The Diary of University Cheerleader: December issue

 

Wildlife CD Cover

Hi guys,

We can’t believe the year is almost over, where has the year gone.

Although our term ended halfway through December, the Tigers managed to accomplish a lot in the last few weeks of term. Our amazing Social Secretaries organised an end of term 3-course meal for all of our teams held at TGI Friday’s. The night was a huge success, our members got to know each other even more, celebrate all we have accomplished this term and awards were handed out in recognition of hard work and dedication across all 8 teams.img_4978

 

 

trent tigersOur teams also celebrated Christmas approaching by going out to Ocean dressed up in all things Christmassy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other members of the committee, our Treasurer and Kit Secretary, worked extremely hard to get all of the payments and orders out in time for our kit, we can’t wait to see what it all looks like! We also took part in an Instagram competition where we submitted our uniform to be considered for the Best Uni Uniform. People voted for their favourite and after several rounds, the Tigers came out on top winning! We have an amazing uniform made by Rebel Athletic and we’re so glad everyone else likes it too.

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We also carried out more voluntary work during December, specifically at Lark Hill Retirement Village.

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Each weekend for 3 weeks in a row, Friday to Sunday groups of our athletes took the time to visit the retirement village and help out. They took part in exercise classes, helped out in their gym, café and restaurant as well and really got to know some of the residents there. We loved it so much that we’re aiming to complete more voluntary work there in the new year.

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All teams continued to work on their routines in preparation for the new year and our annual showcase that’s taking place January 26th 2019.

 

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Tickets go on sale today (1st January 2019) and can be bought via this link https://onlinestore.ntu.ac.uk/product-catalogue/professional-services/events/odyssey-30 all information regarding our showcase can be found on our social media and directly on the Facebook event page. So make sure you’ve clicked interested to stay up to date! Everyone is welcome and our athletes would greatly appreciate the chance to showcase their hard work.

 

We wish everyone a happy new year and a healthy 2019! To see all of our current news and even more action from us make sure you follow us on our social media @NTUCheerleading on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

 

 

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The Diary of a University Cheerleader

The Diary of a University Cheerleader

 

 

 

We are the Nottingham Trent Tigers and this year we are lucky enough to be Cheer From Head To Toe’s featured university team. Each month we’ll be keeping you up to date on all the going’s on of the team from training to competitions and performances, charity work to socials!

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The Nottingham Trent Tigers are from Nottingham Trent University. We have been very successful in previous years; we have won multiple titles and trophies and have performed amazing routines at varsity, charity and communal events. Last season the team grew dramatically to around 300 members. The club created 3 new teams meaning we had a total of 7 teams! This year we plan to grow even more and have made some changes to our squads. We plan to have more teams and if all goes well we will be announcing them very soon!

 

Over the summer the committee has been working hard to prepare for the new season. Cheer Banner SquareThis year on committee our President is Georgia, she oversees the club, ensuring that everything is running smoothly. Georgia is also in charge of communicating with the Student’s Union and University so that we can get the most out of the year. Our Secretary is Prina and her role is to help run the club alongside the President and keep databases updated among other administrative tasks. Next, we have Hannah our Treasurer and she is responsible for the club’s finances. Hannah ensures that everyone has paid for things such as their termly subs, competition fees, money for uniforms and so on. Hannah is also in charge of purchasing for the club and handling our budget. Our Kit Secretary this year is Alex. Alex designs all of our extra kit, from training tops to bows and puts in the orders for us. So far, this year she has already done an amazing job at designing the committee jumpers that were made for us by Power Nation and is currently working on the committee bows! The jumpers look fantastic so we can’t wait to see her other designs!

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Our Marketing and Communications Officer this year is Chloe. Her role is to keep our social media up to date and looking good, she’s also responsible for communicating with external organisations for things like charity events and sponsorship. This year we have three Social and Wellbeing Secretaries; Emily, Evie and Harriet. As Social Secretaries, they organise any social events from the club. This includes a weekly night out to Ocean on Wednesdays and our Sports Tour in second term, they’re currently working on organising our welcome social for our new members. Not only this though they also have the very important job of making sure everyone on the team is okay. They’re there as the first point of contact for any of our members to go to if they have any issues, this could just be a friendly face to talk to or for more serious issues like signposting someone in the right direction for help for things like mental health. Although our social secretaries are the first point of contact, any committee or training team member is there for any of our members to go to if they have any problems and are more than willing to help.

