Viking Views Spring/Summer 2018

will spend a lot of time developing unique stunt sequences, transitions and pyramids to incorporate into our routine, while maximizing our team's personal potential and scoring our difficulty as high as possible on a score sheet. Once the choreographers arrive on campus, they are given only one weekend to teach the entire routine to the team. This may seem like plenty of time to teach a 2 minute and 15 second routine to 20 people, but the process is no small feat. The formations call for an individual to possess a specific skill and if the individual in that spot on the mat does not possess that skill, like a puzzle, the problem must be solved. Everyone has to fit in such a specific way to make the routine possible. Choreographers must be flexible with their plan and our athletes must be able to easily adapt to and remember all of the information being thrown at them. Then, again, after the choreographer leaves, we coaches spend the next month or so altering the routine to meet our teams needs at that time, either making it easier or harder so that they may execute a flawless routine with the maximum difficulty. Where do you look for inspiration when developing a routine? Our choreographers have extensive experience as UCA College Staff, USASF All-Star Cheerleading Staff, Head College Coaches and they have cheered in college themselves. This combined with the growing world of cheerleading on social media, content is abundant for our choreographers to develop their own version of new ideas in cheerleading. This is a sport where the rules and limits will be pushed and constantly changing so teams may become known as the best in the sport. Tumbling constantly gets better, basket tosses get higher, pyramids are more intricate, and stunts almost defy physics. What aspects of cheer are most important to showcase during a competition? Standing tumbling, running tumbling, jumps, stunts, pyramids, and baskets are all main sections on our score sheet at a competition. The judges will rate our difficulty in each section and then rate our execution of each. They are all equally weighted and one is just as important as the other, meaning a team must be well-rounded and have no weaknesses in order to win a national championship. The best teams in cheerleading will max out scores in both difficulty and execution in every single part of the score sheet. At Valley, this team is specifically strong at coed stunting. We see this as our niche compared to all other schools that we compete against where we see virtually no coed stunting at all. Coed stunting is where one male

tosses/flips/spins and then holds one female above his head during a stunt sequence. We like to showcase our strength in coed stunting to impress both the judges and the crowd. This year our coed stunts were more elite than any other team and that helped us win at nationals! Our tumbling has been our weakness for the last two years and we intend to change that this coming season. We have recruited very elite tumblers to join our ranks and help us dominate in every area of the score sheet. The dance section is typically our cheerleaders favorite part and our choreographer always gives us a very unique dance, not typical of what you'd expect a cheer dance to look like. This allows our cheerleaders to have fun performing this section. It is also usually at the end of a routine so they can give the dance all the energy they have left "in their tank" and really perform for the crowd. Do you develop a routine that will showcase the team’s strengths, but also limit exposing any weaknesses? Absolutely. This team is nowhere near perfect, and we all know that. We work extremely hard on our strengths and even harder on our weaknesses leading up to the competitions. But this doesn't mean that our weaknesses don't exist. We always minimize, hide or disguise our weaknesses (like tumbling) throughout our routine, while blatantly and obviously showing off what we are good at. As coaches, we are very honest and forward with our team about where their skills should score on a score sheet and where other teams should score, better or worse. We want them to have this knowledge so that they can work to improve their weaknesses and to also to remain humble. There is always room to improve and we will never stop trying to be better than we were yesterday. What were the strengths and weaknesses of you team this past season? Our routine this year scored in the highest difficulty range on the score sheet in every category. There is only one other team in the NAIA that also accomplished that this year! Our strengths are coed stunting, group stunting, and our pyramids also score very high. Our weakness is tumbling. Though we always scores in the highest range, this is where we need the most improvement. Baskets, in addition to our growth in stunting, were our most improved sections over last year's routine. We were able to throw much more elite baskets this year and to score in the highest range on the score sheet. 21

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