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cheerleading competitions

Cheerleading Competitions: What You Need to Know

Cheerleading competitions are exhilarating, high-energy events that showcase athleticism, teamwork, and spirit. Whether you’re a seasoned cheerleader, a supportive parent, or a first-time attendee at a cheer competition, there are many aspects to consider for a successful and enjoyable experience. This guide covers everything you need to know about cheer competitions, from preparation and packing to post-competition recovery. Let’s dive into the world of cheerleading competitions with a friendly and upbeat tone!

cheerleading competitions

Leading Up to the Event

Training and Practice

The weeks leading up to a cheerleading competition are crucial. Practices become more intense, with an emphasis on perfecting routines, stunts, and tumbling passes. Here are some tips for making the most of this period:

  • Stay Focused: Maintain concentration during practice. Every detail matters, from synchronization to facial expressions.
  • Conditioning: Keep up with conditioning exercises to ensure strength and endurance.
  • Rest and Recovery: Adequate sleep and recovery are essential. Overworking can lead to injuries or burnout.
  • Nutrition: Nourish your body with well-balanced meals and stay hydrated. Proper nutrition supports performance and quicker recovery time.

Mental Preparation

Mental preparation is often overlooked; however, it is just as important as physical preparation. Encourage positive thinking and visualize success. Coaches often work with athletes on techniques like visualization and mindfulness to enhance focus and reduce anxiety.

Team Bonding

Building a strong team bond can significantly impact performance. Organize team-building activities or simply spend quality time together. A cohesive team communicates better and performs more effectively under pressure.

cheer practice

What to Pack for a Cheer Competition

Packing for a cheerleading competition requires careful planning. Here’s a checklist of cheer gear to ensure you have everything you need:

  • Uniform and Accessories: Include your cheer uniform, pom poms, hair bows, socks, and shoes. Pack extra hair ties, bobby pins, and a brush for touch-ups.
  • Makeup and Hair Products: Bring all necessary makeup items, including foundation, eye shadow, mascara, and lipstick. Don’t forget hairspray and gel for securing hairstyles.
  • Snacks and Hydration: Pack healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, and granola bars. Take a water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • Warm-Up Gear: Include your team warm-up outfit, comfortable clothes for downtime, and a blanket for added comfort.
  • Emergency Kit: Prepare a small kit with band-aids, pain relievers, blister pads, and any personal medications.
  • Entertainment: Bring books, games, or a playlist to keep entertained during downtime.
  • Documentation: Don’t forget essential documents like competition registration, insurance information, and contact details.

what to bring to a cheer competition

Getting to the Cheer Competition

Travel Arrangements

Plan your travel arrangements well in advance. If the competition is out of town, consider factors like travel time, accommodation, and transportation to and from the venue. Arriving the day before the competition can help reduce stress and ensure everyone is well-rested.

Arriving at the Venue

On competition day, aim to arrive at the venue early. This allows time for check-in, finding your way around, and a proper warm-up. Being early also provides a buffer for any unexpected delays.

Navigating the Venue

Large venues can be overwhelming. Familiarize yourself with the layout, including practice areas, performance stages, restrooms, and concession stands. Having a good sense of the venue can save time and reduce stress.

getting to the event

Fun Traditions You Can Create at Cheer Competitions

Creating traditions can make cheer competitions even more memorable and fun for your team. Here are a few ideas:

Pre-Competition Rituals

Developing a pre-competition ritual can help boost team morale and focus. This could be a special cheer, a team chant, or a motivational pep talk.

Good Luck Charms

Encourage team members to bring small good luck charms. These can be items like friendship bracelets, lucky socks, or personalized keychains. Sharing the stories behind these charms can also strengthen team bonds.

Team Spirit Gifts

Exchanging small spirit gifts before the competition is a great way to build excitement and camaraderie. Items like personalized water bottles, hair bows, or inspirational notes can lift spirits and reinforce team unity.

Celebratory Traditions

Win or lose, having a post-competition tradition can provide closure and create lasting memories. This could be a team dinner, a group outing, or simply gathering to reflect on the day’s achievements.

cheer traditions

The Cheer Hangover: Post-Competition Recovery

After the high energy and adrenaline rush of a cheer competition, many cheerleaders experience what’s known as the “cheer hangover.” This is a feeling of exhaustion and emotional comedown after the event. Here’s how to manage it:

Rest and Recovery

Encourage ample rest post-competition. A good night’s sleep and a few days of light activity can help the body recover. Stretching and gentle yoga can also alleviate muscle soreness.

Hydration and Nutrition

Replenish your body with nutritious meals and plenty of water. Focus on foods that are high in protein, vitamins, and minerals to support recovery.

Emotional Well-Being

Acknowledging and processing emotions is essential. Celebrate the highs and reflect on any disappointments constructively. Team discussions or journaling can be beneficial for emotional recovery.

Plan for the Future

Looking forward to the next cheer competition can help mitigate post-competition blues. Set new goals and start planning the next steps in your cheer journey.

post competition recovery

Food Tips for Cheer Competitions

Good nutrition plays a critical role in performance and recovery. Here are some food tips to keep in mind:

Pre-Competition Meals

Eating a balanced meal at least 2-3 hours before the cheer competition is essential. Include complex carbohydrates for energy, lean protein for muscle support, and healthy fats. Some meal ideas include:

  • Grilled chicken with brown rice and vegetables
  • Whole grain pasta with low-sugar marinara sauce and a side salad
  • Turkey and avocado on whole-grain bread


Pack easy-to-digest snacks to maintain energy levels throughout the day. Good options include:

  • Fresh fruit (bananas, apples, berries)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Greek yogurt
  • Granola bars
  • Rice cakes with almond butter


Staying hydrated is crucial. Encourage regular water intake and consider electrolyte drinks if the competition is long or intense. Avoid sugary beverages and excessive caffeine, as these can lead to energy crashes.

Post-Competition Meals

After the cheer competition, focus on recovery foods that replenish glycogen stores and repair muscles. Choose meals that include a balance of carbs, protein, and healthy fats:

  • Quinoa salad with mixed vegetables and grilled salmon
  • A protein smoothie with spinach, berries, and almond milk
  • A hearty soup with lean meat, beans, and vegetables

food tips for event day

Ready for the Next Cheer Competition

Cheerleading competitions are thrilling experiences that test skills, endurance, and team spirit. With proper preparation, packing, and a positive mindset, you can ensure that competition day is both successful and enjoyable. Embrace the journey, cherish the traditions, and support each other through the highs and lows. Whether it’s your first cheer competition or one of many, each event offers unique opportunities for growth, bonding, and unforgettable memories. Are you looking to get started with cheerleading? Activstars is here to help you begin your journey! Visit our website today to sign up for a cheerleading program near you.

So, lace up those cheer shoes, grab your pom-poms, and get ready to shine on the competition floor. Go team! 🏆🎉📣