 

Also on committee is our training team. Our Training Team coaches all of our non-competition teams. This year we have Holly as our Coach, Darcy as our Captain, Ellie as our Assistant Coach, Abigail as our Vice-Captain and Rebecca as our Dance Captain. The training team works super hard throughout the year to create routines for the non-competition teams and teach our members new stunts and ways to improve on the ones they already know. This is all in preparation for performances our teams have throughout the year, such as the Nottingham Varsity series, which is the biggest varsity series outside of North America, and other charity and external performances.

 

 

Head CoachOur competition teams are coached by Head Coach Stefan and Tumble Coach Josh. Stefan and Josh work extremely hard prepping the girls for comp season, creating their routines, developing their stunting and tumbling skills and making sure they’re ready to compete in second term. All of our training team and competition coaches have been working on their ideas over the summer and we can’t wait to see what they have planned!

 

We are currently in the middle of recruiting new members and have been at our fresher’s fairs on our City and Clifton campuses, we’re hoping for a big turn out at tasters and try-outs. Fresher’s Fair is a chance for interested members to come and talk to us and ask any questions they might have! This isn’t just first years though, we welcome everyone from first year through to postgraduate, girls and guys and all abilities, complete beginners to those who have been cheering for most of their life. You don’t need to have had any prior experience to be a Trent Tiger as we teach you everything you need to know for try-outs in our taster sessions and most members learn throughout the year, developing their skills!

 

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This week we also had our taster sessions which includes stunting and dancing. New and returning members get to practise and develop their skills and also learn a dance ready for the try-outs next week. We’re super excited to meet our new recruits and have new members join our team! It’s going to be an exciting year for the Tigers and we hope it will be even better than last year! Check out what we got up to last year in our promo video for this season. You can find it at this link: https://youtu.be/OHyvYNTCATI

 

We’ll be updating you each month with the exciting things going on at Tigers HQ, but if you want to see even more action from us make sure you follow us on our social media @NTUCheerleading on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

We are so excited to be following them this season and show what it truly means to be a University cheerleader. Make sure you tune in every first of the month so you don’t miss a thing 

 

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The Diary of A University Cheerleader starts tomorrow

Tomorrow we debut our first entry from the Diary of a University Cheerleader featuring Nottingham Trent tigers. We are so excited to be following them this season and show what it truly means to be a University cheerleader.

The diary of a university cheerleader

 

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University Cheerleaders we want you !!!

University Cheerleading is an important part of the Cheer From Head To Toe family.
It’s where my journey began and so many others as well.
You would be surprised to see how many university athletes went on to start successful Cheerleading programmes.
Last year we began of “The Diary of University Cheerleader” and it was a great success.
We are back again, but this year we want you guys to select our featured team for the 2018-2019 season.
All you have to do is email Cheerfromheadtotoe@gmail.com
After we select our finalists, it will be up to you guys to choose the winner.
We will post the pictures of our finalist and the picture that gets the most likes will be the feature team for the 2018-2019 season.
So what are you waiting for ….

closing date for entries is the 3rd of July at 6pm

university cheerleader promo poster

 

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The diary of University Cheerleader

 

 

Welcome to our fourth edition of our Diary of a University Cheerleader. The past six weeks have been such an emotional rollercoaster. Managing my university workload, two part-time jobs, my All-Star team, numerous injuries and coaching the Vixens has been TOUGH. Most of our ladies are juggling heavy workloads, which does take its toll. That’s what makes our sport and our team that much more special. We can lean on each other and rely on one another to pick each other up.

Firstly, I’ll go over what made these past six weeks so busy. And then I’ll divulge into what we’re all here for, Future Cheer University Nationals 2018.

Let’s start with Charity.

Jodie, our Charity Officer had her hands full in January. We had a lot going on. Firstly, we had our monthly fundraiser.

I’m sure a lot of you saw over Christmas, thanks to the Cheer Community being so amazing, on Christmas Day, a lovely Cheerleader named Abbie Main lost her life at such a young age due to Sarcoma. Abbie was a Liberty Athletic Ambassador, as am I. Receiving the news of her passing was absolutely heart-breaking. Knowing Abbie was so passionate about cheerleading, we had all 3 of our teams come to training dressed in pink and sparkly attire. We raised almost £50 which has gone towards building Abbie’s Sparkle Foundation. It’s fantastic to see that Abbie has now touched the lives of so many cheerleaders up and down the country. If you want to donate, the link is:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/abbiessparklefoundation?utm_id=107&utm_term=5b5vQEV3n

chester vixen Abbie

Secondly, we hosted the Super Bowl in our Students Union. We started with the weekly SU Quiz which Jodie put together, of course with an American theme. One of our members, Alex, was really keen to get involved and be the MC of the quiz as she’s American, and in her words the Super Bowl “is like a national holiday”. I don’t know about anyone else, but we certainly enjoyed her handiwork behind the mic. We had a number of other themed games and drinks that we organised throughout the evening. All the proceeds went to B.I.R.D, a local brain injury rehabilitation charity.

