Frequently Asked Cheer Questions
Thank you for your interest in Avalon Wolves Pop Warner Cheer! We invite you to join our highly respected and competitive cheer program. We are very proud of our wins & strong placement at every level of competition. Here is some basic information to help get you started and will hopefully answer most of your questions about cheer. We encourage you to review other Pop Warner information as well.
Q: When does the cheer season start & end?
Our fall cheer season begins August 1st every year and can run through the 1st week of December. (NEW – Spring Cheer 2017 Jan-Aug) The cheer season is much longer than the football season due to exhibitions & competitions. While sideline cheer at games is what parents & fans see the most, a large chunk of our season is dedicated to preparing for strong performances at competitions (or exhibition for Tiny Mites/Mitey Mites). ** 2 weeks before any competition/exhibition practices are mandatory. ** Here are several important time frames that you should be aware of:
PERFORMANCE DATES – cheerleader attendance MANDATORY
All dates are subject to change – this is the most up to date info we have at this time
♦ October TBA 2017 – Showcase at Timber Creek High School
– All Avalon Wolves cheer teams.
– FREE & open to our community members.
♦ October 22, 2017 – Tiny Mite/Mitey Mite Cheer Exhibition
– All Tiny Mite/Mitey Mite exhibition teams in the Mid Florida league perform at Silver Spurs Arena
– Parking Fee & Tickets required for spectators
– Spectators are seated separately from cheerleaders
♦ October 28, 2017 – Mid FL Cheer Competition
– Select exhibition teams & ALL competition teams at Silver Spurs Arena.
– Performance by Challenger teams
– This is an ALL DAY event (eg/ 6:30 am arrival – 6:30 pm departure)
– Parking fee & Tickets required for spectators
– Spectators are seated separately from cheerleaders
♦ November TBA 2017 – Chancey Cheer Off
– Competition teams that did not qualify for Regionals
♦ Thanksgiving Weekend (Fri.-Sat-Sun) – S.E. Region Cheer Competition (a.k.a. Regionals)
– All selected Exhibition teams & all qualifying Competition teams from FL, GA, AL & MS at Silver Spurs Arena
– Each team has only one day of competition, but exact day won’t be determined until after the Mid FL Competition
– Teams WILL have mandatory practice the week of Thanksgiving. Please refrain from making out of town plans
– Parking fee & Tickets required for spectators
– Spectators are seated separately from cheerleaders
♦ 1st week of December – Dec 1-9, 2017 – National Cheer Competition @ Disney’s Wide World of Sports
– All selected exhibition teams and qualifying competition teams – 400+ teams from across the nation – including Hawaii!
– Again, each team has only one day of competition, but day is determined by level and team size.
– Competition days are during the week (school day – school will be missed) / Exhibition days are typically on the weekend
– Tickets required for spectators
– cheerleaders and spectators can sit together
** Practices become mandatory TWO WEEKS before any exhibition/competition. Our competition teams historically advance to the highest levels of competition, so please note that one of our competitions is around Thanksgiving. We will have mandatory practices the week of Thanksgiving. Please refrain from booking travel, or making out of town plans.
Please watch our website for information on how to get REGISTERED for the season.
Q: When/Where are practices? And are they mandatory?
When: You can expect 3-4 practices a week and weekly games. Practices are typically on Mon, Tues, Thurs. (5:30-7:30pm or 8pm) & Saturdays (9-11am – until games begin in mid August) on the Timber Creek H.S. campus – 1001 Avalon Park S Blvd, Orlando, FL 32828. Cheer is a team sport, and to remain a successful program it is expected that our athletes make every effort to attend all practices. Practices are a critical part of building strong routines, stunts and cheers. Your coaching staff will make you aware of any mandatory practices (eg/ all practices at cheer gyms)
Mandatory:** Practices become mandatory two weeks before any exhibition/competition. Our competition teams historically advance to the highest levels of competition, so please note that one of our competitions is around Thanksgiving. We will have mandatory practices that week. Please refrain from booking travel, or making out of town plans ** We also have practices at local cheer gyms as we get closer to competition/exhibition – all gym practices are mandatory. Failure to attend mandatory practices could cost your cheerleader her spot in the routine. Communicate all planned absences to your coaches/team mom in advance.
