This LSBU Girl Can – Interview with the Cheerleading President

This LSBU Girl Can – Interview with the Cheerleading President

This Girl Can is a campaign celebrating active women who are doing their thing no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets. The project, funded by The National Lottery and developed by Sport England, aims to help women overcome the fear of judgement that is stopping too many women and girls from joining in.

To celebrate ‘This Girl Can’ week (20th-26th November 2017), iBank Media will be bringing you an exclusive series of interviews over the week from women in sports here at LSBSU.

Today we have been lucky enough to interview Katie Pantling, second-year Diagnostic Radiography student and founder of the cheerleading society!

Did you enjoy sports before coming to university?

Yes, I did cheerleading for eight years at my previous university.

What inspired you to take up cheerleading?

I did cheerleading for eight years and I first became interested in it at my previous university, since then I’ve continued with it through programs in Leeds and London.

What does a typical session look like?

We warm up and then do an hour of gymnastics, jumps and stunts. We demo new skills and practice them. There is a huge variety of skills and we have everyone from advanced members and new beginners – so we coach one another! We are slowly working towards complete sections of choreography that will form our competition routine.

Did you have any worries about starting a new society? How have they changed?

I was initially worried that it would be hard to get things going and difficult to recruit new members as LSBU is a small university. My old university was more traditional – almost everyone was a member of a society and there was more of a ‘uni bubble’. I also had placement during fresher’s week so I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get enough people together to form a team.

What much time and commitment is expected from a member?

I would expect that for members wishing to compete they would attend every week. I understand that many students have courses with placement blocks and uni deadlines so I’d be happy to have people attend when they can.

Do you think that joining a sports team has improved your mental or physical health?

Yes, I definitely think that physically it makes you stronger, I’m always thinking that I need to be stronger in order to do this or more flexible in order to that – working towards goals like these help me to focus. I think another benefit is that through cheerleading I have something to focus on that is entirely separate to my course which helps me deal with stress.  

Are there things that you enjoy but did not expect to enjoy?

I was surprised to see so many people were enthusiastic about joining cheerleading as it is a new society and is still being established. We have around 25 regular members who are training to compete.

What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about joining a sports team for the first time while at uni?

I’d tell them to consider giving something completely new a try because as an adult it’s hard to find the opportunity to learn new skills and this is a great chance. I’d also tell them not to worry so much as they’re not the only new person!

What is the ratio of males to females in your society? Why do you think this is?

At the moment there are no men on the cheerleading team. I think that this is because cheerleading has the stereotype of pompoms, short skirts, and ‘girls only’ associated with it. If one man joined I think it would encourage others to join and help to break the stereotype that it’s a female sport.  

Did you have any concerns about body image and confidence and have they changed?

I think that there’s a stereotype from American films of how cheerleaders should look. Truthfully, there’s no such thing as a perfect body for cheerleading: body size, shape, gender or fitness level doesn’t impact on ability or skill – it really is a sport open to anyone!

Interested in joining the Cheerleading Society?

Day: Thursday 

Time: 6:30pm – 8pm 

Location: Archbishop Sumner Primary School (on Oakden Street).

Any questions or queries please contact the cheerleading society.


Facebook: LSBU Cheer Squad 

LSBSU Website: More information and membership 

More articles on This LSBU Girl Can Week:

This LSBU Girl Can Week has begun 

Monday 20th November – Jujitsu 

Tuesday 21st November – Hockey 

Wednesday 22nd November – Federation Chair Sarah Clifton 

Thursday 23rd November – Cheerleading 

Friday 24th November – Women’s Rugby

Saturday 25th November – Trampolining 

Keep in touch by using the hashtag #ThisLSBUGirlCan

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