Equipment for cheerleaders: The path to perfect performance
Competitive cheerleading is a highly demanding sport that requires precise training and the right equipment. Do you know what it includes?
For individuals who strive to achieve peak performance and compete at a high level, it is important to have proper equipment. In this article, we'll look at the key pieces of equipment that are essential for competitive cheerleading, both in its sport and dance cheerleading.
1. Training clothes
For effective training functional clothes are the key. This clothing should be suitable for physical activity and allow athletes to move freely. Therefore, tight leggings or shorts and elastic tops or T-shirts are the best choice.
Appropriate clothing will of course vary depending on the outside temperature and weather, as well as the type of activity an athlete is engaged in. Dancers' and sports cheerleaders' needs will differ in terms of clothing, as well as needs of a base and a flyer (top) team member in a mixed, i.e. CoEd team.
In general, however, shorts and a light T-shirt or a tank top will be more suitable for training in the summer months. Also, try a crop top - for example from the Swedish Fall collection. They're available in both long and short sleeves options and are just sizzling right now.
In winter, it is more common to choose leggings or other long pants, so our muscles do not get cold during training. A very popular accessory during the colder months are tracksuits and sweatshirts, which can be worn even outside of training sessions.
For small children, t-shirts and trousers or shorts with glittering CHEER writing are clearly the best.
2. Cheerleading shoes
Cheerleading shoes are designed to give an athlete support and stability during acrobatic movements. They have a low profile and a thin, smooth sole, which allows better contact with a sports mat. They usually come in white, but it also depends on the team's colour scheme, as some teams prefer black shoes.
Shoes must be comfortable and good-fitting. They must not be too narrow, as it can cause cramps in the foot, nor too wide, so that they can sit tight on the leg. They should provide sufficient protection from impacts and injuries during jumps and acrobatic exercises.
Nowadays, it is possible to have custom-made shoes with your logo or even team colours. For example, the No Limit brand offers personalized V-RO shoes, which you can see on the teammates of the American cheerleading club Top Gun.
When choosing cheerleading shoes, you need to consider not only style and appearance but also functionality and safety. It is good to consult with a coach or experienced cheerleaders to find the appropriate shoe model that will meet your needs and requirements. Cheerleading shoes are an extremely important piece of equipment for anyone involved in this challenging sport.
On the other hand, for dance cheerleading, dance shoes, gymnastic shoes or other types of shoes are most often chosen according only to the athlete's preference and level.
For many cheerleaders, the bow is an inseparable part of the outfit, not only during competitions but also in training! A bow expresses enthusiasm and spirit. Of course, it's also an accessorise, so it tends to be colourful and/or glittery. There are no limits to imagination :)
Most clubs have a competition bow that matches their uniform. They are usually custom-made bows with a simple or more standing-out design. For regular training athletes can usually wear a bow of their own choice. Instead of a bow, some clubs choose, for example, scrunchies, which are also very popular recently.
4. Pompoms (Pom-poms)
Pompoms are not only a distinctive visual element but also a huge part of many choreographies. While in dance cheerleading we have a separate Freestyle Pom category where the dancer must have the pom poms in her hands for almost the entire routine, in sports cheerleading the poms are only used as part of the shout.
Pompoms can be used to create effective waves, letters or pictures. Holographic pom-poms sparkle beautifully, while plastic pom-poms have a distinctive colour and are especially suitable for sports matches. The in-between choice is metallic pom-poms, which reflect light beautifully.
Cheaper types of pom-poms are suitable for small children, recreational cheerleading or practice. Attention, pom poms are sold in pieces, not pairs!
5. Uniforms or costumes
For performances or competitions, each team has its own jersey or uniform. Unlike other sports, where a player or an athlete has his name and number on the jersey, cheer uniforms are usually exactly the same. Each team has its own original design and it depends on each club, which option will they choose. Both simple and very complex designs are common and are always made to measure.
In dance cheerleading, various costumes can be used, as, for example, a cheer uniform would not be suitable for the Hip Hop dance category :)
6. Training aids
The training mat is an important safety element for practising acrobatics, pyramids and jumps. The mat should be thick enough to absorb impact and large enough to allow training of a wide range of movements for the entire group of athletes.
The most frequently used mat is the so-called gymnastic foam mat. This is a layer of hard foam on which the carpet is glued. Cheerleaders most often use the 3.5 cm thickness for training in a hall with a hard floor. In the case of placing carpets on a sprung floor, a thickness of 2.5 cm is often used.
Gymnastic mats are among the basic and most crucial safety elements for cheerleaders. Due to the fact, that sometimes falls from doing acrobatics or stunts cannot be prevented, a soft training mat can literally save a life.
Another type of mat for training, especially for acrobatics, is the Airtrack. Airtracks are inflatable mats that provide greater bounce and thus enable faster and safer training of gymnastics elements.
Dance cheerleaders obviously cannot do without mirrors for their training, as they allow the dancers to observe and improve their technique.
For training at home, you can purchase a shorter gymnastic carpet, a mat or a very popular today Airtrack: Home Edition.
Of course, there is a whole range of equipment that can also be used - backpacks, tapes, socks, shoe cases, etc. Today, however, we have focused only on the most important items. All in all, sports cheerleading and dance cheerleading are different sports with different equipment needs. While sports cheerleading mainly focuses on performing acrobatic and gymnastic elements, dance provides an artistic expression through various dance styles. Choosing the right gear depends on the specific sport and style you pursue.
If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help you!