Why An Athlete Is Not Defined By Their Level

Why An Athlete Is Not Defined By Their Level

Pressure can drive athletes crazy.

With tryout season among us, it is so important that this be addressed before the teams for this upcoming year are formed. So many athletes that tryout, don't make the team they want and either quit to "take a year off" or jump ship to a gym that promises them to place the athlete on a higher level. I know that every athlete wants to be on level 5 team, the division is the most prestigious of all of them, especially because going to worlds is the end game for most athletes. The problem these days in the cheerleading world, is that our athletes are trying to level up at a rate that is just not quite realistic. If an athlete is on a level 1 team the chances of her being on level 4 next year is slim. It is necessary for athletes to experience each level for at least a year to learn all of the fundamentals of the level and build on them for their foundation as an athlete to be more concrete. This produces the best athlete possible.

A lot of athletes think that all that they need to jump levels is tumbling and that is just not the case. When teams are formed, coaches take a look at many different things, these qualities include but are not limited to: mental toughness, dedication, tumbling, stunting abilities, pace of learning, dance and attitude. Contrary to popular belief, there are so many factors that go into forming a team. This team not only has to be suitable for individual athletes but putting a team together is like a puzzle and as coaches we have to put a team together that will work well and have all the necessary percentages of skills to be competitive in their division.

We are concerned about building well-rounded athletes, not an athlete that is only capable in one facet of cheerleading. Some athletes are great level 4 tumblers, but have level 2 stunt ability and those two will not equal a level 4 athlete until we boost the stunting ability of said athlete. Putting an athlete on a team to just tumble is doing a disservice to not just the team, but also the athletes themselves. If this athlete joins a level 4 team to just tumble all year, when their tumbling progresses to that of a level 5 athlete, they will still have level 2 stunting skills and won't be put to good use when they are level 5 eligible. A well-rounded athlete is the kind of athlete that wins worlds.

SEE ALSO: To The Coach That Took My Confidence Away

When athletes take their time and learn their level, they are not just learning completely new skills each year, but building on them. If done correctly, each year an athlete should improve on all points of cheerleading and not just one. The rules in each level lead to progressions for the level that it directly follows, so that athletes can safely learn skills by going up the ladder one step at a time. What most don't realize is that skipping steps is such an unnecessary practice. If Susie stays on level 2 for an extra year, she is not "learning nothing", she is improving on the skills that she didn't quite execute completely the year before, this will perfect her performance in this level and give a more solid foundation for her to build on when she is on a level 3 team.

Pressure can drive athletes crazy. Parents, your athletes have so many years ahead of them to be on a level 5 team and go to worlds, so pushing for a 10 year old, that is just not ready, to be on a level 4 team is unreasonable. Let your 10-year-old learn maturity and mental toughness at a level that is more appropriate, when your athlete is pushing herself too hard it takes the fun out of the tryout process and creates unnecessary stress on the athletes. Lastly, please be sure to support whatever decision your coaches make for your athlete's placement, they know your child and they are not trying to hurt their pride, but build them up so they can accomplish all of their goals as an athlete. Know that the level your kid makes this year doesn't define him or her as an athlete, but helps them grow into the cheerleader they have the ability to become!

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Portland Is The Three Seed, For Now

Are the Trail Blazers good enough to dethrone the top-two teams?

The Portland Trail Blazers are the three seed right now in the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association. However, the difference between the three seed and the ten seed is not very many games at this point in the season.

They are behind the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets who look as if they are on a different level so far this year with their play.

Damian Lillard has been just what the Blazers need in terms of scoring and giving the ball to his teammates in the perfect moments. His supporting cast of CJ McCollum, Ed Davis, Evan Turner and others has also been playing extremely well lately.

Davis has become one of the best offensive-rebounders in the league and has been giving the team a lot of second-chance opportunities.

This team is playing well together and recently coming off of a win against the Golden State Warriors without Stephen Curry.

Many are still wondering if this Blazer team is legitimate in the West because they will most likely have to face the Rockets or the Warriors, and they haven’t made it too far in previous seasons.

They are all playing well right now and hitting a hot streak, but it may be too early and the other teams may be too much in the playoffs.

James Harden and the Rockets, as well as, Stephen Curry with the Warriors are the primed favorites to be in the Western Conference Finals. The two teams are well above the rest of the conference and have the most stars on their team.

The Warriors are probably the favorites again to represent the West in the Finals, just because of their talent and experience being there multiple years in a row now.

In order for this Blazer team to stay in the three seed, as well as continue on to win some playoff games, they will need a few things to happen.

They will need to stay hot and keep making their shots, they will need Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to continue shooting extremely well, the supporting cast as well as young players getting more involved, and maybe some luck from the other teams losing.

I fully expect the Trail Blazers to make it into the playoffs, but I am unsure how far they will make it in the extremely talented Western Conference.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Jordy Nelson's Time As A Packer Has Come To An End

Jordy Nelson is moving on from Green Bay, which gives fans an opportunity to reflect on his impact as a Packer.

After 10 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, wide receiver Jordy Nelson has been released by the team this past Tuesday. This came only a day before the NFL’s free agency period began. The reasoning, stated by the Packers front office, for the release was creating more cap space to sign free agents. It is a tough part of the business side of the NFL. Nelson has been an irreplaceable part of the Packer’s success over the last ten years. On and off the field he has defined what it means to be a team player and a true Packer.

Nelson was drafted by the Packers in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft from Kansas State University. He was a part of the 2010 Packers team that won Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2011 he and quarterback Aaron Rodgers made a deadly passing combination for defenses. Over the next four seasons, Nelson proved to be one of the most productive receivers in the league. In the preseason of 2015, Jordy Nelson tore his ACL in the second preseason game. The Packer’s offense would miss him, as he sat out for the entire season. He came back strong the next year. Nelson led the NFL with 14 receiving touchdowns. He was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2016.

Green Bay, Wisconsin became Nelson’s second home. Fans were able to appreciate his hard work for a decade. They knew that whenever number 87 in green and gold was in the lineup, they could always count on him to make the tough catches. His friendships with his teammates and coaches make him a role model for all football fans. Not everyone is a Packers fan, but everyone can say something nice about Jordy Nelson. Whether it’s his quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, or an opposing cornerback, they can all respect Jordy Nelson.

Aaron Rodgers said via Instagram, “It’s definitely a sad day” Nelson will be missed by fans, teammates, coaches, and opponents. On one hand, football is just a game, and Jordy Nelson embodies what it means to love the game of football. On the other hand, football is a business. The release of Nelson will create cap space to allow the team to spend more money on other players. It is a tough decision to make and it is a very real part of the business side of the NFL. Emotions are hard to set aside in situations like this. These things happen not just in football, but in all sports. Beloved players come and go. Parting ways with those type of players can be hard on a team and a fanbase. Nelson will be missed by Green Bay, but his talents and hard work will be appreciated by his new team, the Oakland Raiders. It certainly has been a joy to watch number 87 fly down the field for a catch on Sundays for 10 years. All we can say now as Packers fans is, thanks for the memories Jordy Nelson.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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