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

 

Trophy - S&G

 

 

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 Team England Para Athlete Chris Roberts

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Name: Chris Roberts 

Team :  England ParaCheer Team: Unified Advance

Role: Base/Backspot

Age: 23

Disability : Type 1 diabetes

Career Goal/s: 

Represent my country on a world stage and show what England can put out in terms of cheer and Paracheer.

Insta – chris.cheer

Share something that makes you happy:

Helping and seeing people achieve their goals or overcome obstacles. When I got diagnosed with diabetes I had a lot of support from my family as I took the news very hard and felt like I wouldn’t be able to do anything. Now that I am older and have seen what I can do, I want to be there for others who may struggle and help them overcome whatever is stopping them. To see that person achieve what they once thought impossible is the best feeling and definitely brings a smile to my face.

 

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

Team England Para Hip HopThat’s a hard one as I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone can put out. but if I had to choose one it would be hip-hop. I cant dance for toffee but if I could I would want to be able to do hip hop so seeing what those guys can do would be awesome!

 

How many years of experience do you have? 

I have been doing cheer since I was about 17, so I now have 6 years under my belt.

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

I’ve been part of a lot of small local teams. I started out on Plymouth Elite, a small level 3 open senior team and then joined the level 2 university team, Plymouth Storm as well. I also took on the mantle of health and safety for Storm and eventually President. I was then asked to step in for another local academy called Pride Renegades competing at senior level 1. Eventually Plymouth Elite and Pride Renegades merged to create the programme I am in now, Power Athletics.

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

I was quite nervous as I came from quite a small team and wasn’t really sure what was in store on the day. However when I arrived and met the coaches and other athletes I immediately felt relaxed. It was fun to move through all aspects of Paracheer, cheering was completely new to me but I really enjoyed it and had a great laugh with the others. When we went on to tumble I didn’t have any level appropriate tumble but I did the tumbles I could and asked how I could make them better. Stunting was another aspect I was worried about. I hadn’t done much partner stunting prior to tryouts so felt I may not be able to achieve what some of the other guys could, but once we started I calmed down, listened to what the coach was telling me to do, and did what I could. I managed to perform some skills that I hadn’t done before and found I was determined to not give up until I hit the skills I was trying.

Your favourite memory from being a part of Team England ParaCheer

I find this really hard to answer as every session with the team is amazing and full of great things. However, one thing that i’ve found at every session is the strong sense of family and team work. Bonding as a team and feeling that family vibe, that we all look out for each other and care for each other and seeing little things that show this, joking with each other, sharing food or drink if others need it and the overwhelming amount of concern and care if any athlete gets injured, that’s a memory that will stick with me.

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

I think a long running ‘tradition’ that has been started probably makes me smile most, especially as it often happens to one athlete more than any other. If an athlete stands with hands on hips and you manage to clap through the loop created, they then have to standing tuck, flic or backward roll. Some of the coaches have even been caught and had to show off their tumble skills!

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

I am currently doing my PT course, so seeing the adaptions for warm ups and workouts and how it allows the athletes to all train together are really interesting. I stunt with athletes in wheelchairs in our routine, so learning how to adjust my technique has been an experience I never thought I’d have. It has really shown me how important communication is in the sport and really pushed that understanding one another is key. Everyone is different, so what works for one person may not for the other, its all about communicating, adapting and overcoming. Also seeing adaptions for tumble has been really eye opening, realising that with some little changes or support, tumbles are still achievable.

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

Looking back on the days I now realise that you needn’t be scared to tryout. Trying out is a great way to learn new things and meet new people, and if you don’t make it on the team, you come away with some great experiences and knowledge. The best way to treat try outs is just like any other training session and put in 100% and leave it all on the mat.

