EQuiPmENT EXPo 59 Opening Your Smart Training Toolbox By Stacy Finnerty
he season is in full swing and we all hope that our cheer teams hit the Sweet Spot during their competitions. Athletes tumble, jump and throw their ﬂyers high in the air as they cheer. What’s the secret to each team’s success? The answer is a mixture of training smart, using proper progressions, and utilizing some new and innovative products provided by equipment companies such as Tumbl Trak! Training smart means to plan your workouts correctly for both the athlete and the staﬀ. Be sure to introduce new skills in small increments. Break them down so that each phase of the skill is learned and mastered prior to putting it all together. The great news is that proper equipment makes this easy! Tumbl Trak is full of innovative equipment for All Star cheerleading and is a great resource for skill development. Below are a few key pieces of equipment that many cheer programs have found to be valuable. The Sweet Spot is a useful tool in any coach’s toolbox. Use it for jumps, tucks, round-oﬀs and many more drills. The Sweet Spot, which is ﬁlled with air, is small, lightweight and portable enough to be carried around the gym for use in many diﬀerent classes. In my gym, we have three Sweet Spots and I often have a hard time ﬁnding an available one because they’re always in use! The 3’ x 4’ size is perfect to take over to the non-spring ﬂoor and use it for jumps. Many repetitions can be done safely on this piece, which makes it a great training resource. The Power Launch is one of those pieces of equipment you might not know you need until you get it. Then, you wonder, “How did our gym ever live without it?!” Because it’s so portable, it’s easy to take various places for assemblies, exhibitions, demonstrations, etc. Filled with 8” of air, this mat is strong enough to stand against a wall when it’s not in use, but it’s also soft enough on which to learn your ﬁrst back handspring. The Launch Pad is a thicker air-ﬁlled mat and, wow, it really does what it says: launches its users! It’s perfect for athletes who are having a hard time ﬁnding air, for beginners who are just learning new jumps, for those athletes working on standing back tucks, or as a takeoﬀ surface for the athlete who is just putting their round-oﬀ, back tuck together. It has a target in the middle creating a great visual aid. Oh, the things you can do with just 10 feet of an Air Floor! Place your Air Floor on top of an incline (cheese/wedge mat) for back handsprings and round-oﬀs. Set the Air Floor in the cross section of your spring ﬂoor when you ﬁrst add tumbling passes. Or, take it to non-spring surfaces and work repetitively on tumbling skills without the strain on the athletes’ joints. The possibilities and varied uses for the Air Floor are endless!
Carefully build skills, and simultaneously shape your athletes and condition them to be the best that they can be. Bring your smart training tools to every practice so that when it’s time to go to a competition, you can relax and do what you do best: CHEER! Look for progression videos on Tumbl Trak’s YouTube channel and find Training Tip videos on their website at www.tumbltrak.com!
CHEERBIZNEWS.COM : DEC-JAN 2014
photos courtesy tumbletrak
Remember, training smart also means taking a progressive approach to learning new skills. Success comes from within and in order for skills to be successful, they need to be learned piece by piece. Every athlete needs to have good shapes in order to have good skills, and they need to be strong enough to complete these skills. It is important to have the mental toughness to be patient and let the process work the way it is intended to. Be careful not throw skills at your athletes before they’re ready. Doing skills too soon is not safe for the athlete or the coach, and injury prevention should be your number one goal.