In the lead-up to Nationals, all our athletes have been training extra hard and have made sacrifices in other aspects of our lives. The intensity of training has picked up and most teams have put in additional time and energy to attend extra training sessions. We thank you for your hard work and dedication. As we enter the week leading up to Nationals, we ask every athlete to maintain this dedication to your team and to Evolve and to attend all remaining training sessions. Work hard for your team as your team works hard for you!
In this blog, we talk about what makes Nationals so special, and provide a few coaching tips on how to make the most of this very special event!
What makes Nationals different?
For many of our athletes this will be their first Nationals competition. So, what’s the big deal? First of all, Nationals is BIG!
The Australian All Star Cheerleading Federation (AASCF) have provided some great stats on the sheer size of the competition this year;
Put simply 2017 Nationals will be the largest cheerleading competition in Australian history!
We explain to those who have never been to Nationals before that it is similar to a large production: bright lights, big crowds and an electricity in the air that sets it apart from other competitions. As coaches, we aim to share our experience to help the athletes stay calm and focused. We are here to help!
Preparation is vital
While we compete at several competitions throughout the year; often routines are not quite finalised, changes are still being made and athletes are still developing skills. In one sense these early competitions help prepare teams for Nationals. As coach Gemma always says ‘practice makes permanent’; so the only way to be truly prepared is to attend and work hard in training! Therefore, it is vital for all athletes to attend all scheduled trainings in the lead up to Nationals.
Advice from the coaches: listen to your coaches, work hard for your team, and enjoy the last few weeks of the season. This is the time of the year where all your hard work in the gym pays off. For those moving into different teams next year; make these last few weeks with your 2017 team a time to remember!
Project your performance
At Nationals, the judges sit further away from the performance floor due to the sheer size of the venue. It is important for athletes to project their performance so the judges can clearly see what you are doing.
Advice from the coaches: As you are practicing, think of how you would want to see yourself performing, hitting stunts and tumbling at your best. This is what the judges want to see as well. They are there to score you and want you to succeed: don’t give them any reason to question your ability!
Get in the cheer bubble
We train together, we work hard for each other and we all share the same goal. In the lead-up to Nationals, each athlete in the team and each team at Evolve become more like a family. Going through this hectic and adrenalin-filled time it is hard to describe it to anyone else outside the cheerleading world, and as such you start to rely on your team-mates and your coaches even more. This is what we call the cheer bubble.
As a club we share the language, the dedication, the sacrifice and the emotional ups and downs. It is hard to explain to others outside the cheer world why you dedicate a huge portion of your life to your team – especially when they still think cheerleaders only use pom poms and chant at sporting events! The only way for people to truly understand is to get involved in the sport and realise how intense and electrifying All Star Cheerleading is.
Advice from the coaches: rely on your team-mates. They understand how hard you are working for them and they are working just as hard for you. Come to your coaches if you are feeling nervous or have any concerns. In other words, get in the cheer bubble!
Everyone at Evolve hope that you are feeling looked after – it is our aim that every athlete and family at Evolve is catered for. Through clear communication we aim to make competition time as enjoyable as possible and minimise the stress involved. Parents; we acknowledge that the logistics of getting your athlete to competitions is a big undertaking and appreciate the energy and effort you put in to make sure they are competition ready. If you do have any concerns or are unclear about anything, please let us know.
We are so excited for Nationals and hope you are too. Our first Nationals as a club will be a truly memorable and special occasion for everyone who represents Evolve!
Final word from the coaches: We are so proud of how far you have all come this year. Amidst the bright lights, noise and ‘buzz’ of Nationals we hope you can all take a moment to reflect on your progress throughout the year and be proud of what you have achieved. Nationals is your time to shine and we can’t wait to see all the hard work put in throughout the year out on the Nationals Floor. Enjoy the moment, have fun, and CHEER YOUR HEART OUT!