Summer is the best. There’s nothing like sleeping in, a break from schoolwork, and hanging with your best friends in perfect, sunny weather. For cheerleaders, this is usually a time to catch up on fitness before, after, and during camp with your team. Even though you may be tempted to curl up with a bag of Lays potato chips on the couch and binge-watch every show on Netflix, this really isn’t the time to be lazy. Take advantage of this downtime! Become a better cheerleader! You should never put your passions on hold just because there are other things to do. You’ve got plenty of time to squeeze cheer in between your long list of fun summer to-dos. So, before you blow your whole summer, here are three goals all cheerleaders should strive for over summer break.

1. Mastering a new jump.
Without school sucking out all of your extra energy, you have plenty of pent up adrenaline to hit that jump you’ve always wanted to master! Before you begin, think about what exactly the jump entails: what are the problem areas preventing you from accomplishing it already? Is it a flexibility issue? In that case, work on stretching a little bit more and more each day in order to hit your mark in the jump. Is it fear of falling? Try to figure out what’s mentally blocking you from going full out. Is it the landing? Well, practice makes perfect, so hitting it and sticking it will come in time. Capture your initial trial and error jumps on your phone or a Go Pro to see where the problem lies, and film your progress as you go. There may be something super visible about your form that you haven’t thought of! No matter what, keep at it and you’ll eventually nail that tricky jump. Good thing you have all summer!

2. Stepping outside of your comfort zone. This may sound like an odd goal to have, but cheerleaders are known for being outgoing, ambitious, helpful, and social individuals more than any other sport. These qualities may represent standard cheer adjectives, yet they don’t come naturally to everyone! Working on being a leader is something that needs practice all on its own. Therefore, try going a bit above and beyond your normal routine this summer. Keep a ‘leadership journal’ throughout the next few months of instances that exemplified solid cheerleading adjectives, and reflect on your personal growth before school starts back up. Examples of leadership efforts could include community service, being kind to strangers, helping your parents out around the house, or organizing neighborhood initiatives. Perhaps you volunteered to be the captain of your intramural kickball team, or you started a book club with your friends–anything that you accomplish counts!

3. Map out your next season.
Just because it’s the offseason doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook for a while! You do have some time off, though, so now is the time to determine exactly what you want to accomplish throughout your next season. Do you want to do competitive cheerleading as well as be on a sideline team? Do you want to be able to level up on your all star team by next year? What about health goals, fitness goals, school goals? Don’t forget about personal and social goals, too! Try putting together an inspiration board to map out visually what you want your future successes to be. Put on there things you want to attain, and motivating phrases that can get you there. Once constructed, place your board somewhere prominently in your room, so that you can always see what your goals are.

What other goals should cheerleaders strive to achieve over summer break? What are some of your summer accomplishments? Share your story with us!