The “introducing:” series is where we showcase less known teams that do something unique, have crazy skills, or anything else that we think needs more attention! Find our other articles here.
Instant success story
As soon as you walk into the gym, you can feel the focus, discipline, and drive of the athletes and coaches. Cheer Infinity Athletics, located in Malmö, Sweden, has been around since 2013 when they started with 4 teams and about 100 athletes.
From the very beginning, they were a gym to look out for. Starting their first season by winning 2 national championship titles and a Worlds bid sounds almost too good to be true. Fast forward to now, and their teams have taken home more than 56 medals… and that’s only when counting national championships!
Their Senior level 5 team, Envy, have competed at Worlds 4 times and placed 9th at Worlds 2019 in the International Global 5 division! At the beginning of the 2019-2020 season, they unexpectedly announced that they were going to take a break for the season.
This led the gym to create a new senior team, and this is where Shady comes into the picture. The team consists of former level 5, level 3, and level 2 athletes. We visited them at practice earlier this season and talked to the athletes and coaches.
Going from level 5 to 3
Moving down in levels is often talked about in cheerleading, especially during the tryout season. We’re not going to dig too deep in that subject right now, but let’s just get one thing straight – it’s not a bad thing!
The higher-level athletes on Shady say that they simply love the sport too much to quit, even if it means switching levels.
There were some mixed emotions when they found out that they weren’t going to compete on level 5 this year. One athlete said that she suspected the level change at the end of last season and therefore had some time to think about it. Another said she was pretty sad at first but quickly changed her mind.
All of the athletes agree that the level change is very challenging and different. You have to use a lot of different techniques and there are so many new things to work on. They say that the level change has become a way of practicing basics that you’ll always need while challenging yourself with new skills at the same time. Having competed on level 5 doesn’t mean you can do every level 3 skill possible, or that your technique is perfect, so there’s always something to learn or improve.
“The stunting is very different for me as a flyer. All of a sudden, you’re not as much on extended level which felt weird in the beginning. Also, trying to not spin too much is hard when you’re used to skills like double downs.”
When asking about other people’s thoughts and opinions, the athletes are both confident and a little nervous.
“It feels like we have some pressure and expectations from others but I haven’t really thought about it that much and I try not to think about it.”
“It seems like people think we’re gonna be crazy good just because many of us were on level 5 before, but we’re still a new team like everyone else. We also have to get used to each other, to new stunt groups and the new skills.”
Not only is there a difference in skills, but also on paper. In Sweden, level 1-3 teams use a Swedish protocol with IASF rules, while levels 4-6 use the ICU protocol. This means that they will be bringing back jumps and dance in the routine, which the athletes think is extra fun. The whole routine will be different with the new protocol.
How about the coaches?
“We’ve been getting to know the team and have changed stunting positions up to a week ago. It’s nice to see how everything is starting to come together.”
“It’s a fun challenge when everything isn’t working from the beginning, it makes you more motivated to actually make it work. Getting everything to hit and everyone to throw their passes is different from level 5. On level 5 it feels more like either it hits, or it doesn’t… On level 3 you can save stunts in a whole different way, which is less stressful as a coach, at least for me.”
They agreed that the goal this season is to give it their all and max out the routine as much as possible.
Since we visited, they competed at the Nordic All Level Championship and won!