Cheerleading growing in leaps and bounds
After only starting to offer cheerleading in January this year, Whanganui Boys and Girls Gym Club (WBGGC) already has two full squads in training.
Cheerleading was introduced to WBGGC by new coach Jordin-Rose Daniels, who has a background in the sport.
“Cheerleading is an amazing sport for team building due to the nature of the routines and stunts you perform together, which rely on everyone trusting each other completely. If one person is absent it affects the routine.,” says Jordin-Rose.
There is much more to cheerleading than the stereotypical pom-poms or pre-game dance numbers might suggest. In recent years, cheerleaders are increasingly being recognised for their athleticism and grueling training regimes – a reputation added to by popular Netflix U.S. docuseries ‘Cheer’ which follows the ups and downs of a competitive Texan college cheer squad as they work to win a coveted national title.
It’s interesting to note that historically cheerleaders were male, with the rise of cheerleading connected to the emergence of gridiron football at colleges and universities in the U.S. in the mid-1800’s. Cheerleaders, or ‘yell leaders’ as they were then called, led cheers from the sidelines to encourage spectators and serve as a form of crowd control.
Today, participation at all levels is rapidly growing and the sport is tipped to explode following the International Olympic Committee granting full recognition status in 2021, meaning cheerleading is eligible to be included in future Olympics programmes.
WBGGC Manager Annette Cox says it’s exciting to have the sport on offer here in Whanganui and the club would love to see it grow with the support of the community.
“Cheerleading is an awesome way to build confidence and empowerment, as well as physical strength and skills.
“While cheerleading requires finesse and strength to stunt, jump and tumble, athletes also develop personal and practical life skills including sportsmanship, discipline, mental strength, confidence, social skills, perseverance, and dedication.
“Our recreational cheerleading classes are a great opportunity for children to learn the sport in a safe and inclusive environment,” says Annette.
WBGGC currently has one recreational and one elite squad in training. Places are full for Term 2 but anyone interested in trying the sport out is welcome to register interest for Term 3 classes starting in July. If anyone in the community has a background in cheerleading and is interested in helping with the cheerleading squad WBGGC would love to hear from you. For further information or to register your interest, visit the WBGGC website at www.whanganuigymclub.co.nz.