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Cheerleading

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What is cheerleading?

Cheerleading is group of individuals performing tumbling, jumping and cheers to encourage and energize spectators at sporting events; It is a team sport in which squads perform routines to music and are judged at competitions.

How can cheerleading help my child?

  • It allows them to develop a sense of responsibility to themselves and others.
  • It will build self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • They will learn teamwork
  • Cheerleading develops friendships.
  • Cheerleading teaches dedication.
  • It improves strength, endurance, coordination and flexibility

Is cheerleading a sport or an activity?

The question is still out as to whether cheer is a sport or an activity.  Over the years Cheerleading has evolved from being an activity where members were selected based on beauty and popularity to one that requires athletic abilities.  Often when joining a cheer squad, you have the option to join the spirit team and/or the competitive team. However, the majority of cheerleading squads do not participate in any competitions. Although cheerleading, especially at the high school and college level, is  physically demanding and cheerleaders are trained athletes, their main function still remains supporting school athletic teams in competition.  Until the majority of the cheerleading squads consider competition to be their primary function and cheering at games to be a secondary, cheerleading is not going to officially be considered a sport.

What are the types of cheerleading?

The traditional form of cheerleading is where participants wave pom-poms and lead cheers on the sports sideline (spirit) and the competitive form is where cheerleading squads compete against other squads in competitions (competitive cheer).  There are several different types of cheerleading squads available for children: recreational, school, and All Star.

Recreation cheer usually focuses on elementary and middle school age children and are usually associated with a local organizations. Recreation teams can be spirit or competitive.

School cheer is most prominent in high schools but there are many middle schools that are beginning to promote the program as well.  This is where they wave pom-poms and lead cheers on the sports sideline to support the school's teams. There are many high school teams that have both spirit and competitive teams.

All Star Cheer is strictly a competitive squad that does not cheer for any sporting events. The purpose of this squad is to put on a extraordinary performance to win their competitions. All Star Cheerleading combines gymnastics, acrobatics, partner stunting, pyramid building, and dancing into a synchronized, routine.

 
Recreational Cheerleading

Age Requirements

Children can begin recreational cheerleading  as young as 5 years old and go to around the age of 14.  These teams are non-school affiliated teams offered by local recreation leagues and it is a great way for your child to start their cheerleading career.  These teams teach the fundamentals of cheerleading and focus on learning basics that will help  cheerleaders succeed in the future, whether on a All-Star team or high school squad.

 

Commitment

 

Practices usually begin around the first week in August and are held approximately three nights per week pre-season and then one night per week during the season.  Practice sessions will last 1 1/2 - 2  hours.   The football cheerleading season mirrors the football season. Games begin Labor Day weekend and run until late October but the season may be extended into November if the team makes the playoffs.  Games that require cheerleaders are usually on Friday night or Saturday.

 

Often a competitive squad will be created to compete after football season. The season for the Competition Squads extends into January for younger squads and March for older squads. Competition squads will usually compete at 2 - 6 competitions during the season depending on age and skill level.  The commitment level for one of the competing squads is very high. The routines designed for these squads are difficult and a child will fall behind if he/she misses practices. Therefore cheerleading must be made a priority. Most children on these squads find it hard to participate in another sport during the season.

 

Squad assignments

Squad assignments are usually made first based on grade and secondly based on age. Squad assignments for competition squads are made based on league age requirements, skill and experience.  Evaluations are normally held in mid-June for competition squads.   These evaluations are used for placement on a competition squad. No evaluations are necessary for football cheer squads.   Those with some cheerleading or gymnastics experience will have an easier time at evaluations for a competition squad. 

Costs

For recreational squads you can expect to pay about $350 - $400 per cheerleader. This would include registration fees and a uniform costs.  Additional costs will be incurred for a competition team: travel, accommodations, food and competition fees.

High School Cheerleading

Cheering at games is different at every high school, but  most squads will definitely cheer for football and basketball.  Recently they are beginning to make appearances at baseball games, soccer games, volleyball games, and wrestling matches. There will also be pep rallies, homecoming, and spirit days that the squad will organize and  the student body will participate in.

Commitment

Many high schools require two-a-day practices starting two weeks before school starts and three to five practices a week during the school year.  Cheer practice can be right after school or in the evening, depending on the coach, and it will last a few hours.

