March is National Cheerleading Safety Month, and Cheer Pride is doing its part to educate everyone on what makes a cheerleading team safe. Too often, we see athletes join our program from outside teams who have been improperly and unsafely trained. Ask yourself these questions and see how your team measures up!
1. Are you training in a facility with appropriate safety equipment (i.e. mats)?
At Cheer Pride, we boast a 54ft x 39ft 9-panel spring floor, a 30ft x 18ft area of soft, non-spring cheer mats, a 20ft trampoline/tumble track with soft landing mat, and a dozen other safety mats and pieces of equipment used daily during cheer and tumbling training. IF YOUR CHILD IS PARTICIPATING IN A CHEER PROGRAM THAT ALLOWS TUMBLING OR STUNTING BUT DOES NOT HAVE MATS, PLEASE CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY TO RENT PRACTICE SPACE!
2. Are your coaches following proper progressions to ensure that athletes are performing skills that they can safely execute?
At Cheer Pride, we have a VERY strict "perfection before progression" policy. We train our athletes to the highest degree of technical perfection in one skill, before allowing them to attempt the skill that follows. This comes from decades of experience and training!
3. Are your coaches properly trained and certified?
Not just anyone can safely and effectively coach cheerleading. At Cheer Pride, we have thousands of hours of training and experience, and always aim to keep up-to-date with industry standards. We follow the USASF for coaches training and qualification. Our coaches undergo 100 hours of training at level, before moving up to certify in the next level. In order to prove themselves capable, they must go through an intense process of written and practical examinations, which are based on national standards in tumbling and stunting. Our head tumbling instructor, Christina, is a USASF credentialing instructor, who trains other tumbling instructors nationwide and assesses their competence as coaches. We also require all of our coaches to undergo concussion training, as well as CPR & First Aid. Our gym owner, Lisa, who is in the gym daily, is also a certified EMT in the state of NJ.
4. Do your coaches attend professional development?
We do! Every summer, our coaching staff attends conferences, training sessions, and USASF meetings to ensure that we are continually growing and evolving our training methods. This sport is ever-changing, specifically from a safety perspective, and it's absolutely essential that all coaches are up-to-date with common and best practices.
5. Are your teams constructed with athlete safety in mind?
At Cheer Pride, we have strict all-around requirements for each level of cheer. We do not place athletes on teams that are too advanced for their skill level. In the same regard, we do not hold athletes back when they are ready to move up. All of our athletes are placed on teams that are age and level appropriate for them (i.e. you will not see a beginner athlete and an athlete with a backhandspring on the same team nor will you see a 9 year old and a 15 year old on the same team).
Cheerleading is a high-risk activity, much like any other high level sport. It's imperative that all cheer programs take the necessary steps of coaches education and emergency preparedness to reduce the risk of injury as much as possible. If you have any more questions about how we promote athlete safety in our gym, or if you would like to know how we can help your team to cheer safely, please do not hesitate to contact us!