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Coach teaches cheerleading in England

By Bayne Hughes 340-2432

When you say "cheerleading," the world thinks of the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders or the movie "Bring It On."

But a Lacey's Spring School coach is showing the world that cheerleading is more than looking pretty and being perky to support a team.

Charlotte Allen recently spent 12 days spreading the art of competitive American cheerleading to our English allies.

"They really had no idea of what cheerleading is about," Allen said. "They asked me questions like 'What's a routine?' and 'What are bleachers?' "

The National Council Spirit Safety Education, sponsored by the nation's largest cheerleading association, developed a four-course training that teaches coaches to set up a cheerleading program in the right, safe way.

Allen said she began her instruction with the basics like uniforms, cheers, and hand and arm movements. They spent the last two days working on tumbling and lifts, the most difficult parts of cheerleading.

"They were very attentive because they want to do this right," Allen said.

In high school, Allen tried out for cheerleading on a dare and made it. She got her first job as a teacher aide at Falkville High School and then Principal Don Murphy needed a cheerleading sponsor. She later became cheerleading coach at Decatur and East Lawrence high schools. Her interest in competitive cheerleading took off during her seven years at East Lawrence.

She is in her 13th year at Lacey's Spring, coaching seventh- and eighth-grade girls. She was one of 22 selected to judge the Cheerleading World's competition in Orlando last April.

Allen has been working with several cheerleading companies during the last six years as a competition judge. Her work also earned her trips to Ireland, Australia and Mexico.

"It's definitely been a pretty exciting adventure," Allen said.

Her husband, Ricky Allen, is the girls basketball coach at Brewer High School.

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