The Most Celebrated Conference of the Season… This Weekend!

The 15th NCA & NDA Coaches Conference is this weekend!

Are you attending? It’s not too late to sign up — for those of you in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex there’s even a Saturday Only Commuter option. Click here for details.

It’s going to be a great weekend of incredible speakers, informative classes, and FUN at the Westin Galleria. Yes… the conference hotel is connected the Galleria Mall in Dallas! So definitely bring some extra money for one of the best past times Dallas is known for – SHOPPING!

Click on the pic below to go to the full size version info/registration form.

Some of the biggest names in NCA & NDA are scheduled to be presenters, like:

  • Bill Patterson
  • Stan Tabor
  • Sunshine Barnett
  • OJ Williams
  • Jeff Bivins
  • Jeremiah Deleon
  • Stefanie Irick
  • Heather Jones
  • T.J. Maple
  • Shannon Judge-Summers

And here’s a link to the updated schedule of all the classes being offered:

2011 NCA / NDA Coaches Conference Schedule

If you’re not attending the conference this year, make plans for next year!

And of course if you’re not signed up for Summer Camp with NCA or NDA yet, what are you waiting for?! Remember — you can make a camp reservation with no money down to hold your spot.

Contact me, your State Director, or your Varsity Rep and we’ll be happy to help you get all set for camp. Find a camp near you here - http://tinyurl.com/ncacampsearch

- TT

Posted in All-Star Cheer, Camp, Coaches, College Cheer, Competition, Dance, School Cheer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Summer’s Coming!

And I’m back with a new post!

Sorry for the monthlong hiatus, April was a BEAST… Don’t worry, I’ll fill you in on all that happened over the next few weeks. Here’s a little teaser, Worlds = Amazing!

Hard to believe it’s already mid May. Even harder to believe that Summer Camps start in just 2 weeks! NCA Camp at Millsaps College in Mississippi starts promptly at 2pm May 26 — who’s ready for Opening Rally?!

Yes, it’s almost time for Summer Camp. Coaches are making final plans, NCA Staff is working hard to perfect this summer’s material, and our Warehouse here at the NCA office is getting ready to ship thousands of ribbons, trophies, and Spirit Sticks! This girl knows what I’m talking about…

Summer Camp in May might seem crazy to anyone in California or Pennsylvania that go to camp in mid-late August. But in Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Kansas — cheer camp in May is a long tradition.

A favorite memory from my NCA Staff days is starting every summer off at the first SMU Camp in Dallas, the last week of May.

We used to do our own little cookout at the Phi Delt frat house since we never really got a real ‘Memorial Day’ weekend. And who can forget the year we thought tornadoes were going to blow us all away.

Ahhh memories! I loved that frat house, so much I used to take stunt pictures out in front, check it out. It was like my summer home for 5 years straight!

Be sure to check out the recent post on the America Needs Cheerleaders blog by Jenni Parrish about Summer Camp Memories. Feel free to comment with your favorite memories too.

With summer coming up, I’ll be devoting a little bit of every post to Summer Camp for a while. Have something you’ve always wanted to know about NCA Camp or NCA Staff? Or maybe you want to know more about a specific NCA camp? Hit me up (FB, Twitter, email) and maybe your question will be answered in an upcoming post.

All the cool kids will be rockin’ it out at NCA Summer Camp this year! There’s still time to get registered – click here to find a camp near you.

That’s all for now… glad to be back!

- TT

Posted in Camp, School Cheer | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Which way’s the beach?!

I know those of you up in the Northeast woke up to a bad April Fool's Day joke — springtime snow. But just think…next week you'll be in sunny Daytona Beach, Florida for the NCA/NDA Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship!

If you're a college cheerleader or dancer and you're not joining us next week, you definitely have to make plans to come next year.

If you've been there, you get it. If you haven't, you need to experience it! Put it on your MUST DO list!

Last weekend I had the chance to MC the Daytona Preview hosted by my alma mater, SMU. It was great previewing the routines for some heavy hitters like Oklahoma State, SFA, Trinity Valley, and SMU. But more importantly it gave those teams a chance to perform their routines full out in front of a crowd and work out some jitters. I don't think any one team hit a perfect routine, but that's beside the point. They got the chance to have their "not so great" performance BEFORE they hit the mat in Daytona.

I know many schools already do this – some even have previews set up for later today. But if you don't have something planned, I encourage you to do so. It doesn't have to be a big production, just plan a time in the next few days and invite friends and family to come watch. College teams don't get all the chances to perform their routines full out in competition mode like all stars or even many high school teams do. So if you have a chance to perform full out in front of a crowd prior to Nationals – I say do it!

5 Days…until the largest Collegiate Cheer and Dance Championship in the world takes place. Hope you can make it!

- TT

Posted in College Cheer, Competition, Dance | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5, 6, 7, 8 and Spring!