 

Chester Vixen ShowcaseNext came our annual showcase. This was bigger and better than any showcase we had put on before. We booked out the auditorium and transported our mats across campus (which again, was no easy task). Once the mats were all set up and we were all warm, the audience came in. We had no idea what the turnout was going to be, but it was brilliant, it was packed! Each Captain said a little piece about their team and their routine, and each team performed twice. As Club Captain, I was in awe with what our athletes had produced. Everyone seemed to be having the time of their lives out on the mat which is all I could have asked for. The audience loved it. Timing was fantastic, execution was solid, performance was on fire. I was left speechless. Each Captain was beaming from ear to ear with pride. Before the showcase, we were all a bit on edge with how Future Cheer was going to go, but after those performances, we were ready. Jodie had also arranged a raffle and again, all the proceeds went towards the charity B.I.R.D. Between the Showcase and the Super Bowl, we ultimately raised £300!

Chester Vixen Community Clean UpFollowing on from our Showcase success, ten of our ladies took the streets of Chester one wet Saturday morning, to take part in the Community Clean Up, arranged by our Students Union. Most students don’t stay in Chester all year round, but during term time, it is their home. Therefore, it’s super important we acknowledge that we are a part of the community, and are responsible for what goes on. Especially since Chester is such a lovely city, we want to keep it that way!

 

Chester Vixen LGBT History MonthIn case you didn’t know, February is LGBT+ history month. One of our Social Secs, David, has been busy organising events with the LGBT Society here at Chester throughout the month. To further show our support, during Cheer’s last session before Future Cheer we had a coloured theme training session, where each stunt group wore a different colour. Not only was it great to do this for a cause, but it’s always fun to have a themed session.

Prep Squad

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Unlike Pom and Cheer, Prep Squad hadn’t been feeling the pressure of competing. That doesn’t mean they haven’t been working hard. If anything, the showcase allowed them to reflect upon what is achievable if they really dedicated themselves to it. I know I say it a lot, but the improvement from Prep Squad since October is phenomenal. I recently coached a tumbling session for them, and their technique has improved so much. There were more people willing to try harder skills and even some new skills were achieved!

One member I’m particularly impressed by is Emilie. Emilie’s also on Cheer and is an exceptional gymnast, I love to watch her tumble. However, like many people, Emilie had experienced a mental block all year with backwards tumbling. Knowing she had the skills, technique and flexibility to perform a backwards walkover was so frustrating as a coach. We took it week by week. I supported Emilie as much as she wanted me to, in order for her to trust me and my judgement. We then had a 1:1 session where I took her back to basics. I wouldn’t let her progress until she could do a backbend, a bridge with one leg in the air and then a kick-over individually and independently. Of course, this got boring for Emilie because she can do them easy. That’s the key with mental blocks. When she was ready, I supported her backwards walkover with full support, then with a little bit of support, with the support of my “super strong” little finger, and finally none at all. I kept reassuring Emilie that it looked technically correct, that it was safe, and that I had no doubts that she could do it by herself. Then came the magic, Emilie did it by herself. Bit by bit, I took another step away from her, until I was stood nowhere near her and she was performing her walkover independently, consistently and beautifully. As you can probably tell, this is the first mental block I’ve dealt with and overcome as a coach, and I’m super proud!

However, Emilie is not the only member of Prep Squad! Here’s what Captain Summer had to say about Prep Squad’s progression in 2018:

 

1510089251509.jpg“I have been extremely proud of the progress Prep Squad has made not only in their performances but in their confidence levels. It has been amazing to see the team become the sassy individuals I knew they would become. We have successfully attended Home and Away basketball games and taken part in our Charity Showcase. The girls were nervous about the showcase but really enjoyed bonding with all three teams and being able to support each other. Following the success of the showcase we are looking to advance our routine ready for the final basketball games!”

Training

Chester VixenArmy themeThere had been some great sessions, and some tough sessions. But as someone once said, it’s the tough sessions that bring the team closer together. During one of our sessions after coming back from Christmas, I had arranged for Cheer to come dressed in army theme. I had one of my cheesy motivational talks, attempting to be stern but motivating as Future Cheer was just around the corner. I said, “if ever you start to lose focus during this training session, look down at what you’re wearing, because this is war”. For whatever reason, it was safe to say it was a fantastic training session.

