Summer Roundup!

We are excited to be sending out our first industry insider newsletter; Cheerleading Today – A Maximum View! It is our hope that this newsletter provides a direct, clear, and non-biased resource for gym owners, coaches, and other industry professionals. This initial send went out to to a select few but, we would love to have you forward it to a friend (or 20) and encourage them to sign up for the newsletter themselves. 

This issue will go over

Scoring Comparison – With Noelle Dudek, Scoring Director of Maximum Cheer and Dance

There are a few major differences between The United Scoring System, and The Open Championship Scoring System as of this time. While both systems are still being updated, the list below may change. 

  • Cartwheels are no longer considered standing tumbling for the Open.
  • You can recycle athletes in tosses on the Open as long as its still “same section” where as you can’t on United.
  • Double Nine is not considered an advanced jump on the Open.
  • The Open requires show-n-gos for toss credit in level one.
  • Technique scores will go down by one-tenth on the United and two-tenths on the Open.
  • The overall judge on United has formations and transitions, routine creativity, dance, showmanship for a total of 8 raw points; whereas on the overall judge on the Open has routine mastery and dance mastery for a total of 2 raw points.
  • United has level appropriate, “advanced” and elite stunt skills whereas the Open has just level appropriate and elite.

Scoring Systems by IEP

Below you will find two lists representing the main two scoring systems at this time, The Open Championship Series, The United Scoring System, and  The USASF Scoring System,. We have worked to bring you a list of which EPs will actively follow which scoring systems for the 2023-2024 season, as well as direct links to the scoring systems so you can find their rubrics, level appropriate documents, and score sheets. 

The following programs offer their own unique scoring system that doesn’t directly align with either of the major systems: Spirit Brands, Global Cheer and Dance, Fun! Cheer and Diamond Cheer & Dance.

Choreography Spotlight

Five tips for this post-choreography, pre-competition stage of the season – By Jess & Adam Forte of Forte Spirit Solutions
1. Try not to glorify “full out” or to create fear surrounding it.  Running “full out” should not be talked about for the first 2 months post- choreo and definitely shouldn’t be attempted. Failure in skills and technique will lead to bad habits and possible frustration. FACT: It takes 300 reps to create muscle memory, but 3500 reps to reverse muscle memory already created.
2. Foster Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset in Athletes– the previous point leads right into HOW we should be coaching the athletes and what our focus should be on (if we know what it shouldn’t be on). Validating athletes for their work ethic leads to them being proud of themselves regardless of outcome. In the summer this might be if they hit their stunt, and during the season it might be whether or not they win a competition. If we validate only when the athletes accomplish a skill or do something well, they attach our love and acceptance to how talented of an athlete they are (fixed mindset). Fixed mindset athletes shut down when under-performing and are often uncoachable. In a team sport, this is detrimental, especially in the phase of the season that requires failure in order to grow. If athletes see failure as a sign that they are inherently bad at cheerleading, instead of seeing it as a necessary step toward growth, there will be resistance throughout the season.
3. Work Motion to Motion, Sequence to Sequence, Section to Section, All the way to a full routine. We want to master the present moment of where the athlete is at. This means, for example, that they may not be hitting their full elite stunt, but the drill for a certain element is creating muscle memory and confidence to eventually be able to execute all  of the elements in one sequence. To quote a friend and industry professional, Lee Grobstein, “The season is a marathon, not a sprint.” The most important job a coach has during this part of the season is to put the athletes in a position to succeed and to make good calls on what the athletes are capable of at that present time, remembering that this could be different for each unique athlete and stunt group.
4. Create Benchmarks- Write a plan of goals you have for your team and when you’d like to see those accomplished by. Communicate the plan with the athletes and create incentives if they hit such benchmarks. Feel free to utilize games, charts, posters, themed practices, etc to accomplish the benchmarks. If the athletes have worked their hardest and NOT achieved the benchmark, take responsibility for setting the benchmark incorrectly as a coach and re-route. If work ethic was the cause of the athletes not hitting the benchmark, allow them to accept responsibility.
5. Training during this part of the season should be higher intensity than a full out. High rep counts of successful skills and drills create mastery and confidence within each section. An example of this is an idea we learned from Jason and Ashley Larkins of American Cheer called “Ladder Training.” Stand at the side of the floor and the athletes start at the furthest line from you. Break a skill set down to the most fundamental building block. Add each puzzle piece per line once the previous is mastered, until the athletes are all the way down the floor. You can go back if the skill/stunt needs to be broken up more than 8 ways! Get as detailed as you would like! Maybe it’s a different stunt element on each line. Or maybe it’s 4 different drills for one element. Reps should be quick and efficient. Athletes are building stamina as much as they are building muscle memory and confidence. 

