Whether you're trying out or shouting out to a crowd, a cheerleaders voice is an important part of Cheerleading. And although you might not give it a lot of thought since talking is almost second nature to us, the proper care and use of a cheerleaders voice is a must to cheer successfully. By following these tips on warming your voice up, breathing correctly and avoiding misuse/abuse of your voice, you can help keep it in top shape and ensure that it will always be there when you need it.
Warming Up - Warming Down - Cheerleaders Voice
Mark Baxter of www.voicelesson.com explains it this way, "Just as your limbs require stretching before you begin a routine, your voice needs some prep time as well. You'll get more projection power and last longer if you warm up your voice. Make simple low volume siren swoops while humming, trilling the lips (brrrrrrr), rolling the tongue (trrrrrrr), buzzing the tongue (zzzzzzz) and singing EE. The same routine is good for soothing the voice after cheering, too."
Cheerleaders Breathing Exercise - Diaphragm Breathing
You've all heard the advice "use your voice from your diaphragm". Well, this exercise will help you utilize your diaphragm in an efficient way and help to strengthen this muscle. Here's how to do it:
- Lie flat on your back and bend your knees.
- Place one hand on your abdomen and one hand on your chest.
- Now, inhale through your nose, but while doing so, move your stomach out and keep your chest still.
- As you exhale, purse your lips and make your stomach go in. Again your chest should remain still.
Do this exercise for about 5-10 minutes. When you feel like you've accomplished this correctly you can add some weight to your abdomen (like laying a phone book on it) or practice the exercise in an upright sitting position or standing.
Cheerleaders Voice Misuse and Abuse - Things to Avoid
- Never cheer when your voice is hoarse.
- Do not cheer if you have a cold, allergies or an infection and stay away from people that have them.
- Do not tighten your neck muscles when cheering.
- Avoid using a fake, tense smile while cheering.
- Never eat chocolate or drink milk before you cheer. They will coat your throat and your voice won't sound as clear.
- Try not to cough or clear your throat. Instead try swallowing or taking a drink of water.
- If you think you're losing your voice, don't whisper, just talk softly.
- Avoid using unusual pitches. Don't go too high or too low with your voice.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Avoid yelling while you're running, during strenuous activity and if you're out of breath.
What You Should Do
- Drink plenty of water.
- Wash your hands frequently to avoid germs.
- Eat properly, exercise and get plenty of rest.
- Warm up your voice and warm it down.
- Cheer while you are exhaling air and not when you're inhaling. Be sure to inhale deeply so that your lungs are filled.
- Pay attention to your voice so you can realize when you might have a problem.
Signs You Might Have a Voice Problem
- Dry scratchy voice.
- Soreness in the throat or neck.
- The feeling of a lump in your throat.
Cheering can put a lot of strain on your throat and your vocal cords, but what is a cheerleader without her voice? So, use some common sense and these preventative measures to be sure that cheerleading voice is always there whenever you open your mouth and shout it out.