By: Sara R. Hunt
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Publication Date: January 2013
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: Februry 2013
If you think that cheerleading originated as an all-girl sport, think again. It all started with “pep club” members “who organized chants at college football games in the 1800s.” Women didn’t start participating until the 1920s and the popularity of the sport waxed and waned throughout the decades. Today’s cheerleaders aren’t just out there trying to look good, they are actually athletes participating in a sport, not unlike members of any other team. There are actually two different kinds of cheerleading: competition and sideline. Sideline cheerleaders are out there drumming up support for their teams while competition cheerleading, or All-Star cheerleading, is actually a competitive sport. You’ll learn about the differences between the two in this book.
Cheerleaders aren’t just cheering and using their pom poms, they also “jump, tumble, dance, and stunt.” Young men and women are now engaging in this sport ... as athletes. Athletes who play football, basketball, or baseball all have special uniforms. Cheerleaders have “cheer gear.” If you want to be a cheerleader (female), you’ll need a shell top, skirt, cheer shoes, pony and bow, poms, cheer briefs, anklet socks, and sometimes a megaphone. In your cheer bag there are many different things you’ll be carrying, including warm-ups and a bodysuit or body liner. You never know when you’ll need those little “extras” like feminine products that can be a lifesaver.
There are a lot of training tips to keep in mind if you want to be at the top of your game in cheerleading. You need to raise your endurance level, become stronger, more flexible, and improve your balance. Of course whether or not you are practicing or cheerleading, there are always safety rules to keep in mind. You’ll learn about the “Arm Motion ABCs” and those little extras like “spirit fingers,” the importance of facials and using your voice to your advantage. You’ll also learn about stunting, jumping, what to consider if you’re going to try out for a squad, you’ll read about health tips, “snappy snacks,” some fun crafts, you’ll learn how to make cheer bows and poms, how to make the perfect ponytail, cheers and chants, and you’ll learn many other things about the sport of cheerleading.
This is a fun, comprehensive book about things every aspiring young cheerleader should know. Any young person wanting to be a cheerleader will gain a lot of information in this book. Beginner’s interested in taking up the sport will be able to not only read lots of hints and tips, but will also be able to take a look at many full-color action photographs. The Arm Motion ABC’s are laid out on a two-page spread with characters displaying the moves. Interspersed throughout the book are numerous informative sidebars.
For example, one on attitude says that “Cheerleaders should display a positive attitude at all times. Always listen to what your coach asks you to do and remember--cheerleading is a team sport. What is best for the team is best for you!” In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore. There are free downloadable “bonus cheerleading” information on the publisher’s website.
Quill says: If you have a young athlete in the family who's interested in the sport of cheerleading, this is an excellent book you may wish to consider!