Why An Athlete Is Not Defined By Their Level

Why An Athlete Is Not Defined By Their Level

Pressure can drive athletes crazy.
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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!

Cover Image Credit: National Cheerleaders Association

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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The Top 10 Quarterback-Wide Receiver Combos In The NFL

In a passing league, a quarterback runs the show on offense, and his favorite wide-receiver is his reliable safety blanket.

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The NFL has seen great quarterbacks and great wide receivers. When a combination of a great quarterback and wide receiver are on one team, an offense can become very dangerous. Certain teams and their fans have been fortunate enough to see outstanding duos. This list includes record breakers, Super Bowl MVPs, and Hall of Famers

10. Stabler to Biletnikoff

Ken Stabler and Fred Biletnikoff were typical Oakland Raiders. Rule breaking characters who only cared about winning. The Raiders' victory in Super Bowl XI was the peak of the Raiders dominance of the 70s. MVP Biletnikoff reflected on their years in Oakland and his friendship with Stabler.

9. Namath to Maynard

In the 60s Broadway Joe Namath captivated football fans in the American Football League. He and Don Maynard were bombs away on the field. In 1968 the Jets upset the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. If it was not for Namath and Maynard, the Jets might not have been in the big game.

8. Staubach to Pearson

Roger Staubach and Drew Pearson made it on the map when Staubach hit Pearson for the first Hail Mary touchdown. They won Super Bowl XII with the Cowboys in 1977 and played in 3 Super Bowls all together in the 70s. Pearson has been overlooked by the Hall of Fame. He deserves to be in Canton along with his quarterback.

7. Brady to Edelman

For the past decade, Tom Brady and Julian Edelman have tormented secondaries and defensive coordinators. They just won their 3rd Super Bowl together and each has left their mark on the NFL. Brady's best receiver in his career may have been Hall of Famer Randy Moss, but Edelman has been the most reliable weapon for the Patriots.

6. Kelly to Reed

The K-Gun offense was perfect for Bills quarterback Jim Kelly. The fast-paced, no-huddle offense was a headache for defenses. Andre Reed was the perfect deep threat for Kelly. The Bills went to 4 straight Super Bowls in the early 90s, something that has not been done before or since. Kelly and Reed are both Hall of Famers despite not winning the Super Bowl.

5. Aikman to Irvin

Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin won three Super Bowls together in Dallas. In their first Aikman hit Irvin for two touchdowns in an MVP performance by Aikman. The Dallas dynasty of the early 90s would not have been possible without this duo.

4. Unitas to Berry

Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry were the best at their positions in their time. The prolific combination of these two legends brought the Colts back to back championships in the late 50s. Their on the field chemistry started before game days. Unitas and Berry would stay after practice and run pass patterns to prepare for Sunday afternoons in Baltimore.

3. Montana to Rice

Jerry Rice entered the league in 1985. By then Joe Montana was a two time Super Bowl champion and two time Super Bowl MVP. Montana and Rice would lead the 49ers to two Super Bowls in the late 80s. Each would win a Super Bowl MVP and San Francisco became the team of the 80s.

2. Young to Rice

By the Early 90s, Jerry Rice had been established as one of, if not, the best wide receiver in NFL history. When injuries led to Joe Montana being traded from the 49ers Steve Young took over the offense. During the transition, Rice would practice catching passes from a left-handed ball boy on the 49ers. Young and Rice would lead the 49ers to three straight NFC championship appearances and a victory in Super Bowl XXIX.

1. Manning to Harrison

Peyton Manning's career makes a compelling argument for him as the best quarterback of his generation. Marvin Harrison may have been the best wide receiver of the 2000s. The fact that they were on the same team was like the stars aligning. Manning and Harrison combined for 12,766 yards and 112 touchdowns - two records that may never be broken. Together, they led the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl in 2006.

The importance of a good quarterback-receiver duo cannot be understated. The better the chemistry is between the two, the better the offense will run. All of these duos brought different things to the table. But they all caused headaches for opposing secondaries.

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