New Season’s Resolutions- Success of Competitive Cheer

Three rounds.  Five Judges.  One chance to impress.  This is the kind of math that Emillie Gort must do as the Hamilton Competitive Cheer coach.  She must lead 17 Hamilton Cheerleaders through ten winter competitions, including districts and a tough conference.  She must mold 17 individuals with 17 personalities into a focused, synchronized unit.  A cheerleader since 7th grade and a five-year coach, Emillie Gort knows what she wants from her team and how to get it.

“Improving our skills so we can improve our scores is our goal,” Coach Gort said.  It would appear that they are well on their way to achieving that goal.  During their first competition of the season, the Otsego Invitational on December 14, the Hamilton Cheer Team scored 625 points.  That is not only an improvement from the first competition of last year, but 80 points more than their highest score of the 2012-2013 season.  And they’re just getting warmed up.  In fact, Coach Gort plans for the team to continue focusing on the technique, skills, jumps, and maneuvers that will bump their score up even higher.  If all goes according to plan, this should move Hamilton up in the rankings.

The desire to improve is omnipresent on the cheer team.  Coach Gort sees her girls bringing a lot of enthusiasm to their training, which is making all the difference.  “I have to teach them to be competitive without being hostile (in terms of beating out other cheer teams in competition),” she laughs.  “They really want to beat Zeeland West and improve as a team.”  The girls are going all in this year, and plan on taking no prisoners when the season picks up in January.  Zeeland West has given Hamilton some trouble in the past, and there are 17 girls and one coach who want to give them some trouble of their own.  In spite of this rivalry, Coach Gort knows that the real goal for the season is just to learn to work hard and work together.

“We run practices the same way we will compete; we drill first round, then second, then third,” Coach Gort said.  “We stop frequently to clean and refine, but we basically do the whole thing.”  Each session builds on the last, and the choreography steadily improves each time.  This prepares the team for crunch time in January, when the team will compete again.

The percentage of cheerleaders in gymnastics has skyrocketed this year.  Gymnastics training is a powerful way to supplement the skills required of a cheerleader, including improved stability, strength, and flexibility.  The presence of a Sam-Spotting Machine has also proven to be a valuable asset to the team.  A Sam Spotting Machine, or Sam Spotting System, is a gymnastics tool that provides a safe method of dynamic training for Gort’s cheerleaders.

By employing proactive strategies for practice and possessing determined attitudes, the Hamilton Competitive Cheer Team has set themselves up for a successful season.  They started out strong and have no plans to slow down now.  Be sure to keep an eye on them as they continue being awesome this year.



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