Youth cheerleaders given chance to participate in competition

Coach Brittney Parrott incorporates competitive cheer to youth league

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An exciting new development for Bayport-Blue Point Youth Cheerleading is underway from coach Brittney Parrott.

This will be the first year that youth cheerleaders will be able to participate in competitive cheerleading, a step in the sport that will allow for more advanced routines and stunts.

Parrott took over just before the pandemic hit. Until now, BBPYC has done what is known as sideline cheer for the Bayport-Blue Point PAL football league. “Cheering for the football players on the sidelines to encourage the team to do their best and encouraging crowd involvement are the main tenets of this type of cheerleading,” said Parrott.

A USA cheer-certified youth coach who is current with risk management certification, Parrott coaches the 10- and 11-year-old squad, but also oversees the program which includes kindergarten through sixth-grade batches.

“Coaching youth is truly a pleasure to all of our volunteer coaches. The kids are vibrant and excited and full of energy,” said Parrott.

The main difference in coaching beginner or youth level is instilling the basics at a young age, versus building on skill levels as they progress in the sport and mature as athletes.

Typically, this involves teaching chants, intro to tumbling, intro to stunting, teamwork, and good sportsmanship. 

Competition cheer exists at all ages. Bayport-Blue Point has not previously participated in the competition aspect, and Parrott wanted to bring that option to the incredible athletes that are “passionate about cheerleading. A lot of star athletes come from this district in all other sports; they all start developing a passion for those sports at the youth level where they play the sport and are doing it in a competitive way. I thought it was time to allow the cheer athletes the same option to compete in a sport they love! I believe they are ready for this option because we have been working with these athletes in a myriad of new ways; one of the most important was the stunt and tumble clinics offered to all ages outside of the regular season,” said Parrott.

The youth program introduced the athletes to sideline cheer that mimics the way a competition is held, with each youth team performing a routine that they had developed throughout the season with an audience of family and friends. 

Competitive cheerleading involves a 2-minute-and-30-second routine that is judged and scored by a panel of professional judges.

Of that 2 minutes and 30 seconds, one minute and 30 seconds is performed to music.

The routine will include tumbling, stunting, crowd leading, formations, jumps, and pyramid skills.

The skills are part of the summer training and built upon during the season at twice-a-week practices, cheering at football games, participating in the homecoming parade, and the months following the end of football season. 

Unlike other competition sports, the travel itinerary for competition cheer is not as far reaching, as the The Suffolk County Youth Cheer Association holds all competitions within Suffolk County.

“The greatest strength a squad can have is feeling like a team. The squad you are placed on becomes your family on and off the mat. When someone is feeling down or someone is sick, it’s the team’s job to lift that person up and really rely on one another’s support, even at the youth level,” said Parrott, adding, “having a positive attitude makes everyone perform better. As long as the team, coaches and the parents are all supporting of one another, the competitions will reflect that.”

Parents, family, and community can show support to the BBPYC by attending the games and competitions and cheering with the squad when they try to engage crowd involvement (especially since crowd involvement is one of the scored aspects at competition).

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