    Online Training Resources

    If you're looking for a more ongoing training resource for your gym, the industry also has some incredible virtual subscriptions! A few of our favorites include:

    Forte Spirit Solutions - Choose from continuous learning with Skills School for $99/month for your entire staff, or from any of our a la carte options! These range from level 1/2 stunt and tumble to basket tosses, and much more!

    The Cat Healy Method - The Cat Haley Method was produced in spring of 2022. After a successful year in 2020 through virtual training reaching athletes from 48 states and 7 countries, they needed a new way to feed the industry the best information through our systematic training. The Cat Haley Method is meant for the most devoted athletes in our sport who are eager to put in work outside of the gym. Our methods are research-based, meaning every step has a science-backed reason to help ensure quick progress and less injury. No matter your age or level, everyone can progress

    Cheer Conditioning Academy - Membership is open to everyone: whether you are a cheerleader, a coach, parent, looking for a fun workout or if you want learn the basics of cheerleading. We have video, image and article content for all ages, levels and backgrounds. 

    Cheer Coaching Academy - Helping coaches create a safe and positive environment for their athletes on and off the mat with online courses that are 100% online. Use code MAX15 for 15% off as well.

    The best way to help the industry grow is to have an understanding of where we are, and where we’re going. Please complete the form below to give us insight into your upcoming season and help us track future changes and growth. Please complete a quick survey about your tryouts and plans for next season. We would love to continue to celebrate and help grow with you!

    Summer Conference Wrap Up

    We had a great summer with a variety of coaches conferences and opportunities across the country. We wanted to wrap up some key takeaways from a few of them!

    CDIP – The Cheer and Dance Industry Professionals (CDIP) conference was hosted last month in Irving, TX. Program owners, coaches, and junior coaches gathered to learn and educate skills and progressions from some of the industry’s best. This conference goes over the upcoming season, scoresheets, and all levels. The CDIP held their annual elections, choosing Ryan Batchelor as the Chairperson and Christina Schuster as the Vice Chairperson. Be on the lookout for some exciting changes coming soon!

    Varsity University – Varsity University All Star Cheer Conference was hosted last month in New Orleans, Louisiana at the Jung Hotel and Residencies. Hundreds of coaches from all over the country converged on The Big Easy for a fun and learning-filled weekend. VU gives coaches and gym owners the opportunity to collaborate with industry leaders and outside professionals to grow their businesses and promote the all star community. Classes and keynotes were offered covering everything from business-building topics to hands-on skills training, plus several sessions dedicated to education on the United Scoring System that many event producers across the industry utilize. A major takeaway from this summer’s VU was the importance of good sportsmanship. Varsity All Star’s commUNITY campaign aims at spreading positivity and encouraging everyone in All Star to build a better community through unity.

    WASF – The World Allstar Federation held their annual conference at the beginning of August in Hollywood, FL. Coaches, Gym Owner, and Industry professionals joined together to discuss the inaugural season of the WASF, and where the organization is heading as we enter into the 2023-2024 season. Their key focuses were on Athlete Protection, Scoring, and Marketing.

    USASF – The USASF held its annual meeting in Nashville this July. Attendees ranged from athletes, coaches, and owners set to learn from some of the best in our industry. Athletes could follow the cheer masters clinic or dance masters clinic. Coaches had a chance to submerge themselves in STUNT on the first day of the conference to learn all aspects of the emerging sport and how to build a team in your area. Coaches had a masters day as well, filled with leadership, athlete development, and the growth of the industry. Attendees heard from Aly Raisman, U.S. Olympic gymnast on Positive Body Image and Athlete Self Care. Breakout sessions continued throughout the weekend for both junior coaches/athletes, as well as professionals and coaches.

