Bettendorf High School cheerleading will be hosting the Little Dogs Cheer Clinic on Friday, Sept. 15, for young kids who want to try cheerleading.
At football games, basketball games, and wrestling tournaments the cheerleaders help pump up the athletes and fans. The team performs stunts to try to impress the fans watching.
The Little Dogs Cheer Clinic gives girls and boys in kindergarten through fifth grade a chance to do the same.
At the Little Dogs Cheer Clinic kids travel to the high school for an hour and hang out with cheerleaders and learn cheers. Once they are finished learning the cheers, they perform them at halftime of the junior varsity football game in front of a crowd.
“I think it gives them a lot of confidence to be able to go on the field and perform in front of people. And it is fun to hang out with people your age to get to hang out with older kids,” Shannon Evans said.
Before the kids get to perform what they learned, they get t-shirts to wear during their routine.
Some of the cheers that the children get to learn include “Fire Up” and “We Want.”
Not only do the kids get to learn cheers, they learn how to work together.
“They get to learn teamwork. With stunting it is a lot of communication, and they use social skills because they have to ask questions. They also get to meet new people,” Natalie Zanella said.
The Little Dogs Cheer Clinic is meant to help give children a taste of cheer and to encourage them to do cheer when they get older.
Similar to cheer, children can perform stunts with the supervision of high school cheerleaders and coaches.
“They do thigh stands and shoulder sits. They have lot of spotters to make sure no one falls and gets hurt,” Zanella said.
On Mondays for two hours after school, the cheerleaders practice to make sure that their stunts are perfect for when it is time for them to perform at games.
The team practices their stunts on mats with spotters to make sure their flyers do not fall and get injured.
“Definitely the stunts (are the hardest part of cheer) because you are holding a person up and you only have two other people to help you,” Erica Johnson said.
Although the cheerleaders do practice, mistakes still happen.
“You don't make a face (when you mess up) and keep going because if you stop it is very obvious you messed up,” Evans said.