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Best Cheer Facials to Thrill the Crowd

If your face during a routine reminds you of Ben Stein's dry eyes or the awkward kid with a pasted on, super fake smile in a meme, this article is for you. Seriously though, hopefully you'll find this article helpful to learn how to do facials or improve upon your current go-to looks.


First, raise your hand if your coach ever taught you the vowel method. If you're not raising your hand, have you really lived your best cheer life? Ha! All jokes of course. This training is a classic and to a certain extent, there is a place for this kind of training (or perhaps a variation.) 

Maybe it's not as stiff and artificial as journeying back to early elementary, and repeating... "A-E-I-O-U", but instead pick just one or two go-to vowel sounds and create your own fun variation. Two of my favorites are mouthing the words "hey" (long a) or "hi" (long i) with an energetic attitude.

There are a couple of reasons I believe people are starting to despise the vowel training. One is due to the fake facial approach while concentrating on saying the vowel. The second is the tendency to transition from one vowel to another too quickly. Which leads me to my next tip, timing. 


Do everyone a favor and hold each facial for a couple of counts (unless your music is slow, of course.) Please. When you transition from one facial to another too quickly, the crowd may be confused as to whether they should be enjoying themselves or calling you an ambulance.

Instead, think carefully about when in your routine certain facials will work best and hold them long enough to be appreciated. In return, you will not look like your circuit board just had a malfunction while on the mat. ;)

Be confident.

You're a cheerleader, confidence needs to be your middle name. The judges and the crowd should expect you to do well just by how you carry yourself and by the confidence you portray. If you lack confidence, you do not want that to be noticed by the crowd or judges. If it helps, have a discussion with your coach about your insecurities and create a game-plan to work on your weaknesses to gain more confidence. You should never be afraid to share your best facial confidently. 

Use a mirror.

I tell my cheerleaders to do this all the time with their motions, but the same applies for facials. Practice your facials in the mirror until you find your favorites and you feel comfortable with them.

Use your facials at practice.

More than once I've seen a cheerleader throw a new facial during a performance (that they did not practice) and they completely lose track of their routine. You can prevent this by practicing your facials during practice. You should practice your facials just as you would your motions. 

Sing part of the song.

I love this one... when it's used right! 

When to use this: This is different for every mix and routine, but there are certain times when cheerleaders (especially flyers or tumblers) can "sing" a portion of the routine's song to provide emphasis and show that they are enjoying the song and performance. Voice-over portions are great for this too. 

When NOT to use this: Do not get in the habit of just singing the song while dancing or singing too much. In my opinion, doing so is just as bad as mouthing your 8 counts. The judges and crowd want to see your smile and enthusiasm, not your lip syncing skills.

Exaggerate and feel silly.

The audience and judges are not close enough to see small facial expressions so remember to keep your facials big, just like your motions. I always tell my cheerleaders, "if you don't feel silly, you're not doing it right". If you've ever seen some still photos of facials, they can be... well... interesting to say the least, but in the moment they're perfectly beautiful and add to the overall performance tremendously!

Partners are important.

Be sure to partner great facials with a wink, head bob, or a shoulder pop. Just remember to keep all of the other suggestions in mind. Do not over do it (refer back to 'the crowd may be confused as to whether they should be enjoying themselves or calling you an ambulance.')

Smile! Smile! Smile!

Lastly and most importantly... SMILE! If you are not sure what you do, always smile. There is no substitute for a great smile that shows the judges and crowd you're having fun.  

Learning how to do facials can be very awkward, but I hope you have found these tips helpful.

Keep shinin' and keep smilin', Sisters!

Coaches and cheerleaders, do you have additional ideas to teach facials? Please comment below and let's share our knowledge!

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