After the showcase, we were absolutely buzzing for Future Cheer, both Cheer and Pom. The week before Future Cheer, we had one last full team session, where Cheer, Pom and Prep Squad ran on offs with each other. Performing to your teammates is so much better than performing to yourself in the mirror. Afterwards, we felt pumped. All of our hard work, extra sessions, extended sessions, one to ones, injuries, blood, sweat and tears all finally felt worth it.

Chester Vixen On offs

Future Cheer

The time had come, the weekend was upon us. As always, I managed to pull off a putting on a full face of make-up, eyeliner and false lashes included, on the coach journey from Chester to Birmingham. I also had a little surprise gift for everyone, a velvet coat hanger that had a bow shape in it, to put uniforms on. Nothing major, but it’s the thought that counts…

We arrived at the arena as the doors opened. It took nearly half an hour for us all to get in after security and bag checks. I then had 15minutes to settle us in seats, go to the toilet and put my uniform on before the coaches meeting. Straight after the coaches meeting we were meeting to warm up for Group Stunt. It was all systems go on the Saturday! Knowing we were in a division of twenty (that’s right T.W.E.N.T.Y), we were really nervous as it was our first time entering Group Stunt. Millie had suffered a recent injury in one of her shoulders, so we watered down our half up to extension to just a straight up. But after seeing the size of the division, she was debating putting it back in. After trying it in warm up, we all agreed to just keep the routine as it was and be as clean as possible. Stood in holding, we were all doing our weird nervous tendencies. Amy was looking into space, Millie made sure she had thoroughly clapped for everyone and I was doing my dad dancing. We did our awkward sway, our prayer and break before going on. We’re quite superstitious so wanted to make sure all bases we covered.

Chester Vixen Group StuntIt’s safe to say it wasn’t the cleanest we’d ever performed that routine. We were all a little disappointed, but the experience of competing All Girl Level 2 Group Stunt is something we will all be able to share. We were aiming for top ten, and got 9th place. We achieved what we wanted, and after only a handful of full training sessions, we did pretty well.

 

 

 

 

After awards, we went on a wild goose chase to the hotel. It took about an hour, which we later found out could have taken us about 10 minutes. We’ll call it team building. We live and we learn!

Then came Day 2. Everyone was competing that day, so you could tell people were more on their toes. We had a lovely breakfast provided by the hotel and then headed off to the arena (which took significantly less time than it had the day before).

Chester vixen FC PomFirst up was Pom. We met for warm up, did our usual, then headed to official warm up. Most of the team are first years, so were all really excited to perform which was great. I was doing the music so got to see the routine from the front and centre. It was magnificent. Everyone was enjoying themselves, they all had smiles on their faces from start to finish, and they executed the routine marvellously.

For some reason awards were in the foyer this year. Pom were in a tough division, a large division of sixteen. There were some really talented teams and some amazing choreography. Due to Future Cheer’s online system, I knew our scores, but I didn’t know them in relation to any other teams. We were called in thirteenth place. Again, it was slightly disappointing for the team as they had just performed an outstanding routine. Captain Ellen was quite upset, blaming herself and her choreography. But as I said to her, she’s an amazing dancer and talented choreographer, but she’s new to Pom, so there are bound to be some teething issues. The only thing to do now is to look at the scoresheet and use it to upgrade the routine ready for our next competition.

I was keeping our Activities Manager in the Student’s Union up-to-date throughout the weekend. Ninth and thirteenth place aren’t usually what we come away with from Future Cheer. I said to her, “I really hope this isn’t a pattern forming for Cheer later”.

Chester Vixen FC Cheer

The time came around for Cheer to warm up. I explained the system as for most of the team, this was their first time competing. I explained how we have to be focused and on it. Checking into warm up was all fine until one of the official guys told me that athletes aren’t allowed to have jewellery taped up, it had to be taken out. Whilst I had mentioned in at training and in Facebook posts, it was something I had overlooked as I just assumed it was obvious. Lots of the girls were getting quite flustered, taking our piercings and going to the medics to have awkward ones taken out. Nevertheless, it turned out to be one of the strongest warm ups I had ever experienced. Everyone was hitting, jumps and tumbles were in time, we were pumped.

As we were stood in holding another official reminded me again that jewellery had to be taken out. We had one more jewellery whip round. We did our awkward sway, our motivational speech, our prayer and break. There was nothing more we could have done at that moment. We ran onto the mat, I set it, the music started, muscle memory kicked in and it was all a blur. After the last count of the dance section, the team went wild. We hit, we performed, we slayed. Most importantly, we enjoyed ourselves. We saw the instant replay and saw that we had one bobble in our stunt section. I am however very happy that the stunt group had listened to me and been smart with how they brought it down, making it a bobble, not a fall. Overall, we were confident.

