The One Sport You Probably Forgot to Offer Strength Training
You already know that reaching out to local sports teams is essential to your sports facility’s success. You probably have relationships with plenty of school-based sports teams and coaches, and you may even attend local meets and games to check up on their progress.
However, if you’re like most of the sports facilities I’ve worked with, you’ve overlooked one type of team that could really benefit from your services: cheerleading squads.
I was reminded of this by one of my newest clients: 615 Sports Training in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. 615 Sports Training specializes in sports-specific strength and performance training for a variety of sports. Co-owner Kevin Fitzgerald has more than 10 years of collegiate strength and conditioning experience, and has worked with athletes from all kinds of sports on the college level, including football, baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, and – yes – cheerleading.
Kevin recently created a strength training program tailored specifically for a local cheerleading squad in the Nashville area. “They don’t need to bulk up – they don’t need the benchpress,” Kevin explains. “They need to be more explosive, so we work on drills that tighten their core and strengthen their legs so they can do higher jumps.”
Maybe you’ve typically served only traditional sports teams at your facility. Cheerleading isn’t so different. You don’t need to offer cheerleading clinics or hire a cheerleading expert – you just need to make sure you’re offering your sports performance and strength training programs to them along with the other teams you regularly reach out to.
Cheerleading squads even offer several unique benefits that you may not have considered:
- There are a lot of local cheerleaders, and they practice ALL YEAR. Here in the Midwest, almost every local high school has two or three cheerleading squads with up to 20 girls (a few have guys, too). Middle schools also have their own squads. This means that cheerleading typically has at least as many “players” as sports like basketball and volleyball. What makes cheerleaders even more ideal as clients is that they usually practice all year long, cheering throughout the fall sports season, the winter sports season, and then ending the year with competitions in the spring. That means you’ll have more or longer opportunities to work with them than with a typical school sport.
- Injury prevention should be a priority for cheerleading coaches. Sports performance training reduces the chances of injury for any athletic activity, and cheerleading is no exception. In fact, cheerleading coaches should be taking even more of an interest in injury prevention as their squad’s tumbling and stunts continue to get more advanced. (Plus, because cheerleaders often must perform and practice in areas that weren’t designed for them – for example, gymnastics on a running track – they should be making extra effort to prepare for that impact.)
- The cheerleading market is under-served by sports facilities. Perhaps because many cheerleading squads don’t compete regularly, they haven’t been traditionally been as willing to pay for the extra athletic edge that strength training provides. However, the athletic bar for cheerleaders continues to rise, so I expect that their strength and conditioning needs will grow, as well. That means that right now is a good time to start building relationships with coaches.
Late spring and early summer is a great time to catch cheerleading coaches before their season starts in full swing. When you reach out, make sure to have concrete examples of how strength training prevents injuries and improves performance that will meet their goals. Explain how your strength trainers’ credentials set you apart from the competition.
Also, start to think beyond team training: Cheerleaders might want to attend a conditioning camp leading up to tryouts, or college cheerleaders might want to stay in shape with a summer fitness membership.
If you want to discuss this or other sports facility issues in more detail, call me at (513) 791-4940 or send me an email. If your sports facility has had success working with cheerleading squads, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.