With us being in mid competition season, us Firebirds have been fighting for our team in all aspects whether that is helping one another with competition nerves prior to hitting mat, learning the lyrics to our routine to gain optimum performance marks on mat or fighting for a stunt on the competition floor. In this month’s article is all you need to know about what we have been up to in the build-up to competition and how our first competition went as a squad of three teams!
A little bit about this month’s writers – get to know our committee members!
Hey! My name is Leonie and I am the Wellbeing Officer for the Firebirds.
I’m the person to come to when any member has any concern or worries, and in doing so I do my best to support individuals in whichever way they may need. This is my second year on the Firebirds team. Last year was my first-time trying cheerleading and soon enough I fell in love with the sport! Looking back now, I couldn’t imagine not having cheer in my life. I am also loving
being part of the committee supporting the team in every single way I can.
Hi! I’m Adam and I am this year’s Team Captain of the SGSU Firebirds Heatwave and Ignite
My responsibilities include alternating between being friendly and welcoming
everyone into the team, to being loud and bossy but overall, I think it’s a good blend 🙂 I’m
very proud of both teams and what we’ve achieved so far together this season, and as
always, I’m proud to be repping the cheer boys! I can’t wait to show you what we have been
up to the past month starting with how to cope with competition nerves.
Coping with Competition Nerves
Even for the most experienced of athletes or performers, a cheer competition can be an
intimidating and an overwhelming environment. Keeping your focus and togetherness as a
team whilst other teams are hitting (or dropping) their stunts, and waves of clashing cheer
music from the comp and warm-up spaces can make it impossible to hear what your
coaches are saying.
It’s difficult to say the least. I think for Firebirds it’s our pre-comp
traditions that ground us. Whether its laying in a circle, eyes closed, and belting out our
cheer music (or at least those lyrics we can make out!), or our tradition of each member of
the team making a promise of something they will do in the routine (e.g. fight for stunts,
scream the counts, make the most ridiculous cheer face), these little things all add up to pull
our focus to where it needs to be. Not with nerves, not with our competitors, and certainly
not to the last time our stunt dropped in training.
In my fresher year as a Firebird, 2021-2022, our coaches – Libby and Naomi – noticed that
our knowledge of our lyrics and our music was lacking, and regionals were only two weeks away. Now I will be the first to admit that cheer music is an acquired taste – or perhaps
I should say, assault on the senses, and until you’ve heard it it’s quite hard to describe!
However, after speaking to Libby I came up with a fun – or at least a ridiculous – training
We would perform our cheer music acoustically as a team in training!
I am a graduate medical student here at St. George’s, but in my mis-spent youth I was a musician
and teacher, and I just couldn’t resist. By the end of the session we were already finding
snippets of lyrics to add to our performance, and by regionals we were practically word- perfect (if a little tone-deaf!). I’m delighted to say we’ve carried the tradition over to my season as Team Captain, and I hope singing – or at the very least, shouting – continues to be part and parcel of the competition preparation for years to come!
Inclusivity at cheer and what that means to the Firebirds
Our Firebirds have always had an ethos of inclusivity ingrained within the society. We firmly believe that cheer is a sport that should be accessible to anyone from any background and walks of life and be where people come together to work as a team to perform a work of art! Everyone who tries out for the Firebirds will gain a place on one of our competition
teams, meaning we have a wonderful variety of athletes ranging from complete beginners
to experienced cheerleaders.
It’s amazing to watch beginners grow as athletes and find love and family within the sport. We are also supportive in making sure people feel included and valued, no matter their age, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. We recently joined the SGSU Pride society on a social and showed our ally-ship to the LGBTQ+
Our First Competition as a team!
The cheer comp season is officially underway!
We have been working so hard towards completing and perfecting our routines ready to hit the mat at our first competition of the season. For many of our freshers this is their first ever cheer competition and so, a much- anticipated day of nerves and excitement. Full out season has been well in progress, with each team giving it their all at training twice a week, along-side balancing hectic university schedules (that it being also exam season!)
Our first competition of the season was Legacy Just Believe in London’s Copper Box Arena
Our team Heatwave entered the Level 1 co-ed division, Ignite entered the Level 2 co-ed non-tumble division and Inferno entered the Pom division.
Our day started at 10am where we all met at our university Student’s Union to get ready together – heaps of
glitter and lots of hairspray later, we were comp ready to travel to the Copper Box arena in Stratford.
Traversing the underground with 30+ cheerleaders without anyone getting lost was a challenge – and we definitely turned a few heads on our journey– but it was a fun beginning to what was about to be an incredible day. Our level 2 team Ignite were the first to perform, followed by our level 1 team Heatwave and finally our Pom team Inferno.
Before the team’s head to comp warm up, we have a team building session where listen to our music and visualise our best routine while we sit eyes closed in a circle, and after this we hype one another up ready for our performance “throwing love” our external coach Naomi
calls it as we shout out each individual and something they do that is impressive. We then move on to comp warm up where we have an opportunity to practice our stunts, warm up jumps and tumbles and do one last full out routine before we hit the mat to show the audience and judges what we are made of.
All our teams did amazing and should be so proud of what we put on the mat; the energy was phenomenal!
A successful first competition we think.
Now the countdown starts to our next competition Legacy Alpha and Omega held in
A couple weeks after comp we also participated in a Showcase hosted by Eternity All-stars, a
club run by our external coach Naomi. This was an amazing opportunity to showcase our
routine to friends and family, but also a chance to practice our upgraded routines in a competition setting ready for nationals in Birmingham! Ignite and Heatwave both performed, alongside Greenwich Mermaids (our fabulous sister team) and three teams from Eternity Allstars.
It was a super fun day and a great opportunity to watch some fab performances and get to know and support the other teams. So with that it’s fair to say the last month was a busy month for us Firebirds, packed with
preparation for Birmingham competition… we look forward to see you in mat at Nationals!
Lots of Firebirds love x