Tell us a little bit about yourself :)
I am a 25 year old, cheer enthusiast, who is still hitting the competition mat to this day! I currently live in Madison Wisconsin, but am originally from Fort Lewis, Washington. My parents were in the military when I was a kid, so I got to travel a bit.
My love for cheerleading didn't start until I was a freshman in high school; I actually grew up doing gymnastics for 9 years! I have that to thank for my athletic background though. I was a cheerleader all 4 years in high school, I coached college UCA camps for a summer after high school, and then I actually went on right to the NBA and became a professional cheerleader with the Milwaukee Bucks, and just recently the Chicago Bulls.
I have a double major from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Microbiology and Molecular Biology, and I am currently working as a Laboratory Technologist in Madison! I am secretly a nerd at heart.
How did you get introduced to cheerleading?
I got introduced to cheerleading the summer before my freshman year of high school. A few of my good friends were on a local all-star team and were talking about cheerleading tryouts for high school. Naturally, I wanted to be cool like my friends so I decided to give up gymnastics and go out for cheerleading. Tryouts were a little nerve wracking for me, because growing up I always hated disappointment, and I didn't want to disappoint myself by not making the team, or my parents for quitting gymnastics. I fortunately made the JV team my first year, but got bumped up to varsity later that year. The rest is history! Since that day, I have never given it up.
When did cheerleading get “serious” ?
Cheerleading got serious for me during my senior year of high school. All of my friends were talking about going off to college to be on their cheer teams and moving on with their careers. I loved cheerleading, the stunting, the tumbling and the competition and performances that came along with it. That summer was our final cheerleading summer camp where I had decided that I wanted to be a camp coach/counselor for UCA and show kids how fun cheerleading really can be, just like I was shown the past 3 years.
I went out, auditioned and made the coaching staff that summer and enjoyed every moment of it. I wasn't able to continue to do that because my college school schedule was to hectic, so I had to give it up.
Heartbroken, I thought that I was done, I didn't want to join my college cheer team just because it wasn't competitive enough for me, and it didn't offer what I was looking for in cheerleading.
I got a Facebook invite one day from an old friend about a professional cheer and stunt team for the Milwaukee bucks and their tryout information. I decided to go out and give it a shot and see what it was all about. Much to my surprise, I made the team, and was once again able to perform and show everyone what I worked so hard my whole life for!
Biggest challenges :
The biggest challenge that came along with cheerleading for me was time management. Being in high school and trying to juggle school work, practice time, and competition time was a bit of a struggle at times. We would practice every night after school!
The same thing applied as well in college. I was trying to juggle my college classes, exams, projects, and grades, while cheering for the Milwaukee Bucks and being available and ready for every practice and every home game! That was a challenge for me, but I wouldn't have changed any of it!
How do you handle pressure ?
Being in cheerleading, especially being in the position of a flyer, there is a lot of pressure that comes along with it. Pressure to hit your stunts, pressure to look good in the air, and pressure to keep yourself in shape.
Everyone is watching you when you are in the air, and that alone can sometimes be an overwhelming thought. I personally LIVE for the pressure, it is what motivates me , and what keeps me coming back for more. I love the feeling of nerves right before you go out onto the floor to perform, I love the rush of energy you get when you hit your first stunt and the crowd goes wild cheering!
The pressure of staying in shape and being healthy is a little bit more difficult for me to handle, as I have an incredible love for pizza and ranch. I usually try and only treat myself once a week to this, because I know that giving it up for good just isn't an option for me! It is all about compromise :)
Can you share your thoughts on self consciousness ?
When I was younger, I was always very self conscious about myself, and the way I looked, the way I dressed, and if others would like me or not.
As I grew older and started to listen to my mom a little more (lol), I outgrew this pretty quickly, because I came to the realization that this is who I am. I am the best, and only version of myself out there, and no one else could ever be like me; and what isn't to love about that? I worked so very hard to accomplish the things I have today in cheerleading, and along the way I have gained many admirers, and fans whom look up to me.
As far as still being nervous to perform, I absolutely am always nervous to perform! I personally think that this is a good thing though because it shows how much one cares about their performance, about the sport and how bad that they want it to be perfect!
What was your most embarrassing moment (in regards to cheerleading of course ;)
My most embarrassing moment in cheerleading would have to be while performing on the floor of the Bradley Center for the Milwaukee Bucks, I was coming down from a stunt, and my stunting partner had caught me at just the right angle to where his hand caught the edge of my skirt and my spankies, and lifted them completely up to my chest, giving me probably the worst wedgie in the entire world in front of 20,000 people. Of course I had to fix it mid performance, which was also quite embarrassing! The funniest thing is, is that he had NO idea that he had done that. Thanks Bill :)
How did cheerleading influence your life in other ways ?
Cheerleading has influenced my life in so many ways, it is almost to many to count. I have gained countless friendships throughout the years, I have gained an indescribable amount of self confidence and self worth from this sport, It has kept me busy and wanting more each and every day.
I have gained an appreciation for the coaching side of the sport lately, and it has allowed me to appreciate my coaches through the years and what they have truly taught me about the sport.
Cheerleading has taught me humility, patience, and that it is okay to lose. You cant win everything, which just makes you work that much harder !
What does your daily routine look like ?
I work a full time job as a Laboratory technologist at a Hospital Clinic here in Madison. I work a normal 8:30-5:00 day Monday through Friday. I coach a level 1 and level 2 team on Mondays and Thursdays from 5:30-8:00, and on Wednesdays I have my own team practice that I cheer on from 7:00-9:00!
I keep quite the busy schedule! When I have my off days on Tuesdays and sometimes Fridays I enjoy spending the evenings with my wonderful husband and our two dogs.
On the weekends when I am not a cheerleading competition, I enjoy visiting my family who live a few hours away from me, and relaxing from the long crazy week!
And what about your flexibility training ? Where does that fit in ?
I train my flexibility almost every single day I am at the cheerleading gym. The stretching band from everstretch quickly became my favorite go to for flexibility training. I found that even a week of not stretching or working on your flexibility can have some serious negative set backs, especially at my age !!
I will also just randomly pull a heel stretch or a scale in public places and take a picture, because, well, why not !? :)
What keep you motivated?
I stay motivated by following a ton of the top cheerleading team instagrams and I watch their stunt and tumbling videos. I always set goals for myself, and strive to work towards getting those skills that I want.
Cheerleading is a very tough sport, and it is very easy to become discouraged if you aren't hitting a tumbling pass, a stunt, or a new skill.Knowing that, I always have to remind my self, and the girls I coach that we have to set small, realistic expectations first, in order to achieve the bigger ones!
My main motivation comes from the cheer moms, and the little girls that cheer on teams below me, who tell me that their daughter looks up to me and wants to be like me someday. That in itself, is reason enough for me to keep going.
What are your future plans/goals/dreams?
My future plans are to continue my love of cheerleading and competing as long as my body will allow me too. When that day comes, I want to continue to coach all star teams, and hopefully coach a team to worlds one day!
Any tips for passionate cheerleader starting out ?
Have patience! The skills that cheerleading require do not happen overnight. It takes weeks, months and even years to gain the strength and skills you will need. Get rid of a negative mindset. If you have a negative mindset, and use the words "I cant", you will get yourself no where.
Be positive. Be optimistic, and goal oriented, because when you really want something, "you can." Most importantly, have fun. Go out there, show people what you can do, what you have worked on for so long and be proud of your accomplishments; big or small.
Anything you’d like to promote?
follow me on instagram : @amandaleeann09.