cheerleader and an important piece of your cheer team.
Male Cheerleader Fitness & Skills:
Speaking of getting strong and being ‘big,’ if you want to get better and stronger here are a few tips. Eat as much as possible, all the time; proteins, carbs, calories, you name it. Eat until you are past full. After you digest, go work out. Lift weights, run sprints, calisthenics, everything! All of those are ways for you to increase your size and strength over time. If your goal as a cheerleader is to get better at stunting, stunt every chance you can. The more times you throw a skill, the better chance you’ll have at hitting it. The best stunters I know are in the gym at least 4-5 times a week working on their own skills.
The reason why strength is emphasized so much is due to the fact that the girls on your team see you as a strong male, you are a point of strength for the whole team; they are going to look for you to spot a new stunt or to do the hard part of a skill. Carry this thought process out, you should be one of the stronger members of the team, you should be able to help spot a new skill to make sure the members of your team are safe, and you should be able to do some of the more difficult stunts. And if you aren’t at that point yet, now is the perfect time to step up your strength and show how valuable to the team you can be.
While I speak heavily about strength, the absolute best thing a guy can do to be a better cheerleader is: Have Perfect Technique.
Big or Small, strong or weak; technique is your friend and will help with all skills. Specifically in stunting, think about where your hands are usually and where they need to be, your body’s position under the stunt, how you use your leg muscles before your arms on your toss. It’s complicated, but the results are worth it. Technique is your friend, learn it and own it.
Stay Tough, My Dudes:
Something that has helped me get through many practices, workouts, games, competitions, and life, is being tough. Just like I stated above, the girls on your squad look to you as a point of strength on the squad, being tough goes hand in hand with that. We all know that in cheerleading like other sports, we all get bumps and bruises while working on skills. As a guy on the team, you can’t wimper and whine after every bump and fall. Being tough isn’t just something that has to do with injuries necessarily, it comes down to moments where you have to take the high road, where you have to stay committed to something, where you have to push through to show the world what you are truly made of. Realizing this several years ago made all the difference to me and my life and way I live it.
Many times throughout your career as a male cheerleader, there will be times when you are singled out since you are the only guy or one of a few guys on the team. Maybe an opposing team’s fans are trying to rile you up with some insults and jabs, or maybe it is from people at your own school and town being mean or hurtful.
Why should what you enjoy doing as a cheerleader give others the right to put you down or bully you? It doesn’t. Don’t give them more motivation to treat you wrongly or unfairly, continue about your business as a squad member. Never let one jerk turn you away from doing something you really enjoy being a part of. Think about it like this: I’m sure before you even think of a response to the person issuing the hate upon you, the girls on your team will be quick to say something back in your defense. Ladies, don’t get too defensive or say things you’ll regret, just make sure the guys on your team know that you enjoy their contributions to the team and are glad they are a part of it. Regardless of whom it is and where it is coming from, IGNORE IT.
This comes back to being a gentleman once again. You don’t need to say anything back, you don’t need to get violent, you don’t need revenge; you already won. In most cases, these ‘haters’ are jealous and know that they could never get the courage to join a team like you have. You don’t need to give them the satisfaction that they made you mad or upset.
Wrapping up part 2 of the Man’s Guide to Cheerleading, remember to work hard at every practice, practice your weaker skills and don’t be distracting to the effort’s of the whole squad. Make sure to focus on your skills, getting stronger and being tough, and not letting others determine your happiness.
You chose to be a cheerleader for a reason (because its fun!) and don’t forget it. Next time we will go over a few other etiquette points to remember as a male cheerleader and also to answer any questions you the readers have. Tweet me your questions or post em as comments on Instagram/Facebook!
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