Where: We practice on the Timber Creek H.S. campus – 1001 Avalon Park S Blvd, Orlando, FL 32828. Most practices for competition teams are in the cafeteria, so the cheerleaders can work more difficult stunts that require padded mats. Exhibition teams mostly practice outside near the football field, or in a location on campus to be determined by your coach and cheer leadership. We also have practices at local cheer gyms as we get closer to competition/exhibition – all gym practices are mandatory.
Q: What team will my child be on? Do we need to try out or have cheer experience?
TEAMS: In the Pop Warner spirit, we want to make room for as many girls as possible. Placement on teams is governed by league age (age as of Aug 1), the grade level of the child, and available space on each team. We typically place athletes by grade level. You can most likely expect the following.
Tiny Mite – ages 6-8……….. grades 1 & 2 – Exhibition team
Mitey Mite – ages 8-10 ….. grades 3 & 4 – Exhibition team
Jr. PeeWee – ages 10-11.. grades 4* & 5 – Competition team
(*4th graders with a minimum of 2 seasons Pop Warner experience)
PeeWee – ages 11-12 …… grade 6 – Competition team
Jr. Varsity – ages 12-13 ….. grade 7- Competition team
Varsity – ages 13-14 ………. grade 8 – Competition team
Challenger – ages 5-14 ……. Special needs athletes – Exhibition team – learn more
Each team can have a maximum of 35 athletes. The final decision on placement is the discretion of the Cheer Coordinator.
Tryouts / Cheer Experience
There are no tryouts, and your child does not need to have cheer experience. However, your coaches will ask that all cheerleaders come to the first practice with a working knowledge of our cheers – links to video & words to study will be provided. We also need a full level of commitment to attending practices. Our teams are very competitive, and we need every girl in attendance to perfect our competition and exhibition routines. You can also help your cheerleader improve in the sport by taking tumbling classes, or going to open gym, at any of the local cheer gyms in Orlando. We often hold cheer clinics in the summer – watch our website or social media for details.
** Please Google: Pop Warner National Competition Videos to get an idea of what we are striving for. Don’t let it intimidate you… when we have cheerleaders committed to attending all practices, this is what’s possible! (Look for level 2 and level 3 teams)
Q: What is the difference between Exhibition and Competition?
All Tiny Mite & Mitey Mite teams in the Mid Florida League perform their routines before fellow cheerleaders & an audience of parents and family. Routines include crowd cheer, dance, stunts and tumbling. It’s a fun introduction to the cheer competition world that they will enter on Jr. PeeWee teams or higher. Teams are not scored, but are sometimes given feedback from judges. The Tiny Mite/Mitey Mite Exhibition is held in mid October and has been held at Silver Spurs Arena for the last few years.
** Our Tiny Mites & Mitey Mites have been invited several times to perform their exhibition routines at competition events – including Nationals at Disney — a real treat! **
— Spectators must buy a ticket to watch all Exhibition events —
Competition teams are scored by a panel of judges for executing stunts, motions, tumbling, crowd cheer, choreography and more. Top scoring teams then advance to the next level of competition. Similar sized teams are placed in a category based on skill level, and team level (Jr.PW – Varsity). eg/ all Jr.PW level 3, large teams will compete against each other. All PeeWee level 2, small teams will compete against each other.
♠ 0-12 cheerleaders = Small team,
♠ 13-24 cheerleaders= medium team.
♠ 25-35 cheerleaders = large teams
Skill Level is determined by several factors including the difficulty of stunts and the difficulty of tumbling skills. Coaches must declare their team’s skill level (1-4) early in the season after evaluating what cheerleaders demonstrate during the early part of the season.
Top placing teams advance to the next level of competition**
Cheer practices are MANDATORY 2 weeks before all competitions
Mid Florida Competition** −>
S.E. Region Competition** −>
Pop Warner National Competition**
Mid October −>
Thanksgiving weekend −>
1st week in December
** Special performances by our own Avalon Wolves Challenger cheer team **
–Spectators must buy a ticket to watch all competitions–
Q: Who are the coaches?