Herkie doing a Herkie...Spring has sprung like a Herkie Jump!

And with it we’ve rolled out a new header for Behind The Megaphone. Check it out (it’s up there^).

Let me know what you think – ttorres@nationalspirit.com, @TyleratNCA on twitter, facebook.com/tylerphilliptorres, or comment here on the blog.

So many things happening in the spring, too many to mention in one post. But here are some of my FAVORITE things about spring:

NCA/NDA College Nationals - THE collegiate championship that everyone looks forward to every year!

Nothing beats cheering on the beach… check out last year’s coverage here.

And of course there’s STUNT FEST!

Worlds 2010 Opening Ceremony

ICU World Championships - The only, true World Championship in Cheerleading. Looking forward to seeing some of my favorite national teams from from last year Canada, Thailand, China, Chile, and of course TEAM USA!

But I have to admit the fans for Team Canada were probably one of the highlights for me, check them out!

WORLDS - The pinnacle of All Star Cheer and Dance! Can’t wait to see the best of the best in Orlando. All Stars exist to compete… and this is THE final competition of the season. Win and you’re an undisputed WORLD champion.

Team NCA and NDA, you should be getting your WORLDS shirts soon!

Tryouts – Yes, they’re still going on and I have 2 more to judge this week. If you missed it, check out my post about tryouts – 5 REAL Tips from a REAL Tryout Judge.

And check out the NCA Judging Form to the left, this may not be the exact scoring sheet used at your school but this will give you an idea of what a typical one looks like.

Remember: do all the normal things like SMILE, STRETCH, and BE LOUD but also keep these 5 tips in mind and they may make the difference between cheering on the sidelines in a uniform next fall or cheering from the bleachers.

 

Summer Camp planning - Coaches and teams all over the nation are making their summer camp plans now. Are you?! This summer’s camp theme is Rock ‘n’ Roll - if you haven’t received your awesome 2011 NCA double album Camp Brochure yet, hit me up and I’ll get you one. Definitely the best brochure produced in years. And it includes a pull-out poster that you need to bring to camp to get autographed!

Click here for a checklist of what to bring to camp this summer.

Again, hit me up with your thoughts on the new header and let me know if you need any other info on College Nationals, ICU World Championships, WORLDS, Tryouts, or Camp.

- TT

Posted in All-Star Cheer, Camp, Coaches, College Cheer, Competition, Dance, School Cheer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tryout Season is Here! 5 REAL Tips from a REAL Judge

White blooms signal tryout season is near!

It’s that time of year again!

I know gardening and cheerleading don’t really have anything in common, but every time I see the white blooms sprout on the Bradford Pear trees here in Texas I know tryout season is right around the corner.

And with this being my 11th year to judge cheer tryouts, I’ve come up with a few things over the years that I wish EVERY tryout candidate would’ve been told before they got in front of the judges. Of course this is Behind The Megaphone…not some generic post on a website you might find with a google search. So these aren’t the ‘Stay Positive’ or ‘Try Your Best’ kind of generic tips. These are real, honest nuggets of wisdom from the mind of an actual longtime judge (me).

For those trying out, please remember…

1) Tumblers need to cheer too!

This is NOT gymnastics, it’s cheerleading. So even if you throw an amazing tumbling pass in your entrance don’t forget to CHEER to your spot in front of the judges and keep your energy up through the entire tryout. Nothing disappoints me more than a candidate that throws a beautiful full in their entrance and then walks quietly to their spot to begin their cheer.

2) Tone of voice is VERY important

It’s not just about being loud. You can yell “go gators, take it to the top, beat those bears…” ’til you’re blue in the face. But if you sing the words or say them with a monotone voice as opposed to CHEERING with some genuine enthusiasm, don’t expect a high score on your entrance or your voice/projection. This is especially important if you don’t tumble – you can still score decently if you actually show real spirit on your run in and give me an idea of how you’d perform on game day.

3) Starting over – once is fine, twice is pushing it, three times is NOT a charm

If you mess up in the cheer, FIRST try to pick up from where you are and finish strong (the judges may not even have noticed that you messed up). But if you must start over, it’s not the end of the world (unless of course your coach has told you ahead of time starting over will not be allowed). You might not get a perfect memory score but if it helps you feel more comfortable, go for it! BUT take a second to think about the words and the motions before you start again. Starting over more than once is an invitation to begin scoring you harder as I see more and more flaws in your performance with each attempt at that double toe touch.

4) Judges watch your jumps all the way through the tryout

The jump at the end of the cheer is just as important as the 3 jumps you did before your entrance. Especially if there’s nowhere on the scoresheet to score jumps in the cheer separately. I’ve changed a jump score based on what I see in the cheer many, many times.

