Cheer practices have already begun, and it’s about time to share the competition schedule for the next season with all the parents and athletes (if you haven’t yet already done so). However, for those of you out there who may be new gym owners or looking to compete your teams nationally for the first time, we are here to give you some guidance on picking the perfect national cheerleading competition schedule for your athletes.
Set the Guidelines
Before you can sign up for any competitions, there are few things you need to decide on first. For example:
- Distance — How far are you and your program willing to travel this season?
- Number — How many competitions do you want to enter?
- Participation — Will all your teams attend every competition?
- Bids — Are you trying to earn a Summit bid, or perhaps a bid to Cheerleading Worlds?
- Cost — Will your decisions make financial sense to the parents?
Answering these questions will help you determine where you look.
Some gyms choose to only compete locally while others plan one or two national cheerleading competitions to take place out of state for their top teams. There is nothing wrong with planning a little travel, but make sure to keep the needs of your parents and athletes in mind. They are likely to appreciate most of the competitions taking place nearby whenever possible.
Choose a reasonable number of competitions, and make sure to spread them out! No parent or athlete wants back-to-back weekends of travel and competing. You’ll also likely see some anger if your teams are trying to fit 15 competitions in just four months — but you’ll see even more if you only plan two competitions for your elite teams all season long. Pick a number early on to know how to spread out dates accordingly.
Choose your number of competitions for each team, and plan based on that number. We know your minis likely won’t compete as often as your Senior 5 team will. On that note, the number of competitions can also depend on the sorts of bids you are hoping to receive.
Whether you are aiming for the Summit or Cheerleading Worlds, you have to win those bids in order to go! By choosing multiple events where bids are being awarded, you and your athletes will feel confident in your ability to earn one. And, should you get your bid earlier in the season, you can always cancel or change future competitions to offset the travel costs of the bid event.
Our final point is cost. As fun as it would be to go to a cheerleading national competition in Disney World and attend one at a resort 500 miles away, most families cannot afford to do both. Be careful about what your athletes can afford, and make the financial obligation clear from the very beginning so parents know what they are getting into.