Parent Personal Training Poll

After a hard conditioning session, I often hear parents comment “Wow! You should give me a workout!” After hearing this enough, it got me thinking that if there is enough demand for it, I could begin offering personal training sessions for parents during slow times or daytime hours, when the gym is not in use. I created the poll below to see how much interest there really is for personal training for parents and adults. Take a few seconds to vote and submit your answers! Depending on the amount of responses I get, maybe parent training will become a reality!

Thanks,
Coach Matt Faherty

 

 

How Long Does it Take to Learn a Tumbling Skill? — Part 1 — Physical Factors: Post 1 of 4

  

**As I mentioned in my previous post, this post is only part of a long article I’ve been working on. This is my first installment, “Part 1”.  I plan on having 3-4 “Parts” in totality.  Each “Part” will have between 3-5 “Posts.” My goal of release content in chunks, like this, is to get content out more frequently, instead of having my (ever growing) folder of unfinished articles become even larger!**  

 
 

As a tumbling instructor, one of the most common questions I am asked by new athletes and parents is “How long will it take to learn this skill?” Unfortunately, this question is very difficult to answer. There are many factors to consider when determining the length of time required for an athlete to master a particular skill, and these factors vary greatly from one athlete to the next. The goals of this series of articles is to help athletes and parents better understand the process of learning and mastering a skill, as well as to provide some tips on how to accelerate this process.

 

— The points I make in this post will apply for all tumbling skills; but for simplicity’s sake, I will be using one the most commonly learned tumbling skills by cheerleaders — the back handspring. —

 

Physical Factors:

 

The most essential components of learning any new tumbling skill are physical in nature. In order to safely perform a back handspring independently, an athlete’s  body needs to be prepared to produce, utilize, and sustain the high the amounts of force involved with the skill. Strength, flexibility, coordination, and physical development are all physical aspects that affect the learning of new tumbling skills. Overlooking any of these factors could result in injuries such as sprains, fractures, concussions, or worse! Think of these physical aspects as the foundation of a building. Without a good foundation, a building could collapse. In the same way, not being physically prepared for a skill is setting yourself up for failure and/or injury when learning how to tumble.

 
 
 

Strength:

It’s no secret that tumblers need to have strong muscles. In a back handspring, strong, fast, legs produce the explosive jump needed to propel a tumbler up and back into an inverted handstand position; strong shoulders allow the tumbler to forcefully push into the floor “springing” them from their hands back to their feet, and a strong core is essential to keeping the body moving together seamlessly throughout the skill.  But strong muscles are not only used to generate the force needed to get over in a back handspring. When landing, muscles act to decelerate, or slow down, the force produced during the skill in order to protect bones, ligaments, and other vital organs from trauma. Adequate strength is essential to tumbling because it necessary to perform skills, as well as land them safely.

 

 

I hoped you enjoyed this post! Keep checking back for Part 1: Post 2: Flexibility!

-Cheers
Matt Faherty

Core Athletix Pearls (Half-Year Junior Level 1) December Workout

Pearls – December Workout

This workout will take approximately 15 minutes. Each exercise should be done for 45 seconds, followed by 15 seconds of rest! This work out should be done 3-5 times AT HOME, in addition to at practice.

Jumping Jacks

Ski Jump (Side-to-Side)

Shoulder tap (in pushup position)

High Knees (in place)

Reverse Jumping Jack

Plank Hold

Flutter Kicks (in hollow position)

Wall-Sit

Squat (frog) Jump

Table-Top Hold

Pushups

Hollow-Hold (banana)

Arch-Hold (superman)

Hop-Hop-Squat

Inch-Worm (feet in place)

Beat the Heat! – Re-hydration in Youth Sports

Hydration:

As summer swings into full speed, and temperatures rise, heat related illness becomes a serious risk among youth athletes! This is due to the  fact that the body’s of children have not fully developed the ability to regulate it’s internal temperature. As a result, a child’s natural response to heat, such as sweating, is delayed, or largely suppressed. Because of this blunted response to heat, children have an increased susceptibility to heat induced illness. To keep youth athletes safe, and performing their best, fluid replacement needs to be a top priority among coaches, parents, and athletes.

To insure proper hydration, and reduce the risk of heat related illness among athletes, the National Athletic Trainer Association (NATA) has released a position statement recommending the following: 

  • Insure optimal pre-exercise hydration by consuming 17-20 oz. of water, or sports drink, 2-3 hours before activity, and an additional 7-10 oz. 20-30 minutes prior to activity.
  • During exercise, consume 7-10 oz. of water, or sports drink every 10-15 minutes to replace fluids lost by sweat.
  • Be aware of the warning signs of dehydration, and constantly monitor athletes for heat related illness. Here are a few of the symptoms to watch for: headache, nausea, chills, cramps, weakness, dizziness, decreased performance and a heat-like sensation on the back and neck.

For more information about heat related illness, fluid replacement, or youth athletes, visit the links embedded throughout the articles!

Make it a great summer!
-Coach Matt

Q&A: Wobbly Single-Leg Stunts

I can never seem to get myself to sit down and write on a schedule. But I often find myself writing long replies to questions asked on the Fierceboad or sent by email. Most of those reply’s length rival those of my actual posts. So I decided I will share some of those questions/answers on here.

