26-year-old Megan Carmean, aka “Carmeano,” considers herself an “in-betweener” because she was able to experience the evolution of the all-star world from the time she first began her cheer career at age 10 at Omaha, NE-based Elite Cheer to now. While competing as an athlete, Carmean also played the role of assistant coach in many of the national championships the team won. Since 2006, Carmean has been Elite Cheer’s Head Coach, Safety Coordinator and Youth Program Director (all while holding down a full-time job as a nurse).
We received the following email in our inbox from a 13-year-old aspiring all-star cheerleader and enlisted program director/coach Tara Wieland of Michigan Storm Cheer & Dance to share her insights and advice.
Question: Hi, I am a 13-year-old and I love the concept of cheerleading and would love to cheer myself. So can I still be on an all-star team even though I am not be able to tumble and be super flexible?
Most people don’t equate cheerleading with computer science, but global systems engineer and former all-star athlete Ambrel Mitchell Brannon has successfully been able to juggle all the above. Currently a coach at Cheer Athletics, Brannon completed a Masters degree in computer science at Southern Methodist University while coaching several teams and competing on an open coed team. Now retired, she works her day job as an engineer and spends her nights and weekends coaching at Cheer Athletics.
The old adage “Go with what you know” is a familiar one for Cheer Savannah owner Stephanie Britt. When hiring new employees, Britt tends to go straight to the source—athletes from within her gym who’ve been there, done that.
The decision has always been a no-brainer for Britt, who finds it extremely advantageous to use coaches who grew up in the culture of the gym. After all, they already know the drills and terminology, so very little training is necessary. In addition, the athletes are familiar with gym policies and can teach others how to best represent themselves and Cheer Savannah to the community. “You’re only a leader if people follow you,” says Britt, “and leadership is key to any gym program’s success.”
The following is a guest post from coach, choreographer and social media consultant Kate Boyd: By now, you’re aware that you need a social media policy, and you may already have one created. So start by giving yourself a high five! Because the first step in implementing a policy is to have one (or at more »
Scott “Crasher” Braasch’s nickname is hard to ignore—especially in cheerleading, a sport that tends to frown on crashes of any kind. Braasch is quick to mention that the nickname doesn’t reflect how he drives or stunts, but the Cheer Tyme titan still remembers the moment he got the moniker, when his wild-eyed, excitable high school football coach congratulated him after a game-winning play.
One of the hottest topics at this year’s NACCC conference in Doral? The idea of a universal scoresheet. Cheer professionals Kristen Rosario and John Metz are among the industry’s outspoken advocates for this development, and the 22 member companies of IEP announced their collective endorsement of having a universal scoresheet back in 2010. However, respondents to a CheerProfessional survey in June were evenly split, with half for and half against (and one stipulating that she would support a universal rubric rather than scoresheet).
Many cheer professionals wear several hats—not only as gym owners and coaches, but also as parents. And when the two worlds meet, things can get complicated. After all, raising a child is a challenging endeavor for any parent, but the ante is especially raised when doing double-duty as parent and coach. Issues like favoritism, overcompensation and parental guilt constantly arise and have become frequent topics of discussion in private Facebook groups for cheer professionals.
Social media and its various tools—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest—provide a wonderful opportunity for gyms to interact online, but the very nature of the beast can sometimes put a gym’s reputation at risk. One derogatory remark on Twitter, and 1,000 re-tweets later, your popularity could hit rock bottom. The best solution for keeping your social media reputation in check? Implementing a social media policy.
Julie Johnson’s secret to sanity? Instant smoothie gratification. The Extreme Allstars coach brings her Nutri Bullet blender everywhere she goes for that quick fix she craves—and needs. After all, Johnson is often working in the Melbourne, FL-based gym past midnight.
“I know it sounds funny, but it’s true,” Johnson says. “It gets fruit into my system really quickly. I add a little peanut butter. That gets me going for a few hours.”