 

I then looked at my phone. I’d received an email saying we had incurred 3.5 points worth of deductions. I quietly asked my Vice, Millie, to follow me over to the judges table where infractions were discussed. The 0.5 was the bobble, which we had anticipated. The 3 points were for safety due to jewellery. Our hearts sank. Emotions were running high. We were feelings utter heat-break mixed with rage. We had just thrown away three points. I saw our score, 112/140. For a Level 1 team, 112 was still pretty strong. It was two points higher than our winning score last year so we were feeling cautiously optimistic. Awards came around, again, out in the foyer. Future Cheer, if you’re listening, please put our awards back on the mat…

We were in a division of nine. It got to fifth place, we still hadn’t been called. I potentially cut off the circulation to whosever hand I was holding/squeezing. We were called in third place. I put on a smile and picked up our trophy and clapped for second and first place. Five years running we’d won national champs. Had our deductions not had changed the rankings, we would be ok in the knowledge there was nothing more we could have done. Going off raw scores, we would have come first. We would have had our sixth consecutive Future Cheer University National Title. People asked what the deductions were for and I said we’ll talk about it next training session. However, someone caught on that it could have been because of jewellery and it spread like wildfire. It was a weird atmosphere on the bus back. What could have been…

HOWEVER, we placed THIRD at a national competition. That’s impressive. Not only that, but for most of the team, it was their first cheerleading competition. Myself and Millie are so proud at what we as a team produced. From where we were in October, people not knowing what a prep was, to now, third place at nationals, it’s phenomenal. Onwards and upwards from here!

Having been national champions for so long, there was bound to be a time that came to an end. Not surprisingly, we’ve had a bit of backlash for it, there’s been a lot of negative talk towards us. Most of which has not been from the cheer community. But try telling any of the winter Olympics athletes that their third-place medal wasn’t good enough, you’d be wrong!

So, we went into Future Cheer with some aims and goals that we didn’t achieve. It wasn’t the weekend we expected. We live and we learn. Nonetheless, we all had a spectacular time at Future Cheer, and enjoyed performing so much! There’s definitely a positive to be found there.

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Next Time

Over the next few weeks we have ICC coming up, we’re training in an actual Cheer gym for the first time, and we have Varsity (where our University go head to head against another university in sport). We also participated in the making of the Varsity video. That was fun and we can’t wait to share it with you. Prep Squad and Pom are also performing during International Women’s Day. And finally, we will be having our AGM where we will be voting in the new committee for 2018/19 – exciting stuff!

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A Diary of University Cheerleader

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1510085466209.jpgWhat a year we’ve had! We’re back once again to show you what the Chester Vixens have been up to over the past couple of months. December was such a whirlwind. We were only in university for 2 weeks but so much happened in that short space of time!

 

 

 

Charity

Sponsored SleepoutWe kicked off December with Chester Aid to The Homeless’ Sponsored Sleep Out, which we participate in every year. We were absolutely overwhelmed with the number of members we had take part this year. Nearly 30 of us took to a Chester

carpark at 10pm on a Friday night, with a sleeping bag and woolly hat.  This year was tough as it rained quite heavily, but most of us stuck it out until the end (6am the following morning). It was such a grounding experience. It was tough for us, knowing we had a hot shower and warm bed to go home to, but for many people, this is their life. We ended up raising over £800 for the charity, which was fantastic!

Nativity

 

Our second charitable event of the month was our monthly fundraiser. For the past two years now, we’ve dressed up as characters from the nativity. It’s always a laugh. This year we did it in aid of Team Unlimbited, and raised just over £100. That money went towards making customised prosthetic limbs for 4 children.

Circuits

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Every Friday our Sport and Active Lifestyle team put on a weekly circuit training session. It’s perfect for us as we don’t have enough time in our sessions to dedicate to conditioning. And as we all know, love it or hate it, conditioning is vital! The last circuits session of the year was Christmas themed. Our Prep Squad member Maja won a prize for being one of the best dressed attendees in her Christmas Tree outfit, and we also won a group prize for attending weekly. It was great for the girls to get some recognition for attending. After work, university and training all week, circuits isn’t the first thing I want to be doing on a Friday evening either. But to get a box of chocolates out of it, definitely made it worthwhile! As a sport so heavily based on teamwork, it’s essential that we are training to be the best we can be, not only for ourselves but for our teammates. So those that turn up week in, week out have definitely shown their dedication to the team.

