Why Hitting Is More Important Than Winning

Would you rather hit or win? Win is the obvious answer, but you and I both know how difficult it is to take home the top spot in cheer. Point blank, I think hitting is more important than winning.

Cheerleading is insanely competitive and the race to win is real. But, with any performance sport, where scores are based on putting on an entertaining, hard-hitting routine, it feels like there’s more to competing than a gold medal. As someone who competed at countless cheerleading competitions, I can tell you that there are plenty of “losing” performances that still felt amazing.

It was the performances that my team, coaches, and I were proud of, the ones where we hit and achieved our intended purpose. You’re not going to win every battle, but you can beat yourself every time.

A Routine’s Intended Purpose

When you hit a routine, you fulfill its intended purpose. Here’s what I mean. There are countless people involved in creating one routine. Coaches + gym owners + choreographers + music producers + event producers and of course the athletes executing the routine. This group of people spends countless hours creating each section to hit a scoresheet.

A lot has to come together to create a routine and a whole lot more for a routine to hit. As an athlete, you hope that your coaches have created a routine that will allow you to win and that you and your team are capable of carrying out that routine.

When a routine hits, the work of everyone involved suddenly comes to life. You can’t touch a routine, but you can watch it unfold and then rewatch it on YouTube for the rest of your life.

Winning is usually the goal, and getting there is insanely hard. But if winning is the goal, hitting is a major component.

Review the top scores from UCA Nationals last weekend, and you’ll find that many of them are separated by .1 or .05, so it makes you want to SCREAM. Cheerleading is extremely technical, complicated, and subjective, but what’s not complicated is watching a beautiful routine perfectly hit. That’s easy.

Even with a hit, you can lose. But that shouldn’t take away from an amazing performance that took an unreal amount of hard work to put on.

The Social Value of Hitting

Hitting Zero has become an increasingly popular goal to focus on in the past few years. Hit zero competition pins, gym posters, Twitter GIFs, and the like flood social media during competition season. Personally, I love that so many teams and athletes are focused on hitting than winning.

The amount of people or teams that can win is obviously limited, only one per division group at an individual competition.

There is no limit on the number of teams who can hit. And this is no Millennial or Gen Z participation medal crap either. You get a participation medal for showing up, but you get a hit for doing the damn thing.

From a social media perspective, it’s much more important to hit than it is to win and I see it ALL. THE. TIME. Any who knows cheerleading well knows that a hit doesn’t guarantee a win. Fans don’t (typically) abandon their faves when they lose, but they will if they put on consistently inadequate performances.

Cheerleading is unique because it has the ability to make crowds go insane. And at the same time, crowds are relentless when they don’t. When a stunt falls, there’s an audible “OHHHHH” and the energy dies. A HIT is the only way to keep the crowd 100% engaged.

UCA Large Senior 2017- The Prime Example

Last weekend one of the best things happened. Every team in the Large Senior 5 division hit. It was one of the best showings of all-star cheerleading that we’ve seen this season.

One after one, cheerUPDATES tweeted the You Just Hit! image into the Twitter-verse. Cheer Extreme Senior Elite, World Cup Shooting Stars, Stingray All Stars Orange, and Maryland Twisters F5 each put on a performance that was worthy of their long-standing legacies.

When you win, you want to know it was because you put on the best performance you could. If a worthy competitor has even one deduction, you wonder how the judges calculated the rest of the routine, and suddenly you start to ask a million “what if” questions. But when an entire division hits, the results are (hopefully) the most accurate.

Each of those teams went onto the floor and put on a performance that matched their intentions. Those intentions matter and I sincerely hope that those athletes are proud of their performance, whether they were in first, second, third, or fourth.

One day you will no longer be an all-star cheerleader, but you’ll have the memories and the video (if Varsity lets you have it) to look back at and smile. Or cry or scream or do whatever you do.

You can’t always win and that’s okay.

Large Senior Performances at UCA 2017

1. Stingray All Stars Orange

2. World Cup Shooting Stars

3. Cheer Extreme Senior Elite

4. Maryland Twisters F5

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