All-Star Special Needs Judging

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May 23, 2011
Now I'm sure at the major Nationals where they are actually being ranked the Special Needs teams will receive feed back on their score sheets on what they need to improve and things they should fix. However at most competitions they are more of exhibitions teams. What do you feel is appropriate for the judges to do on the score sheets and what competition companies have you found really highlight these amazing athletes? This past year was our first season having a SN's team and it was such a difference between companies on how they handled the team.
I am a coach of a special needs team, and as much as I want them to be judged, I'm struggling to find a system that would work. Living in Idaho, we are the only special needs team at most of our competitions until we hit nationals. I would love to see them judged, but I think it should be based off what the kids can do by themselves. This is our 5th season with a SN team, and in the past we have seen teams with two helpers (athletes from other teams in the gym) to every one athlete on the team. These "helpers" are doing everything for the kids. Don't get me wrong, it is amazing to watch SN teams perform every time, but I know there's so much those kids can do on their own and they're not being taught or allowed to do so.

My biggest thing lately is if we aren't going to be judged, at least give us some good feedback. Most judges are like "yay, good job! you rocked it!" and I'm tired of that. If you want to see them pointing their toes more, tell us. If you want to see a cradle instead of a bump down, tell us. (obviously judges want to see the hardest things they can do, i know). The kids are on these teams because they want to be like regular cheerleaders...I'm ready for people to start treating them that way.
Ya I see what you are saying with trying to get them to be treated as all of the other cheerleaders on the stage. I guess I was just suprised this year with the huge differences between those that say nothing (the Yay, good jobs etc) and those that actually were telling them to work motions/jump technique etc. The helpers is a whole additional conversation. It really bothers me when you see these "helpers" take the floor and do the tumbling passes or are put in the front with solos and what not. I don't feel that during these routines it's their time to shine, let them do that on their own cheer teams. Thanks for your feedback on this. It being so new to us I guess I'm still trying to figure certain things out.