Circuits

In house Christmas Showcase

Showcase

Our penultimate event of the year was our Christmas showcase. This isn’t something we’ve done before, as our routines are never quite ready by this point. However, we wanted to give our members more opportunities to perform before going out on the competition mat. And what better environment for your first performance than in front of your own club? Whilst the routines were still shaky, with some timing issues and bobbles, it was great to actually perform the routine to someone. From a coach’s perspective, it was handy to see how people perform and what issues we may be facing. It also enabled the athletes to realise how much work needs to be put in between now and comp. We went over the feedback from our Christmas showcase at our first session back after Christmas, and I have used that to plan our sessions between now and our first competition.

Christmas Meal

Lastly, we had our Christmas meal. It was lovely to see everyone dressed up nicely, instead of in their gym wear (how we normally see each other). Each month we’ve been awarding “Vixen of the month” to a member of each team, and at the meal we gave out medals for these. We also gave out awards to the member of each team that has had the highest percentage of involvement in the club. As a university sports team, it’s not just about the training and competitions. There’s also a high emphasis on community involvement and charity fundraising. We’ve been struggling to get the full club involved in these extra-curricular (for a better phrase) activities. It’s difficult as a committee member, when you spend a lot of time organising and planning these events, for only 10 people to participate, when you have a club of over 60 members. We came up with the idea of awarding the members with the highest involvement each term, and awarding the team with the highest involvement over the year. I’m not entirely sure it’ll improve things, but I guess only time will tell.

New Uniforms

We kicked January off with our new uniform reveals. This is something everyone has been excited about. Whilst it has been really stressful at times it was all worth it. We look much more like a cheer team now in our training t-shirts. They may not be All Star quality, but they’re not bad for being on a budget. Big thanks to Great British Bows for the bow and t-shirt deal!

Prep Squad were over the moon with their new uniforms (which are the uniforms Cheer have been wearing to competitions for the past 5 years). They were also able to show it off at a charity showcase hosted by our Pole Fitness Society. They are from Cheer World UK.

Pom’s uniforms are due to arrive shortly. The team have already been shown the design and are all eager to receive them.

For the first time we also had a male uniform made, which David loved!

Cheer was the big one. It was difficult to get a design that not only everyone will like and afford, but one that everyone would feel comfortable wearing. We got our uniforms from Pink Fudge with a great deal. They were really affordable for a uniform. To save money however, we chose to add rhinestones ourselves. Whilst extremely time consuming, it really makes a difference. We had the whole team sit in a circle whilst our Treasurer, Hannah, begun handing out the t-shirts. Then, myself and Millie emerged from the cupboard wearing the new uniforms. We hadn’t shown anyone so we were really nervous for the response. However, everybody seemed to really like them, so we can’t wait for the first opportunity to show them off as a team. We also made a really cheesy uniform reveal video at the Eastgate Clock. For video evidence, follow this link:

 

Super Team

Super Team

Again, in our first week back, we participated in the annual Super Team. This is an event our Students Union host where all the university’s sports teams come together and battle it out over several fitness tests. This year, Cheerleading performed phenomenally. We had two individual wins. Maja from Prep Squad won the plank, with an amazing time of Five minutes and twenty six  seconds, against the likes of rowing. And I myself (Rachel) won the sit and reach with a score of fifty nine. The scale ended at sixty , so I was slightly disappointed I didn’t pass that, but I hit my nose on the board, what’s a girl to do? The team challenge was to pull a truck as fast as we can over a distance of around 5-10m (my internal ruler isn’t fantastic). We chose 6 of our strongest to endure the truck pull. It was a lot easier than we first thought. We even placed 4th in the team truck pull! Again, showing that cheerleading is a sport to be reckoned with.

Prep Squad

1510089251509.jpgHere’s what Prep Squad Captain Summer had to say about Prep Squad over the past month:

“Prep Squad’s routine has been getting better and better with every performance. We still need to work on cleaning up and focusing on smiling throughout the performance. We have really enjoyed the basketball games attending both Home and Away games we look forward to games starting back up again, and the arrival of our new uniforms. Our aims for the upcoming months are to work on sharpening movements, performance faces and general fitness”

Overall

With less than two months until competition, Pom and Cheer are really feeling the heat. After the performances at the Christmas Showcase, teams are realising just how hard we need to work to repeat the successes of last season. Hopefully this shows in attendance and efforts during training. We’re really into the thick of it with university work as well. It’s really starting to take a toll on our members and committee, myself included. I’m finding myself with little sympathy now when members tell me they can’t attend training due to university work and being busy. I myself am studying a Masters degree, alongside my All-Star team, two jobs and planning the Vixens sessions also. Time management is key, and a great skill to take to any job in the future.

