Clinics, experience help cheerleaders grow

Over the past few seasons, the Mercyhurst cheerleaders have grown in numerous ways. They have grown in numbers, in the difficulty of stunts they can perform, in the level of cheerleading itself and in their attitudes regarding cheerleading.

When I first began cheering in the winter 2010 term for basketball, there were only 19 cheerleaders, and we struggled putting up basic stunts. There are now 27 cheerleaders and the level of difficulty regarding the stunts we put up has increased dramatically.

This increase is due to multiple factors. Since winter 2010, the cheerleaders have participated in two stunt clinics and a 3-day cheer clinic.

During these clinics, we worked on a multitude of stunts as well as stunting techniques that make performing these stunts easier and less stressful on our bodies.

Another factor that has made it easier to perform more difficult stunting is the our flyers’ level of experience. It is much easier to put an experienced flyer in the air than it is to put an inexperienced one. In addition, our experienced flyers can execute more difficult stunts.

Also, the level of cheering itself has gone up as a whole. While our stunts have increased in difficulty, so have our cheers. We perform extended cheers during timeouts and halftimes more frequently than we did in the past.

The attitude of our cheerleaders has grown as well. I can remember being frustrated with going to practice during my first season because I knew that we were going to struggle to put basic stunts.

This feeling of dissatisfaction was shared by other cheerleaders as well, but this is no longer the case. The majority of us are excited to go to practice because we know that we are going to try an awesome stunt or our captains are going to have a new cheer or dance for us to learn.

This eagerness shows when it comes to performing at games, too. We do not dread performing at games anymore because we know we are better than we used to be and we can put up stunts that will shock and awe the crowd.