Tag Archives: cheerleading

Rule #3 of Animal Restraint: Be a Cheerleader

26 Sep

As a restrainer of animals, being anything aside from positive, supportive, calm, and patient is counterproductive.  Everybody involved needs you to be miss Sunshine-super-patient to maximize chance of success, and minimize strife and injury.

Cheer on the animal (and it’s owner) you’re restraining, by telling it reassuring things in a gentle voice.  This should be constant and second-nature.

It’s very important to be supportive to the DO-er when you’re the restrainer.  Say, “Good job,” “You can do this,” etc. . . when things are going better then expected.  When things are worse, let the do-er know it’s hard, the animal is not cooperative, the task is a high level of difficulty, you’ve seen others mess it up more in the past.  No use in making someone feel bad or frustrated with their efforts.  It just makes future tasks more difficult.

Don’t be a bossy holder.  Let the DO-er perform the task in the way the usually do, and the way they are most comfortable doing it.  Let them take the lead on the thing, and direct YOU how they want the animal held and positioned.  There is more then one way to skin a cat. . .

Don’t sigh or show impatience when the task is taking a long time.  Even if you feel annoyed inside.  Buckle down.  Showing annoyance only makes the DO-er more nervous and agitated then they already are.  And they will likely struggle more.

On this same note, if you are the restrainer, don’t insist on switching.  Let the DO-er tell you when they cannot accomplish the task and need you to do it.  DO-ers, DO NOT poke an animal 80 times, or otherwise torture a pet if it is just not happening for you that day.  Know when to stop and ask someone else to jump in.

Trade off.  Do not always jump to take ALL the blood draws, place all catheters, whatever.  Share back and forth.  Otherwise, one of you becomes the bitch-holder and the subservient.  And no one likes that.  Also realize, if you’re new to a place–you are likely going to ending up doing more holding then doing for awhile.  It’s also a good idea to trade off, not only for fairness purposes, but so that both people are good at both restraint and the tasks needing performed.  Vet tech skills are definitely a use it or lose it deal, and no one should become rusty on either side of the animal.  Practice both restraint and the tasks equally to really hone both skills.  Especially, if someone is sick, or quits, or if you need to switch positions for a vet or new staff--you need to be competent everywhere.

That said, if you know you’re not great at something, or you know your co-worker is a star at one particular task, back off and let them do it.  You should practice and take hints from the super-star, but only on nice animals, during slower times, and not to the point of hurting the animal in order to learn.

And that all there is to restraint.  Mind the hierarchy, keep it cool, and remember team-work.  Good luck, animal workers!


Cheerleading Safety

2 Aug

I see the cool cheerleading feats now and instead of being impressed I worry

No spotter. What if she falls (which could easily happen) ???

about safety. Especially for younger girls doing these activities at a school, without an appropriate or knowledgeable supervisor.  Don’t accuse me of being a stick in the mud–of course I am as amazed as anyone when I see a tick-tock lib (look it up on YouTube) or a triple high pyramid with people flipping on and off of it.  And of course the tumbling passes are riveting.  Who doesn’t love to watch the human body doing crazily impossible things?  That stuff is exciting and impressive.  And I wish I could do it.  And I’m certainly not suggesting that stunting and tumbling should be banned from cheerleading all-together.  But it should be done with more care under (better/any) supervision of someone who knows HOW to do it–and what to do if something does go wrong.

I totally wish I could do awesome partner stunts and pyramids.  But, again, in a safe, controlled environment with someone (who knows what they are doing) guiding me.  And an emergency plan.  Injuries abound, and they can be some of the worst.  I think everyone has seen that back spotter’s teeth get knocked out with just one wrong flick of the flyer’s

elbow.  Paralysis.  Neck and head trauma.  And of course the normal knee, ankle, shoulder injuries.  Pretty horrid stuff.

Coaches are hard to find, and educated in stunting technique–nearly impossible.  At the high school level you mostly get teachers and parents in there–and they dunno.  And the lower levels (elementary, middle school, and Pop Warner) are worse off, because they get even less nominal pay.  If any.  Colleges at least adhere to safety standards more since they have to follow strict rules–and are regulated much more in doing so.  Professional cheer is less about stunting and jumping and more about dancing with your parts hanging out while waving tiny poms–so no worries about injury there.  Unless you count sunburns in weird places. . .  The cheer gyms are probably the worst culprit for injury.  They cost a TON of money to join, demand rigorous over-training, and want to win competitions by whatever means necessary.  They just push too hard.  They just want bigger and better stunts, tumbles, and partnering–to the detriment of the participants’ body.

And the major problem is that younger girls are watching them.  And wanting to imitate them.  Even

head too low again–and where are the spotters?

though they do not have the background, coaching, or technical skill to do so.  And they don’t have enough practice time in the world to perfect those high-difficulty level skills.  Nor do those skills follow high school sports safety standards.  So when I see videos and pictures of awesome feats all I do is

midriff-bearing shells, really? Are you kidding me?

wonder who is going to get hurt and how badly as a result.

Oh, and don’t get me started on young babies decked out in sparse cheer gear doing crazy stunts with no spotters.  I think it’s as creepy and inappropriate as it gets.  I’m looking at you, Texas and stage moms.