Join us again at the end of the month where we’ll discuss more about our facilities, sponsorship, team photos and more.

Make sure to keep updated on our Social Media platforms in the meantime

(Facebook: Chester Vixens, Instagram: @uoccheerleading).

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The Diary of a University Cheerleader

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1510085466209.jpg“Here we are, back again with our second edition to show you what the Chester Vixens have been up to over the month of November.”

Cheer All Girl Level one 

All in all, training has been going really well. The stunt groups are strong, the athletes are all picking up the terminology and stunts brilliantly and we’re getting new skills each week. People are really pushing themselves, it’s great! The main issues we are facing is attendance and focus. Many of these athletes have only been cheerleaders for the past two months, and therefore haven’t yet mastered the cheerleading – life balance. We’ve had a lot of absences recently. Some absences are genuine, but others don’t realise that we can see them on Facebook. So when they say they’re too ill to turn up and just watch a session, we can see that they’ve just been tagged in a post on Facebook, having a great time at someone’s birthday celebrations… Absences can be really disheartening as a coach. Why do we spend so much time planning sessions, aiming to be the best team, when the team don’t give us their best? Especially when I too have a degree and a dissertation to complete. It’s really easy to get caught up in the negativity, so a lot of the time I have to take a step back to remember why I do this in the first place. And the people that do turn up to training week in week out, they see the benefits, and they are becoming fantastic cheerleaders!

Here is what Millie, our Vice Club Captain had to say about what she’s been up to recently:

1510085248135.jpgShe said: “One of my main roles as Vice-Captain has been the music. As many of you will know, the right music can make or break the overall vibe of the routine, and as I often point out, if my cheer music doesn’t make me feel like I could lift a car it’s not the one for me! For the past few months I’ve been working hard to source reasonably priced voiceovers and production companies which has not been easy. Saying that however, it has been really fun to dig out some great tunes. I’m excited to get our choreography so I can start piecing it together”

Pom

Unfortunately, I train with my All-Star team during Pom’s training session, so I never get a chance to visit their training sessions. However, Millie (Vice Captain) attends them regularly and the Pom Captains post progress videos each week so the girls can go and practise at home. Ellen and India (Pom Captains) have really thought outside the box this year with the routine. It’s looking really good. Here’s what Ellen has to say about her experience so far as

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“With an aim to have the whole routine choreographed by the Christmas holidays, my role as Pom Captain alongside India has included many hours focusing on formations and inspiration for our routine. We’ve been looking at different dance styles to create a vibrant and visually effective routine for competition, while keeping in with Pom style of Dance.

“Time-management as a committee member is hard. Working 20 hours a week and doing my university work can get very stressful. However, I look forward to Pom sessions and enjoy the choreography. As a committee member I have also helped with fundraising towards our uniforms which are going to be a big pay out this close to Christmas! But it’s worth it! In a few years it will be a great memento of my university cheer days! I love cheer and it makes university easier as having a focus away from studies can be a real help.”

Prep Squad

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Over November I’ve been attending more of Prep Squad’s sessions. Whilst Pom and Cheer don’t have its first competition until February, Prep Squad start performing at the end of November. Therefore, training sessions have been very packed in order to be ready to perform at the Men’s Basketball game during half time. Maybe because Prep Squad aren’t my sole responsibility, but I feel a lot less anxious attending Prep Squad’s training sessions. I’m not their first port of call as they have two team Captains, and there’s no pressure with competitions. In the sessions I have attended, I’ve helped clean up the routine and created the stunting and tumbling section of the routine (new to Prep Squad this year). The girls really seem to enjoy themselves and I really hope all their hard work pays off in their first performance. I know Summer and Deena (Prep Squad Captains) are getting a little stressed as performance day is getting closer, but I’ll definitely be there at the fronting shouting the counts and motions on the day.

New Uniforms

Myself and Millie didn’t realise just how time consuming the entire uniform process would be. Cheer have had the same uniforms for the past five years, so we thought it was about time for an update. However, the process to do so was something we could never have imagined. You have to shop around for the best deal, taking into consideration student budgets; you have to agree on a design, which was no easy task; you have to take into consideration every single body shape in order for everyone to feel comfortable; and finally get a sample made and continue making alterations until you are happy. It probably took about six months, but we got there!

Pom just seemed to find a design they liked really quickly, and then liked the first sample they had made. They were easily pleased. Which in this case, is definitely a good thing!

In previous years Prep Squad have worn t-shirts and skirts because they haven’t needed a proper uniform as they don’t compete. However, since we were rebranding Prep Squad this year, we thought it only fair for them to have a new uniform too. Therefore, Prep Squad have adopted Cheer’s previous uniform.