You also find that your school requires a summer camp.  Camp is a great way to get the new squad to bond as well as spend quality time learning cheers, dances, and stunts. Camp usually lasts about three to five days and is from morning til evening. Camp can either be held at your own school for just your squad with their coaches or the team may travel to a local college or university where you sleep in a dorm and interact with other teams.  

Tryouts

Tryouts are required for high school teams.  They are normally scheduled anytime from late winter to early spring.  All tryouts vary slightly at each school but normally it will last an entire week.  It usually starts off with a clinic to learn specific skills like a cheer, dance, sideline, or stunt.  Each day until the day of tryouts, you will practice the moves.  The day of tryouts you should dress neatly with your hair pulled up, no jewelry and enter with confidence.  You will be asked to perform in a group of three or four in front of the panel of judges.  Areas that you will normally be judged on include:

  • Jumps: height, athleticism, technique

  • Cheer: attitude, arm motions, voice, smile, enthusiasm, spirit

  • Dance: showmanship, coordination, rhythm, eye contact

  • Tumbling: cartwheels, backhand springs, round-offs

Results will be announced or posted once tryouts are complete.

 

 

Cost

Basic registration fees run around $75 - $175 per cheerleader.   In addition, you will have uniform costs.  This will run between $300- $400.  Some schools have swap shops where the cheerleaders have the opportunity to buy and sell their old gear prior to purchasing new apparel.  This helps defray the cost for both new and existing cheerleaders.  Summer camp can cost between $200 -$250. If a competition squad is formed, cheerleaders have the option of cheering for competition.  Extra  fees will be required of competition squad members that will include travel, accommodations, food and competition fees.  Depending on the number of competitions that the team enters and where they are located this could add $500 - $1000 to the cost.

All Star Cheerleading

All Star cheerleading is all about the challenge and competition of the sport.  It is different from high school or college cheerleading because there are no sports teams to support. The cheerleaders on each squad are made up of members from various schools in different areas.  Most All Star cheerleading teams are affiliated with a local gym. All Star cheerleading is for someone who is looking just for competition and has the skill set to meet the requirements, dedication and commitment necessary.

Commitment

The season is 12 months long, starting in May. Practice is extremely important for all star cheerleading.  For younger teams you can expect about 5 hours per week training.  For more advanced teams you can expect practice everyday for two hours with an additional weekend practice.

Once competition season emerges coaches will call mandatory extra practices.  The night before a competition, gyms will often have trial practices. The number of competitions that the team enters will vary. You can expect to perform at many local events, as well regional and possibly national competitions. On an average you can expect to compete between 8-15 times in a season with the older teams traveling out of town a few times.

All star teams generally attend a choreography camp that is held at their home gym rather than go to a summer camp. At choreography camp, which lasts 3-4 days in the middle of the summer, the gym will hire a choreographer to help the team focus on their routines for the coming year. Training may include dancing, tumbling, and stunting.

Tryouts

The tryout process for all star is basically an evaluation process that occurs during April - June, which is the beginning of a new season. You can first expect be separated into age groups and then further grouped based upon your skills and the needs of the team. Levels range from one to six, with one being the lowest skill level and six being the highest. However, in most gyms new members are accepted all year long and if someone new joins coaches may opt to switch people around to different squads.

Cost

Costs are very high and vary widely from gym to gym.  There are two types of costs involved with All Star cheerleading: team costs and travel costs.  Team costs, paid directly to the gym,  include tuition and coaches fees, uniforms and practice gear, competition fees and private sessions.  Travel costs, incurred for competitions, include accommodations, food, gas/mileage, airfare and car rentals.  Younger children normally travel with their parents to these events whereas older children travel as a team.  So depending on how they travel will determine whether you pay these travel costs directly to the gym or pay on your own.  

Gyms normally bill in one of two ways: Equal monthly payments based on all costs associated with the season or monthly billing of tuition and then bill other expenses as they occur.  The later allows for more flexibility for the gym but it is more difficult for parents to budget

A typical cost range for All Star cheerleading would be from $1500 - $5000 a year depending on the age and level of the team.

 

Other Great Activities for Kids....

 

ART A wonderful way for children to express their creativity, while at the same time learning fundamental skills that will improve their artistic endeavors.

 

 

THEATER teaches the importance of dedication, focus and practice.

 

 

SCUBA teaches you to set goals and progress steadily towards them with the help of your instructors.

 

GYMNASTICS is the foundation for all sports because it teaches your child to control their body.

 


BIKING is a great family activity and it is something that kids love to do.