My 7 year old niece is in her third year of pee wee cheer! Miss Ella is the first grandbaby on my husband's side, and all of us aunties and uncles have a very special place in our hearts for this girl. It blows me away that she does big kid things like goes to school, does VBS, wears glasses and is a third year cheerleader. Woah. Where did all this time fly?
Just like any other sport, cheerleading is a physical activity that tests the strength, endurance and motivation of its players. Being vigilant of each of the girls in their stunts is a big job for the coach and assistants - and Ella is very fortunate that not only is her coach a nurse but also her mama!
I talked to my sister in law about her goals as a peewee cheer coach -
We as coaches all go through Heads Up Concussion Prevention training. Cheerleading is actually one of the top sports for concussions! As a coach I will only let the girls have both feet off of the ground if they have permission from myself or my assistant. As pee wee cheerleaders we are in the learning fundamentals phase of the sport and we focus more on the girls learning proper safety techniques and motions. At this age they know the job of the bases, the back spot, and the top girl. All of our coaches have participated in stunt safety certification as well. CPR and first aid are required and it doesn’t hurt that our coach is a nurse and two of our parents are nurses too! My goal for the season is not to make elaborate pyramids of seven and eight year olds but to have a group of seven and eight year olds that can tell me that the job of the back spot is to protect the top girl’s head, neck and shoulders :) As they move up in the program they will start to do basic stunts and work their way up to the elaborate pyramids that cheerleaders are known for. I strive to give these little ladies rock solid fundamentals so that when they are allowed to take both feet off the ground they will be safe and happy. At the beginning of the season I welcome my parents with a letter that outlines what my goals are for the season and keep communication open throughout the season so that they know what my expectations are. Safety is always at the top of our priority list and as a result I think that out families feel confident that we will give their child an opportunity to have fun, learn fundamentals, and above all be safe and have fun. We have never had an injury in our three seasons as pee wee cheerleaders :) with the exception of bee stings!
I've partnered with Alfac to share a few tips on how to help kids (and adults!)
stay safe while playing sports.
stay safe while playing sports.
1. Wear your gear! It's there for protect you in case of an injury and to keep your fellow players safe too.
2. Follow the rules! They're also put in place to make sure everyone has fun safely.
3. Listen to your body. This is a fundamental that players have to learn early. It's not fun to sit on the sidelines, but if you ever feel pain or discomfort while playing you should always tell your coach or a grown up immediately.
4. Listen to the doctor. They will let you know when it's ok to play again, because the last thing you want is to have to take more time out of the season because you went back in too early!
5. Make sure you're covered. Accidents happen. When unexpected injuries happen on the field, make sure you’re prepared with supplemental insurance to help cover out-of-pocket expenses. According to the 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report, 66 percent of U.S. workers could not afford the costs associated with a serious illness or injury. That’s why voluntary insurance plans are so important. In the event of a serious injury, they help provide peace of mind and cash benefits to help you get back in the game fast.
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Disclosure: I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.