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CHARLOTTE ULTIMATE CHEER & DANCE TEAM COMMITMENT

 

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A CUC ATHLETE? (ALL STAR CHEERLEADER, SNS CHEERLEADER, OR DANCER)

Dedication to the sport, a commitment to hours of practice each week, and being a team player are all key fundamentals of being a CUC athlete.

 

CUC athletes are not chosen based on popularity, attractiveness, or status, but on the skill, they can offer the team.  Team members are athletes in every sense of the word and work hard to dispel any biased assumptions of what a cheerleader/dancer should be.

 

Parents, cheerleaders, and dancers should be aware that when on a competitive team it’s a large time commitment. Normally, seasons begin with tryouts in the summer with light to heavy practices in the summer followed by a competition season running from fall to the spring totaling 10-11 months.  Practices can be 2-3 hours long and as often as 1 to 3 times a week.  These practices are usually mandatory since many elements of a routine cannot be done without everyone there.

 

We strongly encourage tumbling sessions or other private sessions to improve skills.  Most teams will attend 5-10 competitions a season, which usually consist of a total weekend commitment if not more.  It’s been proven that most athletes can balance CUC, school commitments, and school sports.

 

Lastly, every athlete should be aware that cheer/dance is a team sport.  Decisions are made based on what is best for the team and the performance.  There may be times when a parent or athlete may question a coach’s decision.  Before discussing these issues with any gym staff, you should always ask yourself whether this decision was better for the team even though your child may not be in the position they had hoped.  There will always be ups and downs in a cheerleader or dancer career, but rarely are these decisions made with any bias.

 

WHAT ARE THE AGE REQUIREMENTS, DIVISIONS, AND LEVELS?

There are many different combinations of age groups, divisions, and levels. So many that they can be quite confusing!  These were all created to ensure that like ages were competing with like skill sets. See classes and ages on our website www.charlotteultimatecheer.com.

Levels were designed to make sure that each team competes and is judged by how well they demonstrate a standard set of skills expected for every team competing at that same level.  Often the younger athletes compete at the lower levels, but there are also many athletes that start being active in sports in their teens that may start at beginner level as well.  Remember that levels are purely based on multiple skills 1st and age 2nd.  In addition, you may find your child has been placed in a level that is above or below what you expected.  Coaches make these type decisions based on many different criteria.

 

WHAT ARE THE COSTS INVOLVED?

Costs for competition teams can be expensive when compared to recreation teams, but can be managed with some planning.  The exact costs vary from team to team, but we can give you an idea of what to expect.

There are two different areas of cost. One is the money you pay directly to the gym, which can include tuition, competition fees, uniforms, make up, shoes, coaches fees, practice wear, or etc.  Secondly, there is the cost of travel to competitions.  This can include gas or airfare, car rentals, hotel rooms, food during the event, and any extra money needed for souvenirs.  Whether you pay these travel costs directly to the gym or pay on your own usually depends on whether they travel “as a team” to the events.

Cheer Allstar ***We reserve the right to make changes to following list if needed.

Uniforms: $250 – $400

Shoes: $60 – $100

Warmups: $125 – $150

Bookbag: $35

Bows: $25 – $50

Practice Wear: $55 – $100

Glitz Jersey: $70

Ponytail: $25 – $35

Choreography – $125 – $200

 

Dance and Stomp N Shake Teams ***We reserve the right to make changes to following list if needed.

Uniforms: $200 – $400 **multiple uniforms

Shoes: $60 – $100

Warmups: $100 – $150

Bookbag: $35

Practice Wear: $55 – $100

Choreography – $125 – $200

Glitz Jersey: $70

WHAT IS REQUIRED OF ME AS A PARENT?

 

We have discussed the athletes commitment but it’s also important to know the commitment level for parents as well.  Once you and your athlete have made the commitment there are a few extra things that you want to keep in mind.  Because of the competitive nature of the sport, this can often encourage gossip and mean spirited words.  Many times this is coming more from the parents than the cheerleaders.  It’s imperative to remember that as a parent it is your responsibility to remain supportive of your athlete, your athlete’s teammates, and your gym.  This means not talking about other children or parents, especially in gym waiting areas, and quickly dealing with your own child if he or she is encouraging gossip.  We all would like to say that the world of sports is free of this type thing but it can quickly get out of hand with a few bad apples in a cheer gym.

 

Lastly, as a cheer/dance parent, you will want to support your child with every up and down they experience in cheer/dance; and there will be many of them.  There may be skills your child masters in days and then there will be that one skill that takes two or more years to perfect.  They may have what we call “mental blocks” where they just cannot perform a skill that they may have been doing for some time. There are great times and tough times but your support as a parent is priceless

 

 

WHAT ABOUT THE COACHES?