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

Everything! I’ll miss the other athletes as I don’t really live near anyone and have to travel a long way to get to any of their gyms. Im going to miss training together and how we trained as well. I loved doing the long hours of cheer every other Sunday and always came away from the sessions with a sense of achievement. I’ll miss the coaches a lot, they are a great team and their knowledge is amazing! They made me laugh but also knew when to take things seriously and get our heads back into training mode!

What are you most excited to experience at Worlds 2018?

This will be my first experience of Worlds, so I am excited for it all! To be in such a big venue with such talented athletes and teams will be amazing. Getting to see first-hand the routines that everyone has been working hard for and drilling for the chance to take home the mantle of World Champions will be such a highlight for me this year! I have a feeling I will have a shopping list of items from my local team that they will want me to bring back for them as well, so going around buying things for them will be really enjoyable!

 

I hope you enjoyed this and stay tune for Our next interview tomorrow.

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Celebrating all things Team England !!

Today is the day that Team England Coed, All girl, Team England Para Cheer, Para Pom , Hip Hop and Free style Pom take to the floor. To celebrate this amazing achievement we will be posting their routines from 2016 to get us pumped for the epic performances we are about to see today.

 

 

 

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CFHTT interview with Team England Para Cheer athlete Gwenllian Evans

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Name: Gwenllian Evans (Gwen)

Which Team: Team England ParaCheer

Role: Flyer

Age: 24

Disability: I had a haemorrhagic stroke in 2014, when I was 21, due to a rare congenital disorder which gives me an abnormal tangle of blood vessels in my brain that are very fragile and prone to rupture. This happened to me just after a cheer training session, and gave me a brain haemorrhage! The stroke led to cognitive and learning difficulties, which makes it very hard to keep up with the pace on non-disabled teams. My physical and mental concentration is limited to about 20 minutes, after which my brain will “reset” and I space out for a bit – sometimes even in the middle of a stunt. In addition, the thing in my brain that caused me to have a stroke is still there and I am at risk of having another stroke if I invert, raise the pressure in my neck/brain too much, have too much repeated impact and move my neck too fast. This means no inverted stunts, no baskets, no tumbles, no jumps and limited dance movement for me!

Career Goal: I’m a medical student at King’s College London. I’m about to qualify as a doctor in July 2017, and since I was 6 I have always wanted to specialise as a neurosurgeon. Now that I have become a neurosurgical patient myself, I can’t NOT be a neurosurgeon!

18033032_10154294634957063_6106444174357547254_nShare something that makes you happy: Cheer, baking, my friends and family!

Share something most people don’t know about you: I have really long arms! Even though I’m shorter than my bases I can reach high enough to be their backspot.

How many years’ cheer/dance experience do you have? I started at University in 2010.

Which cheer/dance teams are you part of or have you been part of in the past? Kings College London (KCL) Lions (University team) from 2010 – 2014 and London City Stars from 2013 until mid-2014. My stroke happened 6 months into being on this team.

Why did you want to join Team England ParaCheer/Pom?
I was devastated when my cheer career was ended by something I did not decide on. When my surgeons gave me the go ahead to start light exercise again, I knew I would never be able to cheer properly ever again – so I started coaching instead. But it really, really hurt to be watching cheer and not doing cheer! I was so inspired by the great things TEPC was doing for other people in a similar situation to me and thought it would be an amazing thing to be a part of. I did get offered a place on Team England ParaCheer last year, but I couldn’t commit due to university exams.

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What’s your favourite part of being on Team England ParaCheer/Pom? 17992142_10154704942401633_1747350993727036203_nSeeing the joy on all of the athletes’ faces when we achieve skills and stunts we never thought we would have the opportunity to even try.

Are there any stunt/technique adaptations you make which you find especially interesting? Any adaptations that have been made for the wheelchair users – especially full ups!

What have you learnt while being a part of this team? How much potential every single one of us has – and there are ways to unlock them all by being creative, no matter what the disability or not.

What are you most excited to experience at Worlds 2017? The feeling of walking onto the Worlds mat and seeing Worlds from the other side of the banner and curtains!

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