The first task of getting all the uniforms sorted was finally done. Then it came to sizing everyone. It was a tedious task, but didn’t take long. The next task was getting everyone to pay by the deadline. You’d think a team of university students, always writing to deadlines would take a payment deadline in their stride. Oh no. These guys must be the students writing right up to the deadline. It was quite stressful checking the payment list every 10 minutes.

Another uniform change we’ve made in training t-shirts. Usually we get grey hoodies made with our names and “Chester Vixens Cheerleading” on. They’re great. However, with the new look we’re going for, we wanted to add some new training tops instead. That way we’d look uniform for choreography day and when we post videos online. And if nothing else it’s easier to get ready for training as you know exactly what you have to wear.

Uniform Fundraiser

As we all know as cheerleaders, uniforms don’t come cheap. Cheer’s uniforms are the most expensive, closely followed by Pom and then Prep Squad’s are the cheapest. We offered returning members of Cheer the opportunity to sell on their uniforms to Prep Squad. That way they’d be saving money on the new uniform. The second thing we had planned to save money was a fundraising event at a local night club. Each Captain told their team about the event and what the event was for. Since the money was going towards Cheer and Pom’s uniforms, we knew we couldn’t ask Prep Squad to take the time out of their evening to help us, but it would be nice of them to get involved somehow. Out of the 40 members on Pom and Cheer that could have attended, only 13 showed up, including committee. We ended up raising less than half of our target. We were so disappointed in the team. As we didn’t raise much money, there was no way we could have put it towards the uniforms. We have instead put it aside to go towards training facilities in the run up to competitions instead. We did also get a little something for the members that did help out too, to show them that their dedication did not go unnoticed.

Choreography

24257666_10155930123494122_136205327_nChoreography day came around so fast. We had really pushed the girls in training, practising every Level 1 stunt possible, just in case we were given it. Whilst myself and Millie were nervous, we had complete faith in our athletes for choreography day. The day was held in a different location to our normal training sessions, so we had to turn up at 8am (in the snow) and transport our mats across campus – which was no easy task! It probably took us 30 to 40 minutes to transport the mats and get them set up. As we were warming up, our Choreographer, Lorraine, arrived. Just from seeing us warm up she commented on how strong the team looked.

Choreography day was on my birthday. Since we were there from 8am-6pm, I wasn’t really able to celebrate. However, during our lunch break, Millie came in with this huge cake and everyone sang Happy Birthday. I was so humbled and grateful as it was the last thing I was expecting. It’s the small things like this that really bring a team closer together.

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It was a long, hard day. Most of the girls had never cheered before coming to university, and perhaps didn’t realise the pure physical and mental endurance needed. Many people started to lose focus and feel disheartened when their stunts weren’t hitting. Cheerleading is all about resilience, how well you can pick yourself back up and carry on with the next thing, how you can leave that bobble in the past and hit the next stunt. It’s the hard sessions that really bring the team together. So I’m hoping to see a new level of focus at our next training session.

Other events we’ve been involved with

Christmas Light Switch On

24331129_10155930133084122_1027837780_nThe Garden Quarter is a small area around the university, where many students live. It is however highly residential as well. Each year they have a small Christmas Light Switch On Event which sees the local primary school, choirs and orchestras perform. We were lucky enough to be invited to perform as well. Only a handful of our members were able to perform, and due to it being such a small stage, we had to come up with a completely new routine. It only lasted a minute, and probably wasn’t one of our most impressive routines, but the crowd seemed to really enjoy it. All in all, a success! We were really impressed with the girls who performed as well, considering they learnt the routine in just two hours.

Christmas Card

Each year the University puts out a Christmas card which is signed off by our Vice-Chancellor. There is a physical card and then an online animated card too. For the first time this year, a sports club has been asked to be the face of the Christmas Card. We were that sports club! We had to choreograph yet another small routine for the Christmas Card, and perform it numerous times outside in the cold, but it was all worth it! The card is getting sent all over the world so it’s such a privilege to involved.

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Overall 

We’re getting into the thick of it now. Teams are drilling their routines, everyone has become closer and more people are getting involved in our events. We’re finally seeing our hard work begin to pay off. We have some more charity fundraising coming up which we’ll be able to share in our next edition, as well as our in-house showcase and uniform reveals. We’ll also be running full outs of our routines, and will have a better idea of how well we’ll do come competition season.

Thanks again for reading,

Rachel

Thank you Rachel for giving us an honest reality of uni cheer and showing us what strength it takes to be a university cheerleader.

 We can’t wait for next month edition 🙂 

 

 

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