5) Look at the judges! Seriously…

I know making eye contact might be tough, it always threw me off when I was trying out too. But at least look in the direction of the judges – not at the floor, the ceiling, or the upper right corner of the gym (awkward). I want to at least see that you can cheer towards a crowd, after all that is kind of a big part of being a cheerleader…

Believe me, every tryout judge knows how nerve-wracking it is to try out. We’re people too and most of us have been in that same spot, trying out for a cheer team at some point in our lives. So do all the normal things like SMILE, STRETCH, and BE LOUD but also keep these 5 tips in mind – they may make the difference between cheering on the sidelines in a uniform next fall or cheering from the bleachers.

Coaches – feel free to share these tips with ALL of your tryout candidates before your tryouts. And if you need any help with your tryout, check out the NCA Tryout Packet on the web or hit me up – here on the blog, on twitter (@TyleratNCA), or via email (ttorres@nationalspirit.com).

Good luck with tryouts this year!

- TT

Posted in Coaches, School Cheer | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Sportsmanship Is An Expectation

That’s one of my all time favorite lines about sportsmanship. I’m sure it’s been around for a while but I first saw it on a USASF ad a few years ago.

When I found out Monday was National Sportsmanship Day (right around 12:04pm that afternoon), I immediately thought of the ad and wanted to share it. It took me all week to track it down but thanks to USASF board member, Karen Halterman (who never deletes anything from her computer) here it is:

USASF Sporstmanship
USASF Sportsmanship

Great message! And it’s a perfect time to keep sportsmanship top of mind since we’re right in the middle of Nationals season with NCA HS Open Nationals this weekend, NDA Nationals for school dance teams next weekend, and all the other All Star championships still going on.

Also very fitting that Monday was National Sportsmanship Day (even if I didn’t know about it at first) with all the opportunities to practice good sportsmanship. But I wondered how many out there might not have known about NSD… I know I sure didn’t. So I thought I’d use this post to encourage everyone to spread the word about good sportsmanship for the rest of the month. Don’t let it stop with just one day!

Here’s a challenge for you: commit to performing at least one act of good sportsmanship this month.

Doesn’t matter whether you get your whole team to do something or if you act alone – just get out there and spread the love! Competing this weekend? You could simply wish other teams good luck in the practice room. Still cheering at a state basketball tournament? Walk over and shake hands with the other cheerleaders before the game.

Or if you’re trying out next week you could even help someone next to you at the clinic learn the words of the tryout cheer.

And feel free to share your good deed – you can throw it down in the comments section here on BTM or post on NCA’s facebook page, NDA’s facebook page, or @NCA_NDA_Updates on twitter. All Stars you can also email your story to the USASF as well at USASFStaff@gmail.com for a chance to be their featured team!

If you’re competing with NCA this month, you could even get one of these new Sportsmanship pins for your efforts!

varsitypintrading.com

Keeping with the sportsmanship theme, here are some GREAT reads for you to check out:

Sportsmanship: Setting the Standard

I Hope You Lose – A Note by Justin Carrier

Megan from Cheer Coach and Advisor was at NCA/NDA All-Star Nationals last weekend and wrote an awesome first person account about witnessing teams and coaches ”setting the standard” in sportsmanship. And if you haven’t yet, you have to read the note on lessons taught by losing with grace by NCA All-Star VP, Justin Carrier. A definite must read!

Remember… “One man practicing sportsmanship is far better than a hundred teaching it.” – Knute Rockne

So get out there and make it happen this month! Have a happy Friday and a great weekend, until next time…

- TT

Posted in All-Star Cheer, Coaches, College Cheer, Competition, School Cheer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bring It On…Right Now!

Tens of thousands of people are living out their own personal Bring It On moments right now…

Check-in is over, paperwork is complete, the music is downloaded, and last minute practices until the wee hours.. yes, they were done. Everyone slept or at least tried to sleep. And now, it’s time to perform!

Prelims are upon us and with it all star cheerleaders and dancers are finally hitting the competition floor in Dallas, Texas. It’s true, things really are bigger in Texas. And this weekend NCA and NDA will celebrate the largest event ever produced in the company’s history since it’s founding in 1948.

This weekend it’s all about all stars. No school teams. No colleges. Just the altogether different group we’ve simply come to call, all star. Dallas is where it all started with the first All-Star Nationals…and in Dallas, all stars get only the best!

The first teams have taken the mat and scores will begin posting soon. Click here for the NCA All-Star Nationals Coverage page.

As we get started, I want to point you to a note written by Justin Carrier the Vice President of NCA All-Star and Varsity All Star. Here’s the link:

I Hope You Lose – by Justin Carrier

Don’t worry, the message is AWESOME despite the somewhat misleading title. In fact I think it speaks for the entire NCA and NDA office.

Good luck to all the teams today! I’ll try to capture some fun pics from my spot here in the arena today. Don’t forget to watch along on Varsity TV, routines will be posted online within a few hours after they finish. In the meantime here are some more set-up and check-in day shots for you.

- TT

Posted in All-Star Cheer, Competition | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

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