All of our coaches are VOLUNTEERS who have committed to dedicate hundreds of hours in training, practices, and cheer routine development before, during & after the cheer season.
♦ Head Coaches for all teams are voted on by the Avalon Wolves Board several months before the season starts. Coaches then select their supporting staff of assistant coaches and jr coaches to help manage the team. All adult coaches must undergo a background check, several training certifications, and in some cases CPR certification. Please contact the cheer coordinator, or the Avalon Wolves board to be considered for a head coaching position beginning in January. Please contact your head coach to be considered for a position on your team’s coaching staff
♦ Assistant Coach/Team Parent You will be required to undergo a background check & cheer coach certifications. The same amount of time commitment is expected. TEAM PARENTS are also fully certified coaches. They maintain an important dual role on the team as assistant coach AND organizer/communicator for the team. Volunteer applications available under FORMS.
♦ Jr Coaches are usually high school cheerleaders, or former Avalon Wolves cheerleaders. Teens interested in becoming a Jr. Coach should contact the Cheer Coordinator in the spring or early in summer. Jr. coaches/student demonstrators must complete a hands on coaches certification class and an online training course. These courses occur early in the summer, so the sooner you reach out the better! Jr. Coaches are expected to attend as many practices and games as possible, and all exhibitions or competitions. This is a great way to get volunteer hours and inspire young cheerleaders. **You must be in good standing academically.
FYI: Team Communications:
Our coaches & team parents maintain team specific websites which include team emails, calendars & other important information. It is important that you log in regularly and familiarize yourself with all the features and information available. Your coach/team parent will also ask you to sign up for team texting which will allow them to quickly communicate last minute changes. Please make sure that you sign up, sign in, and stay plugged in to team communications. We also encourage you to follow Avalon Wolves on social media. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Tag us @AvalonPopWarner or use #AvalonStrong
Q: How much does it cost?
REGISTRATION for the 2017 season is $250 – an exceptional value especially when you consider the length of the season, the number of competitions, and the countless hours our athletes and volunteer coaches commit to the program.
Cheer Uniform Rental – $30
Starting this 2017 season, we are adopting a uniform rental fee of $30 dollars for all cheer teams. This will help us offset the cost of maintaining, repairing and replacing our uniform inventory. The plus side is that you will no longer need to purchase a crop top for exhibition/competition – we will provide that. The $30 fee must be paid by the time of uniform fittings, usually the first two weeks of practice.
Cheer Accessories – roughly $55-$75
* Pom Poms
* Cheer shoes
* BLACK Bloomers (mandatory – must be worn under shorts at practice, and under uniform at games/performances) – buy extra to be safe
♦ An online link to order cheer accessories for the season will be shared by your coach / team parent ♦
Buy on Your Own
* White, no show socks
* black ponytail holders
* extra bloomers & practice attire
* large insulated water jug for practices/games.
Each team will also ask for a team donation to cover specific costs over the season, amount to be determined by the head coach – roughly $20 -$35 (e.g.: game day snacks, crafts & accessories for competition, end of season party). Thank you in advance for contributing towards team costs — it benefits every child on the team.
Q: What uniform items should we expect?
The uniform provided by Avalon Wolves includes a cheer top and skirt, a competition liner will also be provided – you will need to purchase BLACK bloomers & white cheer shoes required for games & exhibitions/competitions. We will hold a uniform fitting once the season starts. You must turn in a signed Cheer Uniform Agreement to receive a uniform, and pay the $30 cheer uniform rental fee. Turn in to your Coach or Team Parent. *** Uniforms must be returned at the end of season in the same condition as received.***
DO NOT alter, iron, cut out tags, put in the dryer or spill food on your uniform
DO wash uniform on gentle cycle and hang to dry
The Pride Pack typically includes an Avalon Wolves Cheer t-shirt and shorts, and sometimes a few additional items. We wear our Pride Pack for gym practices and sometimes as an alternative to our uniforms. Please help your daughter recognize it as a UNIFORM (not p.j.’s or play clothes)
Matching game day bows will be provided (may also be used for competitions). Treat hair bows as part of the uniform – not an extra hair accessory to wear to school. PLEASE keep up with your bow – The team does not have extras. There is a replacement cost if lost.
