By this point in the season, some of you might be throwing up your hands saying, “Help! I have no idea what I am doing.” In fact, if you are new to competitive cheerleading, you are probably wondering what you signed up for. There are competition fees, various uniforms, humungous bows, practice wear, choreography camps, and tumbling classes. How do you keep all of this straight? Relax, you are in good company. Luckily, we have been in the industry longer than most of your children have been alive.
Cheerleading is not the same sport you did 20 years ago in high school. More than likely, you are starting to realize that it is not about sideline cheers, being popular, or pom-poms these days. It’s about big bows, tumbling passes, larger than life pyramids, hitting the scoresheet, and oddly enough there are no cheers or chants. So if you are feeling a little lost, no worries! We are here to help you navigate the season.
Who decides what goes into the routines?
There is a set of rules that all programs follow that are put forth by the U.S All Star Federation (click here for more information on USASF). USASF sets the rules that each level follows and gets judged on at competitions (click here for a list of the rules). Judges are looking for the maximum number of skills that a particular level can perform in the most creative manner. If you aren’t sure about all the lingo that we use, check out the Glossary to update your cheer vocabulary.
What is all this talk about getting a “bid?”
There are two large events that all the teams want to be invited to: The Summit (Levels 1-4) and The Cheerleading Worlds (Level 5-6). They are both very prestigious events and require teams to earn a bid at sanctioned events throughout the season in order to attend. Some bids are full paid invitations to the competitions, some aren’t. Earning a paid bid to The Summit or Worlds are highly coveted and very competitive to win. All season long teams train and compete for a chance to take the stage at such an event.
Why do the teams practice so often? Their routine is only 2:30.
Cheer routines have many different elements the judges are looking for (basket tosses, running and standing tumbling, stunts, pyramid, dance, creativity/choreography, showmanship, and jumps). Although 2 minutes and 30 seconds doesn’t seem like a long time, getting a team of 20-30 athletes to execute various skills with precision takes countless hours. Hitting tumbling passes to music and 8-counts is harder than it sounds. Making different stunt sequences and pyramids seem effortless requires more than a few tries. It takes months just to develop the basics and get a team ready to perform a routine. As the season progresses, teams are ready for harder elements and more advanced routines.
Do they really need their hair and makeup done?
Yep, they do…even the minis! When teams are on stage under bright lights, it is easy for them to look washed out from the judges table. Judges expect to see athletes looking professional and polished. However, this is not a license to get carried away. Keep in mind that a light, professional look is what the judges are after (age appropriate makeup). We have classes at the gym to show you how to do makeup and what kind of look we require.
In regards to hair, it MUST be securely pulled back away from their face. Each athlete will have a bow to wear that is part of their uniform. Your coaches will let you know exactly how their hair should look. Sloppy appearances don’t bode well with the judges.
If you have any questions, feel free to talk to your team mom or coach. We are committed at Champion Athletics to helping our parents feel just as successful as their athletes!