PERFECT WAYS TO HELP YOUR CHEERLEADING ATHLETE MANAGE THE STRESS OF COMPETITION AND AVOID BURNOUT

There’s no denying the importance of sports in your kid’s life. As a competitive sport, cheerleading requires a lot of mental focus and energy. While active participation and healthy competition are beneficial to them, they can often come with a hefty price tag in the form of additional stress. 

When this stress reaches their hearts and minds, it affects their physical and mental performance, ultimately leading to injury. For this reason, young cheerleaders must learn how to handle stress constructively. Stumped by irritability, insomnia, headaches, procrastinating, and a change in eating/behavior, did you know that these are all signs of stress? 

Being the kicka** supportive cheer moms and parents we know you are (cuz we see you), you’re doing everything in your power to help your kids stay strong and mentally healthy so they can thrive in this sport. Because of this, managing competition stress and preventing burnout are the best things you can do to support your cheerleader. 

Knowing what to do if you notice any of the above or other anxiety symptoms in your competitive cheerleader is essential. Educate yourself on how you can assist your athlete. 

We’ve got some tips for helping your cheerleader cope with competition and burnout. 

SET AN EXAMPLE

As parents, we often experience a great deal of stress when our children compete in sports. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. The phrase is repeated in relation to self-care and how, as parents, we want to give everything, but we cannot do that if we are operating from a place of deficit. Trust me, I have been there. 

Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your children. Check-in with yourself and become aware of your own stress levels. Children learn essential coping skills by mimicking our habits and behaviors. By taking care of your physical and emotional health, you’ll set an excellent example for them! 

Open communication creates a solid foundation for trust. If your child or athlete feels anxious or stressed, you should encourage them to openly discuss their feelings with you. Responding with empathy and understanding lets them know it’s okay to share. 

Naturally, the workload of our young cheer athletes increases as they grow older, both in sports and in school. To perform at their best, they need to keep their stress levels low. Keeping them on track can minimize the chances of behavioral issues. Additionally, you can help them de-stress through mindfulness because when they experience stress, they need to have the ability to de-stress.

MAKE HEALTHY HABITS A FAMILY THING

Encourage positive outlets such as journaling, making art, and physical activities. By getting your child moving, you’re giving their body a natural boost of endorphins and dopamine, brain chemicals that can make them feel happy, confident, and less anxious. Sports experts recommend young athletes increase their cardio regimen to boost their energy and focus. We’ve gotta get them moving and doing more cardio!

Establish a routine and stick to it. Keeping a daily routine is challenging for athletes when traveling or juggling multiple competitions. Establishing one before the season starts can help student-athletes get a head start on their routine. 

Sleep is essential for stress management. Encourage your family to limit screen time in the evenings. Set the alarm to remind your child when it’s time to wind down for bed if time management is a problem.

FIND THE RIGHT BALANCE TO REDUCE STRESS

Limit over-scheduling to keep your cheerleader from feeling overwhelmed. The key is to include breaks in everyday activities and give them ample unstructured time to hang out with their friends, rest, and recharge.

Communicate anticipated changes to your child so they have enough time to adjust. By talking with them, you can talk about their concerns, validate their feelings, and invite them to ask questions to help them cope with change.

Keep healthy boundaries. Chances are that if your family is going through a difficult time, your child will be aware of it. Also, although open communication is crucial, it’s important to remember that even more mature kids can’t handle the nuances of adult problems. So let them express their feelings and reassure them they’re safe.

CREATE A STRONG FOUNDATION FOR CONNECTION

Provide nutrition for your cheerleading athlete’s growing body and mind. Maintaining adequate hydration and eating a well-balanced diet is essential. By eating healthily and getting ample rest, athletes can perform at their best during cheerleading competitions.  

Encourage resilience by reminding your cheerleader that they are capable and able to overcome challenges. Build their self-confidence and help them believe they can solve problems. Ultimately, you build your child’s confidence by teaching them how to recognize when they are stressed. 

Become familiar with your child’s behavior and emotional patterns. You will be able to check in with them about any changes that may occur before the problem worsens.

Keep in touch with their cheer coaches, teachers, and school counselors. Besides being trained in these areas, they have many helpful resources at their disposal. Seek their help if things start to get stressful.

LU CHEER PRO TIP:

Once you begin incorporating these tips into you and your athlete’s daily routines, I think you’ll find that even the most stressful moments become just a little more manageable. Which tips will you try first? Remember, you got this!


*This is not an advertisement or sponsored content. There is no official endorsement or evaluation by Level Up Cheer of these products, services, or companies.

**Please note that the content on Level Up Cheer is not intended to replace professional medical advice. For any questions you may have, you should always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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