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A Cheerleading Coach Responds

A cheerleading
coach weighs in!

Now it'd be easy to evaluate the cheerleaders simply on their looks, but
really says little. That's like evaluating Battier's basketball skills
on his looks, it's kinda silly. So I thought I might offer a bit of a
perspective on it. since I am both a guy, a former cheerleader, and a
current cheering coach. Of course since I've been a Duke fan ever since
I can remember so I'm a bit biased, but I'll try to stay objective.

Luckily I had a chance to view the cheerleaders recently as I've been to
all of the home Duke football games. I think it's great what you guys
are doing trying to get more people there, you can't imagine the
difference it makes. Not only to the team, but to the cheerleaders.
Trust me, cheering for a dead crowd is not only no fun, it's
excruciating. Try acting like you're enjoying yourself to the wall for
2'll quickly see my point. But from what I have seen this
year the cheerleaders have done a great job. From a coaches standpoint
they certainly have talent. Duke cheerleading has never been and
probably never will be what NC State is in cheering. One big part of
that is the decision to be an all-girl squad. I know recently I've seen
a few guys every once and a while, but the difference in an all-girl
squad and a co-ed squad is very pronounced. I believe Duke is the only
all-girl squad in the conference, but I could be wrong. It limits what
you can do in terms of stunting, you're not as loud, stuff like that.

However, from what I have seen of the cheerleaders they have a
surprising amount of talent to be a relatively overlooked squad. In
terms of their motions they are fairly tight in the cheers I've seen.
They're tumbling was nice, I saw a majority of them tumbling down the
field at the last game. I saw several layouts even a full, though there
may have been more. I've never seen them stunt, I'm not sure what they
ruling on that is so I can't really talk about that. As for their
getting the crowd going, basketball and football at Duke are two totally
different things. Cheering at football to a sparse crowd (which is
improving) about a game which is not going well (but also is improving)
is extremely hard and I'm not sure too many squads could do much for the
crowd. As for basketball, it's Cameron, I don't see how they could
screw up. I haven't seen them stunt at games, or tumble, etc. But then
again I've never been lucky enough to see a Duke home basketball game
and since the girls don't get much air time on tv, that could be the

So what am I trying to say. Motions, tumbling, and stunting are to
cheering what rebounding, shooting, and passing are to basketball and
the Duke cheerleaders certainly don't deserve the "evaluation" they
recently got from based on those skills. They may know
basketball...but they should stick to evaluating the sports they know
something about...unless they are truly trying to judge a cheering squad
based on looks...which is truly sad of a "sports" page. Course that's
just my opinion I could be wrong.