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 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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CFHTT interview with Team England Para Pom athlete Abi Mellor

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Name Abi Mellor
Team  : Team England ParaCheer Freestyle Pom
Age : 20
Disability: Scoliosis
Career Goal: Successful Cheer and Dance Coach
Share something that makes you happy
Family and friends definitely make me happy. They help me with everything in my life and what I do would not be possible without them! Also coaching my younger teams makes me very happy, seeing them progress week by week and enjoy what they’re doing is very rewarding.
Which Para Team are you most excited to see and why? 
 I am looking forward to seeing all the ParaCheer teams however I’m really looking forward to see all of Team USA’s ParaCheer Teams.
How many years of experience do you have? 
 I have 11 years of cheerleading and dance experience.
Which teams are you currently a part of or have been part of in the past
I am currently apart of Rayz All-Stars Cheerleading Team as well as Team  England ParaCheer Freestyle Pom.
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What was it like when you attended try-outs for Team England Para Pom ? 
The standard of talent at tryouts was amazing, I remember stood there thinking was out of my depth. I have experience in Cheer and dance but I had never actually been on a Pom team!
Everyone was really lovely and was working together to practice and remember choreography which was nice and made me feel more at ease. It gave me a good idea of what training was going to be like if I was successful too, hard work but still fun.
Your favourite memory from being a part of Team England Para Pom 
My favourite memory with the team would be our first showcase which was at BCA Nationals. It was our first time showing the rest of the UK our routine and we were all nervous but we pulled it off as a team and the feeling at the end of that routine was something I can’t describe!
Describe the funniest thing that’s happen to you while you were at training
Since I’ve met the team we’ve always been laughing and joking and doing silly stuff. From bringing odd shoes or falling over and I’m pretty sure they’ll be more to come when were at worlds too!
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What advice would you give to someone who was scared to try-out for Team England Para this
My advice to anyone that is scared to tryout, don’t be!
Everyone is so welcoming and the whole team is just like a family, everyone supports you whether you have a disability or not and your not treated any differently.
The amount of fun we have at training as well as hard work is not something to be missed!
After Worlds, what will you miss about Team England Para and why
 I will miss the coaches and the team as whole. Over the months running up to worlds we have all become so close and formed real friendships, that I hope will last. It’s going to be very strange not seeing them!
What are you most excited to experience at Worlds 2018?
I am most excited about representing my country at worlds with my amazing team, from being a little girl I never thought I would see the day I would be there actually competing!
Im excited to actually be there and watch all the teams I am usually watching on my laptop screen.
TEPC
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CFHTT interview with Team England Para Hip Hop Athlete Rebecca Fowler

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Name Rebecca Fowler

Team: Team England ParaCheer Hip Hop

Role: Athlete 

Age: 34

Disability: Multiple Sclerosis

Share something that makes you happy:

My two wonderful children make me very happy

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

I’m excited to see Team England ParaCheer perform as I haven’t seen any of their routine yet and am interested to see the wheelchair partner stunts.

How many years of experience do you have?   Less than a year.  

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

None. I am a member of FreeWheelin Dance Group in Birmingham which is where I started to learn to dance.

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

I wasn’t really sure what to expect, having never been to anything like it before so I was a bit nervous, but the coaches were friendly and made it fun.  

Your favourite memory from being a part of Team England Para 

My favourite memory is of  the first time we performed our routine to an audience at BCA Nationals on 1st April.  The atmosphere was amazing, the whole team gave absolutely everything and the feeling of knowing the routine went well was incredible.

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

– We were practising an assisted backwards lean with Sophie tipping my wheelchair on to the back wheels.  I wasn’t completely sure what count we were doing the lean on so when Sophie tipped my wheelchair backwards it came as a massive surprise and I was terrified I was going to fall out.  The look of terror on my face had all of my team mates in hysterics.  Thankfully we now have that skill and the timing sorted.

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Are there any stunt/technique adaptations you make which you find especially interesting?   I love the assisted backwards lean and the assisted side tilt that I do with my team mates.  I love that my wheelchair has become a positive focus of our routine and the way my team mates are so willing to try out new ways of integrating it.  It has been wonderful to develop such close and trusting relationships with my team mates that enable us to try things out in that way.

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

– GO FOR IT! I had virtually no experience when I went to try outs and have made unbelievable progress this year.  The coaches support and belief in my ability has motivated me to push myself harder and rise to the challenge.  Being part of Team England has changed my life and I am so glad I have been able to be part of it.

What will you miss about Team England Para and why

 –  I will really miss the friends I have made, the fun we have at training sessions and the shared experience of working for something bigger than yourself.  We have grown together so much and I really don’t want it to end.

What are you most excited to experience at Worlds 2018?

I’m ridiculously excited about performing our routine on the Worlds stage.  BCA was amazing so I think performing at Worlds is going to blow my mind!

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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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