The New World Of Competitive Cheerleading
As with many disciplines in our increasingly competitive world, cheer leading is changing.
Previously there has been a debate as to whether cheerleading is a sport. Most felt no. Including FCI.
The new world of competitive cheer has caught us off guard and changed our minds. It is clearly a sport. It you want a short course in the change, all you have to do is watch the captivating Freeform television production called Cheer Squad.
Here is the introduction, “Hot off the heels of the World Cheerleading Championships, The Great White Sharks must build a new dream team. Seasoned veterans and fresh faces face off in open tryouts as they attempt to earn a coveted spot.”
Just like the world of sports is filled with free agents, symbolic mercenaries for hire, the new world of competitive cheer involves free agents who don’t cheer for any high school or college, but as many are former gymnasts, they cheer for a private group where the main goal is for the group to win at coveted cheer squad competitions.
Let’s turn our attention to a visiting writer that sheds more light on the new world of competitive cheer.
All-Star Cheerleading – How to Get Involved With Your State Cheer Squad
By Geoff James
All-star teams are associated neither with sports leagues nor schools. All-Star Cheerleading exists not for spirit, but for competition. The cheer league began in the early 80’s, but became its own entity in 1986. It stayed in flux for over a decade, with regularly changing rules and leaders. The USASF (All-Star Federation) was formed in 2003 to dispel some of these recurring problems. They run the Cheerleading Worlds competitions, where teams of all levels compete annually.
To meet the criteria for an all-star team, you may have 6-36 team members, both male and female. Routines length is 2-2 1/2 minutes. You are not allowed to go over 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Competitions are held year-round, with most teams competing once a month. Local competitions are held in school gyms, and they grow as the region involved does, culminating with the Cheerleading Worlds in Orlando, at Walt Disney World.
Judging for Worlds follows the same criteria as judging school teams, mainly looking for synchronization, skill level, creativity, transitions, safety, and stunting difficulty and execution.
All-star team divisions are based on age, gender, team size, and ability. The divisions, encompassing children from 4-18, are: Tiny, Mini, Youth, Junior, Junior International, Junior Coed, Senior, Senior Coed, and Open international.
To compete internationally at worlds, your team must be a level 5 or higher. (see USASF website for level identifiers) You need to receive (and accept) a bid from a cheer company to participate. The bids are sometimes, though not always, a paid sponsorship for the event.
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OPENING PHOTO https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jGK5eCcyHI
Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.
Cheer plaques make great keepsakes for cheerleaders young and old.
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