the contest or contests have been selected for your team, here are some
steps to take during the season that will take you toward the best
Choose your contest(s). If
you are new to contests, choose one that is possibly in late February or
early March to give you and your officers a chance to go to several
contests to observe. Choose a
contest for your team that will give them a chance to see other
outstanding teams yet not so large to overwhelm them for their first
experience. If your team is
seasoned, you will probably choose two to three contests. The first one should be in February and will be considered
the “ice-breaker” to test your routines for effectiveness.
The second will be to measure the improvement from the first.
The third will be to vault your team’s confidence to its highest
level. Ideally, give your
team at least two weeks between each contest to polish and correct any
errors from the previous event. If
you will be traveling out of town to contest, your parents club should be
consulted to assist in fund-raising efforts to offset expenses, as well as
submitting to various travel agencies for travel bids.
Beware of always choosing the lowest bid.
There may be hidden expenses that may come up after your arrival.
Select your music, props, costumes as well as set up any outside
choreographers. This is a
most critical point in that these decisions will set the whole tone for
your team’s experience at contest.
In selecting the music or theme, it is critical not to choose a
tune that may be outdated or redundant by the time it is performed.
If it is over used at a contest, it may draw a negative response
from the crowd. If you are
using an outside choreographer, allow him/her to be consulted in order
that they may have valuable input. Make
sure to take the time and effort to have your music professionally
recorded. Too often teams
spend thousands of dollars on costumes and pennies on poor quality tapes.
A good tape professionally recorded with edits will cost between
$20 to $50. If your parents
are making the costumes or if you are having them professionally made,
have them draw or make up several designs.
It can also be helpful to have one of your team members “test”
a prototype for its performability. Sometimes the greatest costume ideas have fallen apart on the
floor during the performance or at the dress rehearsal when it is too
late. Choose costume designs
that are simple and effective. Remember
that they will have to be transported easily as well as changed in an out
several times during the course of a day.
Some teams will use a basic colorful unitard and accessorize with
different overlays that completely change the look for each routine but
make changes quick and efficient. An
easy costume change can lower your team’s stress level at contest.
Depending on the length of your football season.
It is best to start teaching the contest routines early.
Remember that your team will have three to four to learn and
perfect and your officers may have double that many (including solos,
officers, ensembles). You and your officers will certainly want to choreograph some
of your contest numbers and the team may want to choose a favorite
instructor from camp to do one or two routines.
This will give your routine presentation a variety.
Make sure to begin with the most challenging routine as it will
require the most memory time and polishing.
Allow time for learning and basic polishing before you go on to the
next routine. It is
advisable to encourage your officers to schedule their own rehearsal time
for their routines separate from the team’s practice time and that the
team events are the first priority. This
would be a good time to reserve your school buses and give exact times a
week prior to the contest.
After all routines are taught, it is time to polish in small groups to
“fine tune” the routines. You
should hold auditions for each routines to select the best performers in
each. Make sure that each
team member is included in at least one routines provided she is eligible
(grades, weight). Make sure
to have alternates for each routine that know the routine well enough to
step into any slot that might be vacated due to illness or ineligibility.
Once the selections are made, it is time to block the routine into
its exact formations and patterns. Teach
the girls to utilize only the basketball lines on the court as other lines
may not be on the performance floor on contest day.
Also make sure to rotate your alternates into various positions
during rehearsal so they will be ready if needed.
Prior to the first contest, hold a special “show off” for
parents and friends that will be your dress rehearsal.
This will give the team an audience as well as an opportunity to
perform in costume and preview any technical problems in advance.
This would also be a good opportunity to have one or two critique
judges come to give them scores and comments on their routines. Have any solos, officers or ensembles perform also.
Make sure to time each routine to make sure that they fall into the
time limit and insure that the tempo is correct.
This “show off” should take place at least two weeks prior to
the first contest so there will be ample time to make any necessary
CONTEST DAY PREPARATION:
Just before you go to contest, make sure to let your parents as
well as team members know what you expect from them.
It is always great to have a large showing of parents at contest
and many will wear special shirts or jackets to display their support in
school colors. Type up a general guideline sheet that will tell the location
of the contest, times, any ‘house rules’ about dressing areas or food,
and special instructions from you, the director.
Make a checklist of items that your team members will need to have
with them at contest. Some
extras besides their costumes: bobby pins, hair spray safety pins, rubber
bands, water bottle, whole fruit, crackers, sleeping bag or pillow (if a
long day), zip lock bags, walkman ( to practice on own).
Encourage them to leave all valuables at home. Most contests will not offer a completely secure dressing
area. Make sure that your
team has cleaned their dressing area before departure.
If you area going out of town, be more specific with your
guidelines and have an itinerary mapped out with plenty to keep everyone
team can have a very positive
experience through competitions. There
are many contests that will provide them with a quality, positive and
rewarding experience. Make
sure that you have covered your plans well and t hat you are confident in
yourself as well as your team.