Cheerleading and Dance Worlds 2018

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Well done to every single British athlete and coach that attended worlds this weekend, it’s great to show the world how serious, passionate and brilliant we are at cheerleading. The representation across the board was something that won’t be forgotten.

All teams showed sportsmanship and showcased dedication, and for that each and every member should be proud of themselves, hit or not. Shoutout to all the parents and supporters too who help make things like this possible

If worlds didn’t go the way you wanted, don’t be disheartened, look how far you’ve come and remember why you started. Keep working hard and your time will come. A huge congratulations again, we can’t wait for next year🌍

 

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Team England Para Cheer documentary : The Journey to Worlds

The Para Cheer division is something close to our  hearts and that why we made this documentary.  This division allows everyone a chance to be apart of this sport, to have a family like no other and to achieve something great.  We would love if you share this video and support Team England Para because they deserve  it and we know they are going to do us proud at ICU this Thursday.

 

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CFHTT interview with Coach Gemma From Team Wales Para Cheer Freestyle Pom

 

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What qualities do you believe make a good coach?

There are many qualities that make a good coach, team work, organisation, an understanding of the competition and rules but for me the biggest gift a coach has it their ability to shape young people’s lives. For that reason, I believe that having a well rounded perspective on things outside of the sport, the capability to accept challenge and a willingness to learn from others is vital to support young people both inside and outside of the gym with lessons that they will carry throughout their lives.

 

What is the age group of your Para athletes?

Our team this year is comprised of athletes in their early teens right the way through to their twenty’s. The youngest athlete on our team is 13 and the oldest is 25.

 

What motivates you to coach?

I love getting to know my athletes on a personal and professional level. Seeing them develop in their abilities and reaching milestones that often feel beyond them is fantastic. I also enjoy seeing teams come together, particularly teams like those across the different Paracheer divisions where working together and understanding our strengths and challenges as a team is so important… and then of course, watching the team take to the Worlds stage and putting on a show to their fans is brilliant to witness.

What is the most rewarding part of coaching Para Pom?

For me, the most rewarding aspect to this division is putting together a routine that works to a combined skill set. All of our athletes bring a uniqueness to the team and watching that unfold into choreography and skills over the season is great.

Your athletes look up to you what does it mean to be a role model

It’s sometimes a challenge to live up to their expectations, knowing that they are hanging on my every word and looking up to me as a leader can sometimes be overwhelming. I try to remember the sorts of people who inspire me and how those people have helped me be the person I am today. Being able to contribute positively to so many young people is such a great feeling and I am truly grateful for the experiences I’ve been able to provide for our athletes.

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How do you typically conduct a class from start to finish? Share a sample lesson plan with me.

We start with a team warm up and stretch and sometimes a game to get things started. We’ll then walk through the routine and see some full-outs so we can identify the specific parts that need working on. Our Paracheer Pom sessions tend to be long with lots of time in between each one so it’s important that we have time to re-fresh our memories of pervious changes and give the athletes plenty of breaks throughout the session.

 

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What coaches, teacher or other people have been great influences in your life and why or how?

There are so many people that I look up to and I’ve been privileged to work with lots of influential, strong women that there are too many to name. I get a lot of inspiration from my Mum who is a hard-working, powerful woman and has worked incredibly hard to be where she is. She’s my check point for any difficulties I might be going through and is my biggest cheerleader. I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without her support and influence.

How do you promote a positive energy with your team

We’re so lucky in that we NEVER have a negative energy in the team. I think it’s because we work with athletes and coaches who truly love what they do and put their heart and soul into everything. They’re a pleasure to coach. Of course we have tough training sessions but we try to remember what it is we’re working towards and focus our energy on the task at hand. I also think that Welsh people are some of the most positive people in the world so everybody’s glasses are half full J

Why are you so passionate about the Para division?

Providing a platform for all athletes, regardless of skills, age, gender and ability etc should be something that we all strive towards. Paracheer has this value at its core and I’m passionate about opening up opportunities for those who can often be forgotten.

What are you most excited for when you attended Worlds?

I can’t wait for the opening ceremony. It’s always my favourite part of the week as I feel that it is such an honour to represent your country on a Worlds stage. I also get to spend a week with some of the best people in my life, the memories that we make whilst in Orlando are ones that I will always cherish.

World Champions

 

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CFHTT interview with Team England Para Cheer Athlete Sophie Mattes

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Name: Sophie Mattes

Team England ParaCheer Team

Age: 25

DisabilityI am profoundly deaf in both ears.

I also have a condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome which is to do with my joints. They dislocate/break joints/bones easy because the collagen (joint glue) is too stretchy. It is also the cause of all my disabilities.

I have Gastroparesis which is literally a paralysed stomach and means I have a pacemaker in my tummy.

I also have Orthostatic Intolerance (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) which is where my blood pressure can’t control itself well causing lightheadedness/fainting/pins and needles and poor circulation.

Cheer/Dance Career Goals

My Cheer goals are to Win a Worlds ring (which cheerleader doesn’t have that goal) but also just to better my skills and keep on learning whilst making new friends all the time. I also want to prove to the world that I can still do what I love no matter what. I’d also love to be able to teach all the things I learn to younger athletes so they can then go on to also achieve their goals within cheerleading!

Instagram  @sophiemattes 

Youtube channel Thedramaqueensoph

Share something that makes you happy: 

Achieving things that I have worked really hard for such as my back walkover. I persevered through the joint pain and light headedness and eventually reach my goal of getting my back walkover which I can now compete with in my club team (Sapphire Elite Allstars).

Which Para Team are you most excited to see and why? 

I’m really excited to watch Team England Para Hip Hop team as I love dance but I’m excited to watch ParaCheer Wales too

How many years of experience do you have? I have been cheering for 5 years now but this is my 4 season competing as I did just under a season of learning cheer.