Question : I have a level 2 youth team and their one leg stunts have become weak and wobbly. Does anyone have any ideas to help strengthen this area?

Answer: That’s a pretty general question. It’s like going to the doctors and simply saying “I’m sick.” He’s going to need know symptoms, and details to be able to properly diagnose/treat you.

Likewise, on the forum, we will need to know a little more about those “shaky stunts” to be able to give accurate advise on how to fix them. A video would probably be best. But recording and posting videos can be a bit of a gray area legally, unless you have a release from all parents of the athletes involved. So I wouldn’t recommend it.

A few general suggestions:

-Look at the grip and building technique of the bases.

-Watch for any muscle compensations in the bases when putting up the stunt. For example, holding the stunt in front of their bodies, instead of overhead, excessive arching of the back, or knees turning in or out when holding the stunt. Any of these could indicate your bases need to get stronger to be able to control the stunt.

-Make sure the flyer has correct body positioning when loading and building the stunt.

-Look to see if the flyer has the ability to balance and stabilize their body throughout the stunt. Can your flyer do the skills balanced on a stable surface such as the floor?

-Make sure that your flyer has proper flexibility and strength to be able to hit each body position. Poor flexibility can cause altered movements in the air. An example of this would be poor hamstring flexibility, which would cause your flyer to drop their chest when performing a single leg heel stretch. Another would be inflexible/over-active hip-flexors which could cause the flyer to excessively arch in their their back in a scorpion.

Anyways, these are just a few general things to look for when diagnosing stunting issues. Like I said before, to be able to definitively tell you how to fix your teams stunts, I would need more information.

Hope this helps,
Coach Matt
Full-Out: Cheer and Fitness

 

Read more from this post, or join in on the conversation by CLICKING HERE!

The Importance of Fitness and Safety in Cheerleading

By: Carolyn Fallon
Check out more work by Carolyn by visiting her blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/!

Anyone who thinks cheerleading is easy has obviously not tried it. Today’s cheerleading routines are extremely demanding and athletic, requiring amazing amounts of strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance. Training for cheerleading should always include some form of aerobics and strength training. Also, safety is a constant concern. If you are deficient in any area, you are putting yourself and others at risk.

It seems that every year cheerleading routines become more and more complex, more athletic, and more risky. There are moves underway now to improve safety for cheerleading routines and related activities. For now, be sure to train mindfully to avoid any hazards.

Actions Cheerleaders Can Take To Prevent Injuries:

Resistance Training:

Some type of resistance training will keep your weight under control and give you the strength to perform more advanced routines. You will also want to be sure that you always include a good stretching and warm-up session before your workouts, which will help prevent injury, both major and small.

Yoga:

Yoga is a great exercise for cheerleaders because it is low impact in nature while also providing a good strenuous workout. Due to the typical benefits of yoga being increased strength, flexibility, and balance, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Glen Axelrod states that many professional teams are integrating yoga into their regular training sessions. Additionally, yoga is known to also increase one’s core strength and focus, as well as decrease emotional states of stress and anxiety.

Proper Training:

It is always important to be training properly, in proper conditions, with proper training, observed by certified coaches. Be sure that you perform your stunts on mats to provide cushioning for falls. You will also want to maintain an atmosphere that allows you to focus. A certified and trained coach should be on hand at all times to ensure that safety is always being monitored and heeded.

Diet:

In addition to your training and exercise regimen, maintaining a diet is vitally important. For one thing, you will need to provide enough healthy fuel to provide energy for your routines and exercise. You will also want to eat the right kinds of foods so that you maintain lean muscle mass, while avoiding fatty foods that don’t provide any nutritional value.

Be sure that you are eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. The fruits will ensure that you are getting plenty of carbohydrates to fuel your workouts. Try to avoid getting sugar in the form of sodas and sugared drinks. These types of drinks tend to cause rapid increases in blood sugar. This can lead to weight gain.

Getting your carbs in the form of fruit also ensures that you are getting plenty of fiber in your diet. Fiber helps you keep from putting on weight in the form of fat. The reason fiber helps prevent weight gain is that it takes longer for your body to digest. You will also need to make sure you getting enough lean protein. Protein is the building block for muscle. Avoid meats like red meat and beef. They tend to have adequate protein but at a cost. They too often have high levels of unhealthy fat. This fat can clog your veins and prevent your heart from working at full capacity.

Some good choices for lean protein are turkey, skinless chicken, and most fish. Also, many nuts have good amounts of protein combined with good fiber. Walnuts, pecans, cashews, and sunflower seeds are good choices, and are an easy snack to keep with you for when you are hungry but it’s not meal-time yet. They also tend to be high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. One thing to be careful of, however, is high levels of salt, which can be found on certain types of nuts, such as peanuts.

Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has known to bust some serious mves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/!

Snapping down/up out of a back handspring

As a few of you might know, I like to post on the fierce board. fierceboard.com is a online community for cheerleaders, coaches, parents, and fans. Some athletes regularly ask questions related to tumbling skills. Using my years of experience, I try to answer some of their questions in a way that will thoroughly help them understand the skills they are trying to master. The following was an example of one of the questions I answered.

@One and Dunn asks: