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.


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.


Medal - Official

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


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.

sophie mattes sapphire .png

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.


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!


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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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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How to get ready for The Cheer and Dance Worlds


Millie Horn worldsHeading to worlds can be exciting, nerve wracking and extremely overwhelming. This applies to anyone, regardless of if you’ve never been, or if you’ve been 10 times.

Your brain will be in over load with all the training, packing, and travelling. So hopefully this will help you figure it all out a bit better before you head out.

It is of course important and exciting to prepare everything you need to pack (tan, uniform, shoes etc). I think the most important thing to prepare is your mind. You are going to Florida to compete in the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS after all.

I think that one of the most effective ways to prepare your mind is visualisation and positive thinking. Visualisation can really help you become more confident. If you just take a few minutes before you go to bed every night, and a few minutes before every training session to visualise yourself going out on that mat, and hitting the perfect routine, it will help you more than you know.

A positive mindset is the key to success. If you believe that you can, then you will. If you let yourself get consumed with nerves and tell yourself that you’ll miss your pass, or drop your stunt, you probably will. You’ve got your team mates around you, utilise them. You’re probably all feeling the same way. Encourage each other, build each other up, and most of all have fun.

There is no other feeling I can compare to the one you get when you hit that worlds mat. Even when you’re in warm up, surrounded by teams you fan girl over, don’t let it phase you. They’ve all trained just the same as you have and are as nervous as you. Wish them good luck, go out there and enjoy those 2:30secs. After all, it’s what you’ve been working towards all your life. Put your sassy pants on, smile and enjoy the experience.


Personally, I was lucky enough to have some family and friends out there to support me. If you can manage to stretch your budget, it’s great to share your achievement with some of the people that have supported you throughout your journey. I was also super lucky to share a room with a member of my team who was a physiotherapist. You put your body through it while you’re out there, so it’s nice to have some TLC from a pro. Especially if you’re injury prone like myself.

Registration is another great bonding experience for you and your team. You get to buy all your worlds merchandise and have some pictures in front of the big cheerleading worlds wall. So, remember to take some money to buy official merch. There’s lots to choose from, jumpers, t shirts, leggings, shorts, key-rings etc. It’s hard not to get too carried away – remember to set aside a fair amount of dollars in your budget if you are planning to hit the shops.


Lisa and Kenny who run Spring Tumbling organise an international show offs at Disney. You get the chance to show off your skills and routine to other international teams that you wouldn’t necessarily get to see. This was one of the highlights for me, and my Mom always goes on about it being her favourite part too. It’s so much fun if you get the chance to go. You put on a show and get some final practice in, alongside teams from other countries. We were there at the same time as Cheer Sport Great White Sharks which was super inspiring. Watching them, cheering them on, and having them cheer us on really showed me what worlds is all about. It’s coming together with the best teams in the world, and supporting and appreciating each other, because you’ve all put so much hard work in and understand what it takes to be there.

show offs

In terms of getting around Disney, it is a struggle to fit in all the parks around training and competing. You have to pick the ones you want to go to the most, and try and squeeze those in. Your team will also probably have planned days out for bonding, so see what everyone else is doing. If you do miss out, you’ll just have to qualify to go again next year!

Now for the fun stuff a little check list for packing your suitcase. The essentials are; Uniform, cheer shoes, bow, makeup, passport and tan, tan, and more tan. Hairspray is also a must. A good can of hairspray will work absolute wonders! The year I went we were sponsored by Rock Your Hair. I managed to keep my incredibly huge pony tail in for day 1 and 2 of competing, which saved me a lot of hair time. Sun Cream is really important. If you’re walking around in your uniform all day, you’ll get some questionable burn/tan lines, so keep safe with sun cream.

Also, I was really lucky again to get my own Nfinity bag included in my Excel Cheer sponsorship package. I know not everyone will have one but if you do its literally a life saver. So, remember to take your Nfinity bag or whichever bag you use for cheer to put all your comp day things in. You’ll need makeup top ups, a hair brush, a back comb, hairspray, water, some snacks, money, uniform and clothes. The list goes on, but a big bag is really helpful. It’s also great to use as hand luggage on the plane.


I have a few top tips for items to include when packing aside from the essentials and everyday things. The first one is items of kit or little trinkets to trade with members of other teams. This was a huge mistake I made, I had people from various countries come up to me asking if I wanted to make a trade, but I had very little to offer in return. The second one is lots of drinks. You will have to leave the drink you take into warm up, in the warm up area. It will probably get lost so allocate a ‘competition drink’ in a bottle you don’t mind leaving behind.

To finish it all off, if you’re really lucky you might run into some world champions in your post worlds McDonalds stop.

world champs

Written by Millie Horn

Millie Horn


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Hey guys, we are so excited to share with you that we have started a You Tube Channel.

On this channel we are going to be keeping you up to date with all things British Cheer and with Worlds  just around the corner their is no better time to start. We are so passionate about what we Cheer  and feel that this is the next step in our journey. We would really appreciate if you guys subscribe to our channel as we have some exciting videos coming. Thank you for supporting us this far and please join us on this next chapter in our journey.




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CFHTT’s interview with Gareth Green



Crimson Heat Tiger had an epic weekend at Jamfest Europe 2017.

Junior 1 – 1st place, Grand champions and a full bid to the Summit
Senior 2 – 1st place and an at large bid to the Summit
Senior 3 – 1st place
Senior 5 – 1st place and a partial paid bid to WORLDS 🌎

We got speaking to Gareth and he explain to us  Crimson  5 journey to senior 5 division.

19553111_10158905160870164_1774104995_n” The safe road to Crimson Heat 5 has always been about its foundations, it’s lower levels especially 1 and 2. Remaining top of the game here has allowed us to build a platform for athlete development across levels 3, 4 and now 5. We’ve been consistent at level 4 for two years and so at the beginning of the 2017 season I decided it was time to step up to level 5.

Nothing scares me more than the thought of my kids doing level five and the possibilities of injury through bad technique and accidents. As a result of my anxiety I came to the decision that if we were going to do this we will do this in the safest way possible. In the first year competition was not important, skills were not important. What was important is that everything learnt was done so progressively and safely and at a speed which meant that cleanliness was a priority. With a view to compete in around June so very late in the season I wanted the girls to go out feeling confident that they have the ability to put out a good routine, a safe routine and a routine that would show the industry that it’s okay to go out entry-level to not push the boundaries of the sport but to just enjoy being a safe level five.


Training planning has been absolutely vital and safety has been everything to us and something I pride myself on. Our 5 team had to wear rugby style gum shields every single training session without fail. I even took it to the extreme for pyramid elements that involved flipping stunts that the girls had to wear helmets in order to protect their nose and face. As it became clear that skills were safe we could remove the helmets and overtime started to reduce the amount of time the girls were wearing a gum-shield. During one of our hitch kick double sessions a base got a hands to the face connecting straight with her jaw, luckily she had the gum-shield in and sustained no injury but a bruised lip. Any time is skill looks dangerous in anyway or I felt as if an athlete was at too much risk we were just drop that skill completely and move on to something slightly easier. The same applies to tumble as well, If it’s not safe it’s not in.


The journey to 5 has been a huge learning experience and one that I’m quite proud of. Crimson heat is still very much in its infancy for Level5 and every session is a learning process for both athletes and coaches. For any coaches and programs thinking of making a move to level five I would love to see gum shields in to maximise safety and skills being modest until basics are well picked up and executed.

My best advice is just don’t go 5 until you have mastered and consistently done well at level 4. We look forward to pushing the next level of 5 over the coming months and prepare for worlds 2018 safely ”





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