Choreography season is well underway, and just about every team has at least the overall structure of their routine set up. However, when it comes down to it, how strong is your routine? Is it about difficult stunts, specialty tumbling passes, insane visuals? Well, yes — but there’s a small trick to use in your routines to make them stand out from the competition. It’s about much more than difficulty. It’s all about transitions.
The Intricacy of Transitions
Most coaches know this, but not all athletes understand that it’s the transitions that create a dazzling routine. If you’ve ever been at a cheer competition and felt just a little disengaged from the team on stage, you’re not alone. It’s hard to watch a routine where only one or two athletes are doing something interesting. However, when everyone is constantly moving, dancing, stunting, tumbling, or anything, it’s much more enticing to both the audience and the judges. There should be no empty space in a routine.
With that said, it is no longer enough to simply “walk to a spot” on the mat and wait for the next part of the routine. Many choreographers will fill in these sections with some sort of movement. Perhaps there will be a basket toss in the back behind the running tumbling section. Others will include a short series of sassy motions before the jumps to allow everyone to reach their formation. No matter what the movement, it is essential to treat your transitions as if they were just as important as your pyramid — because they are.
Why Transitions Matter
While it might be easy to overlook, a solid portion of your score is about routine composition. This includes creativity and difficulty. Even if your team drops a stunt or you don’t quite land your back tuck, what you lost in a deduction may be made up for simply by having a fun routine that is interesting to watch. At many competitions, the difference between first and second place could be less than half a point. Don’t let that point come down to the overall impression you left on the judges.
Transitions are a way of keeping the eye busy at all times. As strange as it may seem, the little transition movements can surprise spectators and leave them wondering, “how did they get there? I didn’t see that basket toss loading in the back.” What they don’t know is, while everyone was focused on the athletes were doing their jump sequence, that basket toss was getting set right behind them. Use these small surprises to keep the crowd (and the judges) guessing the entire time about what is going to happen next. Even those of you with smaller teams can use this technique if you take the time to choreograph your transitions. You may not have “surprise” basket tosses, but you may be able to wow the judges more than you think.
Do you have transitions down to a science? Is your team ready to impress our judges? Prove it. Sign up for one of our many Worldwide Spirit Association cheerleading competitions. With local and national options, there is a competition for every team in the country. We look forward to seeing you!