There will be times when the coaches make decisions that you are not comfortable or agree with as a parent.  If a problem occurs (barring a safety issue) we encourage you to step back and think through your issue for a few days.  Ask yourself several questions like…Am I being overly protective?  Was my child doing something to deserve reprimand?  What could be the reasons for my child’s placement in a routine?  Is there another reason this decision was made that I am not aware of as a parent?  If you still feel strongly about the issue, your first conversation should always be with your child’s coach.  The coach can explain why decisions were made and give you more insight into the process.  We would guess that as many as 95% of issues can usually be resolved between coach and parent.  For most gyms, the appropriate way to make contact with the coach is by setting up a time to discuss.  DO NOT approach a coach on the cheer floor during practice or some other cheer activity.  This is one of the cardinal rules of being a good cheer parent!  The coaches need to concentrate on our children and their safety and cannot be worried about an angry cheer parent approaching them during this time.

 

WHAT ABOUT COMPETITIONS?

 

Competitions are where each team performs their routine against other like competitors.  These events can be local, regional, or national.  In addition some competitions can hold more prestige in winning than others. The competitions can be 1 or 2 day events.  Typically 1 day events are local and regional competitions, while nationals are 2-day events.

 

Our competition season can start as early as November and may last until May.  Most gyms will start with local competitions, then attend regional or state competitions, and then save national competitions towards the end of the season.  The norm is to attend between 5 and 10 competitions a season.  Typically, lower level and younger teams will attend less events.  Competitions are chosen based on cost of travel, timing, prestige, company affiliations, availability of teams in each division, event producer, and summit bid potential. You will receive a tentative competition schedule at the beginning of the season.

Our goal for competitions that require travel will be for teams to stay at the same hotel. Once we decide on a hotel it will be the parent responsibility to book your room immediately. Oftentimes the hotel doesn’t require you to pay for the room at the time of booking, but you will need a debit card to book the room. If ever you need assistance work with an experienced cheer parent or the gym to guide you through this process.  The travel can become quite stressful between being a new cheer parent and the cost of events.  To avoid the stress, we strongly recommend you participate in fundraisers. Once you have a few competitions under your belt you’ll be an old pro!

At competitions every team will have a call time, a warm up time, and a competition time for each day.  Times can range from 7:00 am until 10:00 pm depending on the size of the event and the age/level of the team.  In addition these times may change from day one to day two.  We recommend you plan a full day for any competition until you receive the exact schedule.

Once you arrive at the competition you will need to drop your cheerleader off with their team or make sure your older child knows where to meet.  Your gym will let you know ahead of time when and where to do this.  The athlete must come in full uniform attire including hair and face jewelry.  You may not see your child for several hours after this.  Once you drop off, you will want to purchase a ticket or armband for entry if required (and they are almost always required!).  In addition you may want to purchase a program as well.  This will help you find the specific arena where your child is performing in addition to where other teams are performing as well.  If this information is available online you may consider printing it off ahead of time and saving the cost of a program.  Go into the arena, find a seat, and get ready to enjoy lots of cheerleading!  Do not be alarmed if you see that your child’s team has no competition in their division.  Unfortunately this can happen quite often.  Many parents blame the gym for deciding to attend this competition, but the gym does not know what teams will be attending until the week before as well.  It is best to see this as an opportunity to perform and critique the routine without the pressure of placement.

Awards will either be on the first or second day depending on if it is a one or two-day event.  Your gym will give you a time and place for your cheerleader to meet up with the team to attend awards together.

IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW… READ READ READ!!!!

 

  1. The Coach is the Coach. Coaches are trained to manage a routine that will make your child’s team competitive. This sometimes means making decisions that you may not like.  Your child’s coach knows what looks good in routines, what each child is capable of doing, what each competition requires to reach a high level score, and how to keep your child as safe as possible.  Unless your child is in some type of danger, let the coach do their job.

 

  1. Don’t Get Involved with the Drama This was addressed before, but unfortunately it is a constant problem. There will always be the parent that is looking for a new listening “ear” to talk about why her child isn’t in the front or prized spot in a routine.  If you want to stay and watch your child’s practice we recommend bringing a book, IPod, or seeking out parents that want to talk about more positive aspects of cheer/dance.

 

  1. Injuries, Injuries, Injuries Yes, your child might get hurt in some way during their career as with most sports. Usually this means minor injuries like bumps, bruises, or mild strains.  If your child will be overly upset by a mild injury you may need to reconsider sports.

 

 

  1. Missing practices if we have not emphasized it enough, cheer/dance is a team sport. This means when your child misses practice some part of the routine cannot be done fully.  The practice policy is in the contract you signed for missing practices. Please be mindful in planning vacations or other holidays so that your child will not miss practice.  It is sometimes tough to do so, but is also unfair to the other 30+ kids prepared and ready to practice.

 

  1. Which is more important? Flyer, Bases, Back Spots, Front Spots These terms are positions used in stunting to put a flyer in the air.  The answer to the question “Which is more important?” is they ALL are important and critical to the group.  Flyer positions are coveted because they are the ones seen in the air doing amazing stunt positions.  However, any veteran cheer parent knows that a flyer only looks as good as the bases supporting them.  It’s important as a cheer parent that we remind our bases, front spots, and back spots how important their jobs are in supporting and keeping their flyer safe; while we equally remind our flyers to be humble in regard to the support that puts them there in the first place.

 

 

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