Cheerleading takes athleticism. The sport necessitates strength, flexibility, endurance, and dedication. Injury is a risk in any sport. However, several methods of prevention can be implemented to assist in avoiding injury. Below is a list of 10 ways a cheerleading related injury may be prevented.
- Start practice with a proper warm-up: It’s important to warm up those muscles, but why not make your warm-up fun?! Check out this routine as an example of how you can incorporate a full body warm-up all within one song!
- Train proper landing techniques: Many cheerleading knee and ankle injuries result from poor landing positions. Cheerleaders often have blind landings from tumbling skills and land out of a twisting or upside down stunt. Training landings from all positions is important. Make sure your knees don’t fall in and stay in line with your ankles. Avoid letting your knees move past your toes.
- Flyers: Stay tight and keep your arms in! Remember, your base is the one doing the balancing and you just stay tight! This will help keep stunts in the air, thus keeping you safe. When popping or fulling down, keep your arms in so you don’t injure your base with an unpredictable elbow to the forehead! Communicate well with your bases and complete stunts with confidence.
- Bases: Use your legs and keep your abs tight! The best bases lift with their legs and keep the spine in a neutral position. Arching your back will lead to injury. When you catch a flyer, bend your knees to absorb the catch. Catch your flyer close to your body, as catching the flyer further from your body increases the stress placed through your own body.
- Incorporate a strength/conditioning program: Cheerleading takes a lot of strength, especially core strength! A strength and conditioning program is a must to stay safe and perform tumbling and stunts at the highest level.
- Stay active in the off-season: Just because your season is over doesn’t mean you get to sit on the couch! Keep up with your strengthening and stretching program so you don’t have to start over the following season. Increasing difficulty in your routine from season to season means you are getting stronger from season to season.
- Ensure coaches are trained/certified: Many cheerleading organizations offer coaching seminars and certifications. The seminars teach the best ways to train and are highly recommended for the safety of a team.
- Use proper training equipment: Learning a flip-flop on a basketball court is not ideal or safe. Learn new tumbling with mats or at a tumbling class. Perform high level stunts over a mat or cheer floor until a stunt is perfected. Always use a spotter when one is required.
- Perform proper stretching techniques: Avoid pushing another cheerleader into a stretch. Only perform over-splits if splits have been achieved on the ground. Hold stretches for 20-30 seconds at a time to gain flexibility.
- Share the 5 S’s for Safety in the Sport of Cheerleading with your team: Stretching, Strengthening, Speaking up if you are hurt or afraid, and being Serious at practice are important. Do these things and you will be Sensational!
Athletico has several Cheerleading specialists in the company who attend educational meetings about how to best treat cheerleaders. Our therapists and trainers have passion around keeping cheerleaders healthy and on the field/competition floor. Contact us to see how our Athletico team may be able to enhance your cheerleading season! Remember to use our complimentary injury screens throughout the year!
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What is your favorite way to stay safe during your cheerleading season? Tell us below!