Cheerleading doesn’t stop when practices are cancelled

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Leaders rise in difficult times

It’s not an easy time to be an athlete – gyms are closed down, competitions are cancelled or postponed, and you can’t physically meet with your team to share the burden. But this is no time to sit around and do nothing – quite the opposite.

In times of uncertainty, strong leaders are in high demand. Let’s explore what being a cheerLEADER means in these coming weeks.

Follow the RULES

Yes, some rules are meant to be broken, but certainly not those that keep us safe during a pandemic. Do your share. Don’t be stupid. Stay home as much as you can. Resist the temptation of meeting with your stunt group because “it’s just the four of you and you’re all healthy”. No competition is worth a life, even if it’s the life of someone you might not even know.

Support: The core of our sport

Our sport is known for the support we give to our own teams AND others. Today, our team doesn’t only consist of the athletes we train with. Today, we are all Team Switzerland – or frankly, Team World.

Imagine you’re at a competition and you’re watching another team perform. They’re having a really hard time; some of their stunts drop, and you can see their confidence level go down. What do you do? Of course, you cheer them on even harder! You try to relieve their anxiety by shouting your support, hoping they’ll get back on track and finish strong.

Right now, that struggling team is our country: The government, who is forced to make drastic decisions. The thousands of men and women at hospitals, clinics or pharmacies who are working around the clock. Working parents who have to find the best solution to keep their company going while taking care of their children. Grandparents who need care but fear infections. The list is endless.

All these people rely on our support right now. Be the cheerleader in their life! Text your friend who works in healthcare that they’re doing an amazing job and that you’re grateful for their work. Ask them if they’re okay, or if they need a pep-talk. Follow the governments rules and lead by example. Be there for those who cannot go to work because their business shut down. Ask around in your neighborhood if anyone needs assistance because they’re not supposed to leave the house. And, at last, don’t forget how important it is to take care of your mental health. Call a friend if you know they miss out on something that’s important to them, and help them through it.

Accept the challenge

It’s easy to say how dedicated we are to our sport and lifestyle when things are going right. But now, we have a challenge in front of us. It’s time to step up our game and become great leaders for our teams.

If you do it right, you’ll get out of this mentally and physically stronger than you went in. I fully believe that with the correct training now, we can go back to our gyms and pick up right where we left off. No need to panic about your routines.

Prepare your mind for the challenge ahead. I use a mental training app called “Lucid” with my athletes, and I can only recommend it. Of course, there are hundreds of others – maybe share the one you use on social media so others can profit? Which ever one you choose; mental training is THE KEY to unlocking your full potential and become the athlete of your own dreams. Never underestimate the power of your mind.

Get fit

This one is a no-brainer. If your coaches provide you with resources for home-training, AMAZING, kudos to them. If not: THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE FOR YOU NOT TO BE TRAINING YOUR BODY. The internet is positively filled with resources. Here’s a few tips to get you going.

Look for “Low impact Cardio Workouts” on YouTube if you have to work out inside your apartment and aren’t able to jump a lot. This is also a great option for people with knee- or foot injuries. Adapt the exercises so that nothing provokes any pain, but you should be breathing heavily at about 60-80% of your maximum heartrate. For most of us that’s a pulse of 120-160. Keep this up for AT LEAST 20 minutes, 3-4 times a week. This will enable you to go straight back into full-out routines without blacking out.

In addition to that, do a wide variety of different strength workouts. Try to figure out where your body isn’t as strong is it needs to be (for most of you, that will be your core), and focus on that. Make sure you incorporate lots of different movements for your whole body. I can especially recommend Coach Meggin’s YouTube channel, she’s an experience gymnast and stunt woman with a super positive personality (which is what we all need right now, isn’t it) and also teaches some basic gymnastics moves on her channel.

Lastly, spend time on recovering your nagging injuries and to get some stretching done. And remember: Passively stretching has its benefits, but to achieve great body positions, ACTUALLY PULLING them regularly is the key. A lot of people have great flexibility but not the strength to hold themselves together; this can result in injury. Always work on stability as well when you’re stretching.

Keep going.

In times of uncertainty and hardship, you can be a beacon of hope for those around you. Don’t underestimate the power of a sincere “thank you”, a quick check-in with a friend, or an honest heart-to-heart with your bestie. Show everyone that no matter what happens, LEADERS KEEP GOING.

Share the passion!