Cheerleading is an activity that has become really popular in the UK. There are professional teams around the UK which have even won international tournaments, such as the 2018 ICU international cheerleading championships. So why do kids love cheerleading lessons so much?
The health benefits
Physical activity always feels good, especially for children who have loads of energy to use. And there are real concrete health benefits that come from cheerleading lessons. For examples, the lessons improve cardiovascular stamina – those routines are a type of aerobic workout that helps young bodies build up the stamina to do stunts, passes and dancing.
Cheerleading is also great for strength training. When you are doing bases and backstops list to support the bottom of a stunt or pyramid, you need strength as well as focus and great balance. Flyers need to work with bases to get into the air and be able to control their bodies. All of these moves mean you need good, strong muscles, especially in the lower body, core and shoulders.
Flexibility is a key part of cheerleading as seen with high kicks, jumps, splits and the many stunt sequences. Having ligaments and muscles that have a high amount of flex is also good to prevent strains and other injuries while cheerleading and in life in general. Kids also learn good stretching practices before and after their lessons to help keep themselves in good condition.
Coordination and mental skills
As well as encouraging physical strength and flexibility, cheerleading is great to build up coordination and motor skills which can be applied to many other things in life. Coordination comes with the cheers, dances and stunts that cheerleaders do, following a sequence of motions with great timing and rhythm. Coordination is key for this to get yourself where you need to be for the sequence and means kids have great control over their bodies.
As well as better control of their bodies, cheerleading helps kids learn better mental skills as well. The self-esteem boost that comes from being fit and healthy, part of a team and even being successful can be very important at key stages in their development. Cheerleading also learns them about the importance of preparation, perseverance and application – if they don’t practice, they won’t succeed.
Kids may not tell you they love cheerleading because of the social skills they learn but this is at the heart of it all. The sense of team, of being a part of something bigger and working with others towards a shared goal is a social skill with many different applications. Personal drive is another skill that is learned but in a good context – as one part of a team, not just on your own.
Cheerleaders form strong bonds with other members of the team and their parents as everyone spends time together. These friendships often last a lifetime and even when the cheerleading has stopped, those bonds can remain. It also helps children get used to being around new and strange people, forming friendships and other great social skills.