we got speaking to Abbey from Edge Hill Xtreme to find out why university cheer is more than just a sport its a life style
Tell us about Edge Hill Xtreme cheer history.
Edge Hill Xtreme was originally started in 2009 by a few students who did All Star cheer, and who had came to university and realised there was no cheer team. They then brought in their own coach (Sarah Holden from Cheer Valley) and together helped form Edge hill Xtreme with the help of the university. The team has been going for about 8 years now and after trying several external coaches have finally settled on internal coaching due to the high level of cheer talent we have within the University. Over the last 8 years the team has continued to grow allowing them to add more teams including an all girl team and a pom team, which have continued to grow throughout the years and bring in many new members and awards for the universities.
At Edge Hill Xtreme is your cheerleading team consider a sport or a society?
We are now considered a Sport! Up until 4 years ago we were still considered a society, however due to the constant commitment and help from our captains, top table and teams members we fought hard to prove ourselves and our successes to the University and have now successfully been considered a sport for 4 seasons!
Do you get any support from your university?
We do! It has been a rocky road negotiating with the University due to Cheerleading not being a BUCs sport. BUCs teams obviously have a very set way of how they receive funding and support and we don’t have that. However our Students Union were great last season and funded our coach and travel & entry to 2 competitions which we were SO grateful for, and we hope to continue to work close with the SU to carry on funding and support from them.
How many teams do you have and what does each team do?”
We currently have 2 cheer teams and 2 dance teams.
The first cheer team we have is an All-girl cheer team – Amethyst; this team varies each season from either level 1 or level 2 depending on the skills we see in try-outs, and what level we believe the team will hit the highest at and be the safest and have the most fun at.
Our second cheer team is a Co-ed level 3 team – Platinum; this team is the longest run cheer team we have at the university and we aim to keep it at level 3 for the season as we are hoping for a lot of talent during our fresher’s try-outs from new and existing members. We also really enjoy having lads on the team so having a co-ed team means they get to compete. We also use both teams when competing at varsity and love to get stunt groups together for local and university ran events, which range from all levels.
This season we are hoping to take two dance teams to competition, the first team is new this year and is our Jazz team – Pearl, we decided to form this team after a lot of interest from last season and a lot of dancer who don’t necessarily want to do cheerleading but wanted to compete with the cheer and dance squad at competition and had a lot of interest at the end of last season from existing members.
We also have a Small / Large Pom team – Diamond, this team is made up from 12 to 16 members depending on interest and includes both cheerleaders and dancers within the university. The great thing about both our dance teams is that both male and female cheerleaders or dancer are welcome to try-out and compete with us though out the year. We are super excited about the dance teams they continue to grow and become amazing throughout each season.
Both the cheer teams and dance teams compete at 3 or 4 competitions a year including FC university nations, ICC university nationals, Legacy nations and we are looking at competing at BCA university nationals.
How many hours a week do you train?
Both our cheer teams train for 2 hours on a Tuesday and an hour each on a Thursday. New to this season we will be having an extra practice on a weekend closer to comp dates at a fully sprung gym, as we believe this will help with tumbles and getting new members use to comp floor.
Both dance teams also train for an hour on a Tuesday and we will be bringing in another practice session on either a Thursday or Friday depending on when we can hire a studio out. We try to keep practices of both cheer and dance on the same days as we know having to juggle university life with cheer and also working can be quite difficult and want to make it as easy as possible for all our members to commit to the team.
What was your biggest achievement last season?
For me personally, as coach the biggest achievement was seeing how each team had progressed so much since their first training session and how much they had all grown as a team and as people, a lot of the team members had never cheered before so it was totally new to them so seeing how much they had taken to the sport and not given up was the best thing to witness.
As well as this, I think I can speak for the whole team and say that the biggest achievement was them winning their division both level 1 all girl and Co-ed level 3 at ‘legacy – Inspire greatness’ in Cardiff. This competition was not a university only competition and had teams from across the UK in, so for them to come first was amazing and showed how much they had worked since their last competition at ICC, i will never forget all their faces when they found out they had won, it was priceless! It was also a lot of third years last ever competition with the team and members who had been with the team since they started university so to come out with a win at their last comp was for them a massive achievement and well deserved.
How do you decide what competition you are going to attend?
We tend to pick our competitions based on previous experiences and also timing plays a big part. As we don’t officially start university until the end of September we don’t usual start team training until late October and in those weeks we are still seeing how people work together and do not start routines until November / December time. Also due to only training for 2 hours on a Tuesday and an hour on a Thursday it is important that we give ourselves enough time to be prepared so we can put the best possible routine on the matt. In the past we have entered early competitions and had to pull out due to not being ready which is obviously disappointing.