Lengthen the life of the cheer hair bow
♥ Please store your bow flat, in a cool dry place. If you are worried about dust you can store your bow in a plastic box.
♥ Do NOT stretch or pull on your hair bow. Cheer bow ponytail holders are not intended to be the main source of securing hair. To avoid breakage from over stretching, ALWAYS secure hair with a separate ponytail holder BEFORE adding your cheer bow.
♥ If you should get food or dirt on your bow you can gently clean it with a baby wipe.
Q: What is Book Check?
This is when teams checks in & each member of the team (football/cheer) is reviewed for eligibility to participate against “The Book”. The Book has all information on players: photo, proof of age, academic requirements, etc. The football players have to weigh in, cheerleaders are asked to confirm their name and date of birth. If you miss book check YOUR CHEERLEADER CAN’T PARTICIPATE!!!
Make sure your cheerleader knows her date of birth (month, day, year) and can recite it.
“Hello, my name is Mary Smith. I was born (month, day, year). Thank you”
Q: This is my first season, is there anything else I should know?
♦ All competitions/exhibitions are mandatory. Two weeks before any competition, attendance to all practices and cheer events is MANDATORY. Our competition teams historically advance to Regionals – which is the weekend after Thanksgiving. DO NOT make plans to go out of town – we will have mandatory practice the week of Thanksgiving to prepare for competition. Please put all important competition dates on your calendar (plus 2 weeks before for mandatory practice). Avalon has sent cheer teams to Nationals every year.
♦ Your child will need a large insulated water jug for all games and practices. You can find these at sporting goods stores (Dick’s, Sports Authority), big box stores (Walmart, Target), and even spotted at a pharmacy store (Walgreens) for under $10. LABEL IT!
♦ Cheerleaders need NO SHOW white socks to wear on game days and competitions
♦ ATTIRE: Appropriate practice attire is t-shirt, shorts & athletic shoes. Cheerleaders will need BLOOMERS under shorts for every practice.
Buy extra when you buy your cheer accessories, or you can find these at big box stores – they are usually called “play shorts” – look for black. Full coverage bathing suit bottoms will work too.
SHORTS & SHIRTS – should be free of any zippers, buttons, decor that can snag, or hoods. No spaghetti straps.
NO EARRINGS or jewelry of any kind (please – no piercing ears right before/during the season)
NO NAIL POLISH -nails should be kept short to protect teammates from injury during stunts
How to Label Poms: Sharpie will not hold up! If you have a label maker, you can use that to label the bar. If not, write the name on a piece of paper and tape the whole thing over with clear tape (packing tape is ideal) . Do not write directly on the bar, it will wear off (sweaty hands). Please write FULL NAME & team on the label. **TIP: use ponytail holders to secure fringe – giving you access to the bar inside the pom
♦ VOLUNTEER: All parents are expected to volunteer for game day duties. We need help at the concession stand, game day snacks, fundraising tables, and other needs. Please sign up for volunteer duty with your team parent & ask what your team needs specifically!
Q: How can I help?
Avalon Pop Warner is 100% run by volunteers, and we are always looking for good men and women to help us run this great organization. Parents are expected to volunteer for game day duties (concession stand, snacks, etc). While most coaching positions are filled well in advance of the season, we also encourage all Pop Warner families to offer their talents and resources for the benefit of the children of the league. Are you a great fundraiser? Do you know of a business that may be interested in sponsoring our league? Are you interested in coordinating our concession stand? How about helping our kids get scholarship money? Do you have resources for printing, athletic wear, concession items (beverages/food)?
Get involved – tell us how you can help and/or submit a volunteer application today! Background checks are required for all adult coaches & board members. Volunteer applications available under FORMS. Please submit volunteer forms to the Avalon Wolves Board.