'If you fall again, I'm going to replace you': Competitive mothers, tough coaches and scared little girls in cutthroat world of child cheerleading
15:57 GMT, 10 July 2012
17:27 GMT, 10 July 2012
The competitive world of cheerleading is being revealed on a new reality TV show that takes viewers behind the scenes of an all-American sport not for the faint of heart.
TLC's new show, Cheer Perfection, reveals just how cutthroat the sport is, with competitive mothers who are unapologetic about living vicariously through their daughters, and overly tough coaches.
The show follows Cheer Time Revolution in Sherwood, Arkansas, where cheerleaders are like royalty and Alisha Dunlap, co-owner and coach, is queen bee.
Cheer Perfection: TLC's new show reveals just how cutthroat the sport is, with competitive mothers who are unapologetic about living vicariously through their daughters, and overly tough coaches
'If you fall again, I'm going to replace you,' she is seen saying to her daughter Cambry, age five, a cheerleader.
Dozens of young girls are trying out for the coveted silver youth squad, and Ms Dunlap helps them, and therefore their mothers, succeed through an overly tough training style.
She told Good Morning America: 'These kids know me so well. It doesn't even bother them… I think they like to get me excited. They know I care.'
Asked whether she ever gets mad at
her mother for yelling at her, Ms Dunlap's other daughter, Cassidy, age
ten, said, 'Yes, yes.'
mother, Bonnie Crow, said: 'I wasn't a cheerleader as a child and I
don't see anything wrong with living through your child.'
Pushing too hard Some of the young girls are afraid they will get in trouble if they don't perform to their mother's standards
Living vicariously: The mothers on the show say they see nothing wrong with living a cheerleading life through their children
Tryouts: The show follows Cheer Time Revolution in Sherwood, Arkansas, where cheerleaders are like royalty and Alisha Dunlap (right), co-owner and coach, is queen bee
Ann Robinson, mother of ten-year-old Torin, said she agrees.
'I wasn't given all the things that Torin was given as a child. If she wants to do cheerleading, I want to make sure that she has the very best.
She added: 'Torin played softball this year. And everybody got a trophy. Well, that's not fun to me. I want to know that my kid is number one.'
Ms Dunlap explains that cheerleading seems so intense because 'the kids can do so much, so much more than even they know they can do. So with a little bit of a push, give them a little bit of drive, they'll be great.'
Competition: Dozens of young girls, including Torin (left) and Cassidy (right). try out for
the coveted silver youth squad, with Ms Dunlap helping to coach them through an overly tough training style
Tough slog: The new reality TV show that takes viewers behind the scenes of the all-American sport that is not for the faint of heart, pushing girls to extremes
In one scene, Ms Crow pushes her daughter Elena to perform a specific move during a tryout, however she falls, and lands on her head.
Ms Crows said, 'I expect a lot from my daughter. We spend a lot of money at cheer. And when she did that, I was very upset with her. … I expect my daughter to do good. And that was not going to cut it.'
She added: 'I knew she wasn't [hurt]. These floors have plenty of padding. She was fine.'
Cheerleader Brooke Ashworth,13, who was diagnosed with a fractured vertebrae, said: 'When you're in cheerleading, you have to suck it up and get over any pain.”
'I knew if I kept saying that I couldn't do it, or I didn't want to do it, I would get in a lot of trouble for it.'
Cheer Perfection premieres on Wednesday July 11, 9/10c on TLC