However, this season and under new coaches we managed to keep on schedule with practices we attended FC University Nationals in February which we were both prepared for and loved attending.
What was your favourite cheerleading competition of the past season?
Our favourite competition this year was defiantly ‘Legacy Inspire Greatness’ in Cardiff! It was only a small competition and was not university nationals one, however it had a real personal feel to it and both cheer teams placing 1st certainly made us love it more. It was especially rewarding for not only myself but for everyone else on the team as the competition was in Cardiff and it was a very long way for us to travel for the day. The atmosphere on the coach on the way back was amazing as everyone was very proud and happy about winning and it was the best way to finish an incredible season off.
Does your team do other things apart from compete?
Yes we do, as well as competing we aim to attend any local events, which we can be useful for and get involved with a lot of university put on events such as fresher’s fair, helping with campaigns and open days throughout the year. We also attend varsity every year where we take the team to compete and to overall support each of the teams playing for Edge Hill. It’s also a great day out as we are able to hang out with other sport teams and have a play around at trying each other’s sports. We also put on regular themed practices throughout the season for charity, which is a great way to raise money and to have fun in practice, as well we are starting this season to do more fundraising practices such as bring a friend to practice and sponsored stunting and cheer.
What are your goals for this season?
Our first goal as a team is to help people develop new skills, whether this be new students or existing members of the team. We also want to continue to grow as a team and develop and come up with new and creative stunt sequences and routines that people want to watch and support us. Having support from the university is a big thing for us so we want to continue to represent the university well and have our new top table work closely with the student union to provide us with new and exciting opportunities. Finally we want to show people how hard we have been working throughout the season and hit zero at competition for every routine we put out and continue to improve on our personal best. We hope that individuals within the team hit personal targets and prove to themselves how fab they are. Finally a massive goal for us is to win a grand champion at any of the competitions that we enter.
It’s that time of year where you guys will be recruiting what you are looking for from student?
When it comes to trying out for Edge hill Xtreme its easy! Come say hi to us during our annual fresher’s fair or show up to either one of the two try-outs / taster days we hold. During the first try-outs we will teach you some basic stunting skills, a small dance and you will be able to show us if you have any tumbling skills or any previous experience in stunting or dancing, its your time to show off, so make it count! When it comes to experience it is not a key factor if you do or don’t as welcome all kind of people as long as you show us that you are determined, motivated, hard working and committed to the team and the growth of the team throughout the season we welcome you to try-outs and hopefully onto the team. As well as being hard working we hope the new students are looking to build new skills and build new friendships as well as having fun in practices. If you are interested in the dance side of cheerleading, which would include our Pom or Jazz team, separate try-out dates are explained on our social media pages and info can be found at our fresher’s fair or first try-outs.
Why should people join your team?
We would recommend joining any sports team whilst at University because it will completely shape your experience and you’ll get to meet some amazing people throughout your time at university. Edge hill Xtreme is an extremely close knit team and we are all like a big family, we love to do things outside of cheer and it is a great way to relieve the stress of university because everyone is in the same boat as you. As well as this, whether you have done cheerleading or not it is a great way to build on skills or to develop new ones, a lot of team members have started university cheer with no experience and have gone on to join all star cheerleading teams in their home towns and we can express how proud this makes us as coaches to see. From personal experience some of my favourite moments from university have been from cheerleading and some of my best friends have been made because of it and I could imagine my time and university experience without them.
What useful skills has cheerleading taught you?
Throughout the competitive season cheerleading can test you and teach you a number of different skills, which can be applied, to different areas of cheerleading. The first skill is teamwork; this involves having to trust your stunt group and others in the team. Cheerleading isn’t a part time sport and we as a team ask you to be committed throughout the season and dedicated to each practice and competition, you have to be willing to give up your free time if necessary. After speaking to previous members of the team from last season about their time on Edge Hill Xtreme they said one of the biggest things they learnt was confidence, not only in them selves but also in others around them.
Are there any transferable skills that you have learnt from cheer that you can use later on in life
The main transferable skill we think cheer has taught us is teamwork. There are so many team sports out there but nothing quite like cheerleading, where you have to really rely on and trust the other athletes you are taking the mat with. That is one of the most amazing things about cheer is that the only way you can be successful in it is to trust other people and that it is a team sport. With the coaches doing everything they can and giving you all the advice and technique in regarding a skill sometimes it just comes down to hard work and commitment from your stunt group or team.
“An example of this shown last season was that a stunt group were struggling with one of the main stunt sequences, they fought so hard to keep it in the routine and in every break they had they would be practicing and eventually got it and hit the sequence at every competition, showing that perseverance really does pay off and trusting in your bases, back spot, flyers and front spot can be the difference from a stunt hitting and a stunt failing.”