Which teams are you currently a part of or have been part of in the past? 

As well as Team England Para Cheer, I am also with Sapphire Elite Allstars. I started my cheer with London Eclipse and after a year moved to Sapphire.

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What was it like when you attended try-outs for Team England ParaCheer? 

It was scary because there were so many people there and everyone had so much talent. I wanted to make the team so badly so put so much pressure on myself but try-outs were also really fun because I got to learn new things right from the word go and make new friends too who didn’t see any of my disabilities as anything but normal.

Your favourite memory from being a part of Team England ParaCheer

My favourite memory so far is that very first practice we had were we got to know each other whilst already learning how to make adaptions. It was the first time I truly felt like I fit in somewhere and that my health condition wasn’t slowing anyone down. Even though I know Sapphire are super accepting and always help me, being in a room with other athletes who also face those same feelings was amazing. Just thinking about it makes me smile.

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Describe the funniest thing that’s happen to you while you were at training –

It usually is because of my hearing where I will hear something VERY different to what was actually said. Sometimes I should think before I just speak out what I THINK I heard….

Are there any stunt/dance/technique adaptations you make which you find especially interesting?

I absolutely love working with those in a wheel chair because being a base, you really have to learn how to use your arms rather than relying on being able to dip and absorb through your legs and with not as much dip.

What advice would you give to someone who was scared to try-out for Team England Para this year

Everyone is feeling the exact same way. Overwhelmed by how many people are going to be at try-outs and the feeling of what if you don’t make the team. Everyone is so lovely and it is an atmosphere you will have never felt before. The support and love from the coaches but every other athlete in that room. Try-outs aren’t just about what skills you already have, they are also about your personality and whether you listen to the coaches advice and willing to learn. Go in with a positive attitude and be yourself because even if you don’t make the team, you will still learn an incredible amount just in that try-out alone.  Be yourself, put 110% in and just learn from coaches and even other athletes. But most importantly…. have FUN!

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After Worlds, what will you miss about Team England Para and why

: I will miss training with the rest of the team and the coaches. The feeling I get from and during training, the love and support from all the athletes and coaches is something that keeps me going even on those hard days. I will miss learning new things every session but most importantly, i will miss every single person because they are honestly like my family now. I look forward to our training be the second I leave one training because we always have a laugh whilst getting work done because that is the best thing ever knowing that we are all working towards the same thing yet don’t forget to have fun with it.

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What are you most excited to experience at Worlds 2018?

I am excited to see all the other teams perform, the atmosphere and to step out on that mat with people I absolutely love whilst we show the world what hard work, team work and adaptions can mean you achieve. I’m also so excited to get to hang out with all my friends across the world

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CFHTT interview with head Coach of Team England Para Cheer Hip Hop Sammi Coggans

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Name: Sammi Coggans

Team: Team England ParaCheer Hip Hop

Role: Head Coach

Age: 27

Disability:N/A

Career Goal: Achieved it! Though I would also love one day to Judge Worlds

Instagram @sammi_coggs

 

Which Para Team are you most excited to see and why?

In addition to watching ours on the floor, I am looking forward to watching Team England ParaCheer Freestyle Pom. I was assistant coach for this team last year and have so much love for the athletes and coaches. I also had so much joy watching them perform at BCA Nationals on Easter weekend!

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How many years of experience do you have?  

 I have been coaching for 12 years, Judging for 4 and this is my second year coaching within Team England ParaCheer.

 

Which teams are you apart of or have you been part of in the past?

I run BPA Cheer and Dance – A Bristol based cheerleading and dance team. I began this at the age of 15. I also have coached workshops for numerous other teams including universities and All-star programme

 

Were you nervous about Try-outs  day for Team England Para Hip Hop ?

It was incredible to see such an amazing turn out. I was a little nervous with it being the newest national team, but we had some great support with spreading the word and have some fantastic athletes from incredible teams being represented throughout our team. 

Your favourite memory from being a part of Team England Para 

So far it HAS to be watching them perform at BCA Nationals. That showcase was something else – they truly came into their own, and  the crowd really got behind them. They came off the floor a family rather than just a team. It was also great having all the other national Dance teams performing there too. Team England Hip Hop, Team England Pom, Team England ParaPom and us – Team England ParaCheer Hip Hop were all there supporting each other and it was great. 

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Describe the funniest thing that’s happen to you while you were at training –

I probably can’t share all of the details as we always seem to be laughing – but its so nice watching new bonds form and that all those initial ‘meeting new people’ barriers are dropped. Everyone has let their true personalities out and that has resulted in too many memories to pin down!

 

Are there any stunt/technique adaptations you make which you find especially interesting?

If I’m honest, the group is so gifted we can look past any disabilities and just make what has become a spectacular routine. Most adaptations come in training where fatigue can sometimes be an issue, however this can effect everyone, not just those with a disability. Thats what I love about the ethos of ParaCheer, Cheer really IS for everyone. 

What advice would you give to someone who was scared to try-out for Team England Para this year.

I would say you are more likely to regret the chances you don’t take than those you do. This opportunity isn’t only to represent your country, but to be a part of a movement.

 

What will you miss about Team England Para and why.

The team and the way it has bonded has been so unique. There’s a wide mix of ages and styles, but I can’t state too much, how much it feels like a family! 

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What are you most excited to experience at Worlds 2018?

We are training at Top Gun this season, so that will be really exciting… But other than that, of course the performance! It will be so amazing – you MUST watch!!!

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Team England Freestyle Pom : What it takes to represent your country

 

We are over joyed to be releasing this video of Team England Freestyle Pom. We got to visit them at one of their last training before heading to Worlds. Watch our video and find out what it takes to represent your country.

 

 

 

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