Area cheer coach examines MHSAA's actions



BIG RAPIDS -- Recent action handled by the Michigan High School Athletic Association's Representative Council involved a variety of sports including competitive cheer.

The Council approved a series of Girls Competitive Cheer Committee recommendations earlier this year.

The MHSAA said high school athletes now are allowed to transition to stunts or loads from the flatback position. Also at the high school level, bases will be allowed to rotate or move while a flyer is in the inverted position (in a static inversion), and to provide for the allowance of additional flairs at the point of static inversion.

"I love any change that allows a coach to have more options for transitioning," Evart cheer coach Marty Pattee said. "I think it will add some new and creative ways for teams to go from one sequence to another, giving our spectators new and exciting things to watch. It will allow more creativity for teams and coaches.

"But teams need to be aware of their abilities, not all teams are capable of doing everything they see safely. Coaches need to continue to use good judgment when using new skills. The safety of our athlete has to be the top priority."

Also in cheer, the Council approved a Committee recommendation requiring three safety judges, instead of two. and five panel judges at MHSAA regional events.

"I think this should be done at the district level as well as the regional and state levels," Pattee said. "Teams should not find out at regionals that something is wrong with a part of their round, leaving them only four days to fix it. On the other side, judges should be informed and consistent all season long, not just at the tournament level. Coaches should also do their part by keeping informed of all changes and rules.

"I know a lot of officials and when approached with a question, they are more than happy to give a coach feedback to help them improve. Coaches need to ask questions and always be willing to learn. Afterall, we are here for our athletes so we need to be informed. More judges will give us more eyes to be sure that the rules are followed.

"But it still does not eliminate the possibility of teams getting that far without correction."

The Council also approved a Girls Competitive Cheer Committee recommendation to allow junior high/middle school teams to participate in three competitions per week (instead of two) as long as one of the three is conducted on a non-school day or a day not followed by school.

"I think this is a good idea because a lot of teams are having trouble finding meets for middle school teams," Pattee said. "I do think that every athletic director knows that middle school teams need a bit more down time in between their meets. It will allow middle school teams more flexibility for their season."

But on the other side, "younger athletes may not know how to balance their time for their school work," Pattee said. "They are also younger and may require more rest after a meet."