What is cheerleading?
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
How can cheerleading help my
- It allows them to develop a
sense of responsibility to themselves and others.
- It will build self-confidence
- They will learn teamwork
- Cheerleading develops friendships.
- Cheerleading teaches
- It improves strength,
endurance, coordination and flexibility
Is cheerleading a sport or an activity?
is still out as to whether cheer is a sport or an activity. Over the
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
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?
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
There are several different types of
cheerleading squads available for
children: recreational, school, and All Star.
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
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.
Children can begin
young as 5 years old and go to
around the age of
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
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.
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.
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.
require cheerleaders are usually on Friday night or Saturday.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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,
Cheer: attitude, arm motions,
voice, smile, enthusiasm, spirit
Dance: showmanship, coordination,
rhythm, eye contact
Tumbling: cartwheels, backhand
Results will be announced or posted
once tryouts are complete.
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
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
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.
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
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.
Great Activities for Kids....
A wonderful way for children to express their creativity,
while at the same time learning fundamental skills that
improve their artistic endeavors.
teaches the importance of
dedication, focus and practice.
you to set goals and progress steadily towards them
with the help of your instructors.
the foundation for all sports because it teaches your child to control
is a great family activity and it is
something that kids love to do.