WESTBROOK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Like any sport, it takes a great deal of commitment both on and off the field. So where do the cheerleaders go when they're not at practice or a game? To the cheer gym!
"I have been running the gym since 2001," says Julie Dvilinksky. "I've been at this location since 2005."
When you ask the owner of Elite All stars of Maine how many awards they've earned over the years...The gym walls are the best indication.
"I need to keep track," says Dvilinsky.
This is where the cheerleaders go to get their tumble on.
"At school you have time to practice stunting, cheers, jumps. And this is an opportunity for the kids to just focus on the tumbling piece."
Tumbling is a form of gymnastics which includes backhandsprings, backtucks, layouts and above. Tumbling has its own category scored by the judges at competitions.
"If the whole team has backhandsprings," says Dvilinsky, "we're looking at about a 6 or 7. If they are looking at goals of tucks, layouts or better -- then their scores go up."
A Windham Varsity cheerleader comes to the gym every Thursday night. "I just think it looks cool," she says. "So why not try it myself."
Sure, it looks cool. But any cheerleader will tell you they've fallen more times than they've stuck their skill.
"At first it's kinda hard but once you get the feel of it you're like oh ok, I think I can do this," says Carley Kramlich. "So you just have to have that confidence in yourself and know that you can do it and just keep trying."
Spring mats at the gym are forgiving when they fall, but tumbling instructors won't take any excuses.
Brandon Oullette is a legendary All Star coach. He was featured on MTV's show called Made: I want to be a cheerleader... and most recognized for his tough-love approach.
"He believes in you. He does yell at you, but only does it to push you harder because he knows you can do it," says Mariah Higgans. "'So it works?' Yeah."
And while they know it's not easy...
"I'm tired," says one cheerleader. "Ow," says another.
These Windham cheerleaders say come competition season -- it'll all pay off.
"You have to work for what you want and it's doesn't come easy so this all part of the deal," says one cheerleader doing crunches. "You just have to work for it."
There are a handful of cheer gyms in Maine. Planet Cheer out of Lewiston is currently in a nationwide competition to get voted on the cover of The Cheerleader Magazine. Here is a link to vote for Planet Cheer.