# Cheerleader’s are Dumb – Aren’t They??

Cheerleading is a sport which was a big part of my life for many years – from seven years old until I was seventeen years old. So, of course the title of this blog is written light-heartedly and with complete sarcasm, as this can be a common misconception. However, although it may not be obvious to the outsider, mathematics is a big part of cheerleading, and covers many of the basic principles of mathematics; such as counting, shape, angles, measurement.

Counting

Basic knowledge of counting is used in cheerleading of counting up to eight, which must be kept at a steady pace, and in time with music. To confuse things, as you progress into higher levels of cheerleading, the music and pace of routines becomes faster and eight-counts must be counted only using the odd numbers off the number sequence. For example, 1, 3, 5, 7…….1, 3, 5, 7, in comparison to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Therefore, there must be a knowledge of odd numbers, or counting in two’s. An example of the basic cheer count is demonstrated by the video below (the first 8 seconds of the video should give you the right idea). Another important point of counting in cheerleading is to ensure stunt groups are in groups of five or four. There must be basic knowledge of division, knowing how to divide your team up to create an equal amount of stunt groups.

Shape and angles

Shape and angles are an important aspect of cheerleading, as all the motions used have to be tight, precise and in the correct position. By cheer motions I am referring to the various positions your arms and legs are held to create a shape. Below is an example of some of the motions used in cheerleading, to aid me in my explanations.

As you can see shape and angles play a big part in all of these. For example the motion ‘T’, you have to ensure that both of your arms are at a right angles, and your legs are tight toghether to create the perfect ‘T’ shape. However motions are not the only time that shape and angles come into cheerleading. During stunting, the way the base (person on the bottom of the pyramid) holds their posture, arms and legs is also extremely important. The base’s legs must be shoulder width apart (measurement) and the bases arms must be be held tight in towards their chest and their hands held at a right angle, in order to hold the flyers (person on top of the pyramid) foot. Again below is an example of how bases and flyers must stand and hold their posture whilst stunting – drawing in key aspects of shape also with the flyer holding her hands in position known as ‘High V’.

Moreover on shape and angles, bases must ensure they are standing creating a box shape with their feet, and their feet are facing directly towards one nother – knows as toe-to-toe. Therefore, creating more right angles.

Measurement

Back to the idea of positioning in stunt groups – stunt groups must ensure they are the correct distance appart so as not to bang in to one another. This is usuually measured by around and arms length or markings are shown on the mats of where to stand. This rule is also important during floor work, cheerleaders must enure they are at least an arms length apart from one another, so as not to collide whilst dancing and cheering. Lastly, during floorwork, position is important to as to create shape. For example, cheerleaders standing around the mat in a square or circle before a tumbling sequence.

So, there you have your answer, cheerleading is not as easy as people may think and cheerleaders need to have a good concept of mathematical principles in order to carry out their routines, stunting and floor work. Therefore, no, cheerleaders are not dumb, they could in fact be budding mathematicians.

How has the ‘Discovering Mathematics’ module helped?

Through engagement with the ‘Discovering Mathematics’ module I would not have taken the time to reflect on my experiences as a cheerleader, and I may never have known how relateable it is to maths. To further my development in the future, I intend to be more aware of links where mathematics is present in daily life and routines that I may have turned a blind eye to previously.

Here’s a video of a the world champions in cheerleading below – Top Gun.

# Maths + Supply Chain + Logisitcs

During one of our Discovering Mathematics lectures we disccused the idea of mathematics being present in the food industry. Through supply chain and logisitics, we discovered that the food we eat everyday has had a considerable amount of mathematical thought put into it before it reaches our fridge. Everything that you touch and use has come from a supply chain, and you are therefore guaranteed to come accross it in a job role in the future. However this particular discussion was on the supply chain regarding food.

Firstly, we discussed food miles. Food miles relates to the comparison of energy and CO2 emissions used for our food to be transported from different countries within the world. We were given a comparison of Lamb, and whether it would be more cost effective to purchase it from New Zealand or the United Kingdom. This is an important factor that shop owners must be able to work out in order to get the best deal. In the end New Zealand used lower energy and lower emissions in the transportation of lamb, than the United Kingdom. Therefore it would be be an increased benefit to purchase lamb from New Zealand – and this was all worked out through the knowledge of basic maths.

However this is not all that should be considered when transporting food. Factors and fundamental principles of mathematics mentioned in the lecutre, included;

• mass (weight)
• size (bluk,length, height, depth)
• strength
• temperature requirements
• distance travelled/time taken (shelf life)

Secondly, we took part in a business simulation, where we became demand planners. It was our job to pick which items to stock in a shop based on the time of year and how successful we thought the sales of the products would be. We were given a list of products and a budget, we were to pick five products which we believed would sell well at the particular time of year. For example, during the Christmas period my team chose to spend a large percentage of our budget on selection boxes. During this period we sold 100% of the selection boxes, therefore we made a successful profit and reduced wastage.  We had to take into account wether food was perishable, how long it would stay in date and popularity. Again, this all linked in with the fundamental principles of mathematics as we were using our knowledge of quantity and addition and subtraction.

This is, therefore, a prime example of the fundamental principles relating to every day life, without us even realising.