    G&S Academy – G&S Academy is a unique training and educational experience in which every person is immersed in a positive and holistic training academy. Throughout the entirety of camp athletes, coaches and parents are given the opportunity to receive skill specific, psychological, strength, flexibility, and nutritional education to help elevate every component of their training. It is a weekend in which we strive for every life to be impacted with lifelong memories and education they can take back to their gyms’! In our first year we had over 20 different programs represented by attendees and over 150 years of coaching/ training experience between our educators. We want to continue building a positive, educational, and fun opportunity for the cheerleading industry to stay on the cutting edge of preparing their minds and bodies for optimal performance for years to come!

    Next Gen Conference – Next Generation Gym Owners hosted its biggest conference yet. The event hosted more than 450 participants who attended to focus on business, leadership and management and skills training with some of the best professionals in the industry. While skills classes were a highlight for many attendees, the business classes also boasted large groups and eager owners looking to grow and diversify their gyms. Skills classes were taught by Adam Forte, Forte Spirit Solutions and Rommel Osuna, Top Gun Arizona. More than a hundred people filled the room for the most popular skills
    sessions, to include: Tumbling levels 4-6 with Rommel Osuna and Jumps Training with Adam Forte. Business and leadership classes also boasted large crowds of attendees at classes such as Daytime Programming with Kellie Buchanan, Next Gen Consultant, and Going Against the Industry Standard with Danielle Johnston, Next Gen Owner.
    “Owners and coaches are revived and excited about the state of the industry and the potential for growth moving forward. I’ve never seen so many people eager to learn business principles and improve the skills and technique in their gym. Owners are focused on keeping kids safe and providing an affordable service to their gym families while still profiting and taking care of staff. It’s refreshing to see this excitement in the industry again,” Johnston said.


    Check out some upcoming Next Gen Conferences:
    ● One-Day Business Builder: This great event will be hosted in Baltimore, MD on Sept. 9, 2023. This is a business-focused single-track event for just 40 gym owners. Topics include Private Lessons, Birthday Parties, Boys Programming and Growing Your All Star Program.
    ● Two-Day Skills & Business Conference: The second-biggest NG event of the year, this event will be Jan. 5-7 in San Diego, CA. Confirmed speakers include the staff at Next Gen as well as Kali Seizer and Sean Guzman from Top Gun, and Jeff Benson, author of “Unblocked: The Walls Come Tumbling Down”.
    Both events are now open for registration at ngconferences.com.

    EP Tip –

    Take this time between choreography and competition to get your teams registered! All EPs benefit from knowing an estimate of attendance numbers early in the season, which helps you by having a more consistent and complete schedule as well as a significantly less chance for an event to be canceled mid-season. EPs hate having to cancel any event, but when you give your registration early they can work to assure the event happens well! Whether you’re following USASF, WASF, a combination or unaffiliated – start the registration process today with your EPs!

    TCLM Acquires M Events – 

    On June 15th, 2023, TCLM acquired the three competitive cheerleading brands under M Events; Cheer Derby, Greater Midwest Cheer Expo, and Spirit Solutions. With over 20 years of competitive cheer training and experience, the acquisition will introduce TCLM Events. They are gearing up to bring exciting improvements this upcoming season and expanding the company’s industry footprint. While ownership has changed, M Events staff will remain committed to providing the best experience for their customers. 

    The Biggest Cheer Weekend in Dallas 

    This season, March 1-3rd, 2024 in the greater Dallas area, two of the largest competitions will take place. NCA Nationals will take place at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas. This Varsity Brand event will host paid and at large bids to The Cheerleading Worlds, The Summit, The D2 Summit, The Youth Summit, and The Regional Summit.
    Another option has emerged powered by a combination of a few event producers, Gold Rush Super Nationals. This will take place at the Star, home of the Dallas Cowboys Star field. They will provide paid and at large bids to the Allstar World Championship and the World Allstar Federation Championship.
    With two huge events happening in the same time, which event are you excited to support?

    Pricing within the industry 

    Earlier this month, a discussion about pricing within the industry caught fire. The two largest non-end-of-season events from Varsity Brands released their rates between $199-$221 per athlete per performance (no crossover discounts). Between the ever increasing competition fees, ongoing staff training and equipment pricing within gyms, and additional travel costs, people want to know how the industry can survive in the long run without pricing out the majority of our customers.