Therefore, another skill is transferable skill is confidence, to perform in front of anyone can be a very nervous time but to compete on a mat for a lot of the team members first time in a sport they aren’t that familiar with takes a whole lot of confidence. The great thing about Edge Hill Xtreme is that the team is like one big family and will support you through anything, especially comp days and its amazing to see shy members walk out with the biggest smile on their faces and enjoy every minute, no matter what goes on they are having the best time.
Leadership is also another transferable skill that cheerleading provides for later life, last season we were so lucky to have an amazing caption Kirsty Armour who was the most organised, passionate caption I had the pleasure to worked with, this was because she had been with the team throughout her university experience and had seen the dedication and leadership it took to make a successful caption, and thanks to her the university cheerleading team got a lot more opportunities and funding from the Student union at the university. Leadership is also show by returning members as they can help new members, if they are struggling with a sequence or in general just need advice and the coaches are busy its nice to know that people will step up and help, after all cheerleading is a team sport.
What would your lives be without cheer?
Life without cheerleading would be boring! A lot of people don’t realise what a big part of your life cheerleading is until you have to stop it for some reason, that’s why university cheerleading is amazing because people can come from All star gyms or not experience at all and join a team full of people that love and have passion for the same sport as they do, and to see new people come into the sport and love it as much as you do is incredible because it shows that cheerleading is a continually growing sport.
From personal experience cheerleading has been such a big part of my life for the past 11 years and I couldn’t imagine my life without it.
I’ve met so many amazing people through cheer and been able to have so many incredible opportunities and experience because of it. Some of these include competing at many levels in UK national competitions and representing the UK in the cheerleading and dance world championships in Florida. Since moving to university I have been able to carry on my passion for cheerleading and been able to test out coaching, which I have always loved and had a passion for.
I think I can speak for most people on the team when I say that when we break up for Christmas and summer we all cant wait to be back in the gym trying new stunt sequences and getting ready for upcoming competitions.
Do you guys use social media platforms?
Yes we do, we believe that social media is a big thing of any successful sports team nowadays as it shows people what our team is about. We like to be very active on social media and regular put up updates of what we are doing, any events coming up (including any themed practices) and we love to praise people on social media as well, cheerleader of the week for example we want everyone to see how amazing our team members are and how proud we are every practice of them. We also know that being from not a massive university having an active social media platform is good because if we ever need answer questions for people we can do within minutes. Social media is especially important to us during the first initial weeks of the university year as it is a way to communicate with our new members and gives them a little taster of what the season has to offer including any important information they need to know.
Our social media platforms are;
Facebook – EHU Xtreme
Twitter – @EHUCheerleadig
Instagram – edgehillcheer
Is there any other information you would like to share with CFHTT?”
As a team we would like to wish the rest of university teams a massive good luck with the new season and we cant wait to watch you and show our support at the upcoming competitions. We can’t wait to meet all our new students and existing members of the team in the upcoming weeks and start to get our creative ideas into practice. Lastly we urge people to check out our promotional video, which was made by 3rd year Film student, Tom Williams, last year. It really captures what we are all about – training hard but having a good time as well!
Here is the youtube link –
Lastly what is your favourite UK Cheer team (apart from your team) and your favourite International cheer team and why?
Our favourite UK team cheer is Coventry dynamite – ignite, even though this team is no longer competing, we loved the way they executed each routine with precision, confidence and their routines were always creative and had everyone watching them. They always put on a show and perform with confidence and have shown that any UK team that puts their minds to it, and works hard can do well against the best teams in the world. Their athletes continue to show commitment and dedication to the sport and help cheerleading to become more recognised.
Our favourite dance teams in the UK are ADA Dark angels and SA Supreme senior jazz,
we love both these teams as the creativity of their routines continually gets better each season, they are teams that you want to watch and you look forward to seeing all season.
Their technique and performance in both the hip hop division and jazz division is amazing and they have shown that when working hard and being dedicated throughout the season it comes with amazing rewards as these teams have been able to attend the Cheerleading and Dance world championships in Florida for the last couple of years with partial paid bids!
Our favourite UK university cheer team is Leeds Celtics Co-ed level 3 team, we were at regular competitions with this team and loved watching their routines, their stunt sequences were always clean and creative and their routine overall was performed and executed to the highest standard. As a team they seem supportive of other teams and humble when they win.
Our favourite international cheer team is Cheer Extreme – Senior Elite, we love this team because they constantly coming up with new and creative stunt sequences which have become legendary in the cheerleading world. They also have a hard working attitude and work on things until they are perfect; they are determined and always come back from defeat in a positive way. Lastly their performance and dance is always on point in every routine.
We would also like to say a massive thank you to Cheer from head to toe for this amazing opportunity! Thank you!!
Aww thanks guys 🙂 🙂
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