It’s the week before christmas when I make my second visit to Airborn Academy to see what goes on at a cheer class and while most people are on the wind down the airborn academy are flipping out (literally!) From my precarious position between the sprung floor and the tumble track I feel every bounce and every landing. Arms and legs skim past my head as Jess Way, a member of Airborn 5, tells me about the teams, coaches and the necessary commitment to make it all work.
The cheer teams recruit all year round and are constantly working towards the next competition. The sessions are structured to practice tumbling, which are the tricks and moves that take place on the floor and stunts, which involve throwing each other up in the air. As with the other classes I have seen at Airborn the motivation of the young people shines through. Jess tells me she has come in early to watch the session before hers as she has had a bad day and knows she’ll be cheered up (no pun intended) by being here. There are 11 different cheer classes on the timetable each differing in level and age category and as with other activities we have visited there is a chance for the parents to be involved too! If you don’t want to sit and watch from the sidelines then there is also a chance to join the ‘Ald Birds’ who train at 7.30pm on a Wednesday and are an 18+ team made up mostly of mums.
As a sport cheerleading requires confidence, focus, discipline, good team skills and of course a little bit of sass! But no-one at Airborn expects you to walk in with the full package ready to go. The level of expertise throughout the staff team allows for your current skill set to be built upon until you are competition ready. Alongside the scheduled classes the coaches also lead one to one sessions for young people looking to develop certain areas of their performance further.
I would highly recommend these sessions for boys or girls who are looking for a sport which will challenge them, develop fitness, flexibility and control. Young people may come from a dance background and apply that experience to this new environment or may be starting from scratch.