History Before organized cheerleading Cheerleading began during the late 18th century with the rebellion of male students. In response to faculty's abuse, college students violently acted out.
The undergraduates began to riot, burn down buildings located on their college campuses, and assault faculty members. As a more subtle way to gain independence, however, students invented and organized their own extracurricular activities outside their professors' control. This brought about American sports, beginning first with collegiate teams. Soon, that gesture of support crossed overseas to America. He transplanted the idea of organized crowds cheering at football games to the University of Minnesota.
Thomas, Easton, and Guerin from Princeton's classes of , , and , respectively, on October 26, These students would cheer for the team also at football practices, and special cheering sections were designated in the stands for the games themselves for both the home and visiting teams. November 2, is the official birth date of organized cheerleading. Soon after, the University of Minnesota organized a "yell leader" squad of six male students, who still use Campbell's original cheer today.
In the late s, many school manuals and newspapers that were published still referred to cheerleaders as "chap," "fellow," and "man". In the s, collegiate men were drafted for World War II , creating the opportunity for more women to make their way onto sporting event sidelines.
By the s, some began to consider cheerleading a feminine extracurricular for boys, and by the s, girls primarily cheered at public school games. Cheerleading could be found at almost every school level across the country, even pee wee and youth leagues began to appear. He also approximated that ninety-five percent of cheerleaders within America were female. Women were selected for two reasons: Women were exclusively chosen because men were the targeted marketing group.
These pro squads of the s established cheerleaders as "American icons of wholesome sex appeal. Professional cheerleading eventually spread to soccer and basketball teams as well. Defense Secretary posing with U. The s saw the beginning of modern cheerleading, adding difficult stunt sequences and gymnastics into routines.
Cheerleading organizations such as the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Advisors AACCA , founded in , started applying universal safety standards to decrease the number of injuries and prevent dangerous stunts, pyramids, and tumbling passes from being included in the cheerleading routines. The NCAA requires college cheer coaches to successfully complete a nationally recognized safety-training program.
Cheerleaders are quite often seen as ambassadors for their schools, and leaders among the student body. At the college level, cheerleaders are often invited to help at university fundraisers and events. Sports such as association football soccer , ice hockey , volleyball , baseball , and wrestling will sometimes sponsor cheerleading squads.
In order to prevent injuries, there are certain rules that cheerleading teams have to follow according to their level high school, all-star, or college. According to the Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine, there are two purposes of cheerleading - to cheer on the sidelines for other athletes, and to be a "highly skilled competing athlete.
What began as the classic sweater and mid-calf pleated skirt uniform has now come to incorporate materials that allow for stretch and flexibility. Uniform changes are a result of the changing culture from the s to modern day. Cheerleading may seem like a light-hearted activity to some, but injuries that can come from practice or a competition can be severe if the athlete is not properly trained. There have been many catastrophic injuries from cheer, especially from tumbling and stunting.
Because of the lack of studies on injuries in competitive cheerleading, many injuries that happen could be avoided. Most studies in sports medicine pertaining to cheerleading are focused on whether it is a sport or not. Many colleges offer cheerleading scholarships for students.
A cheerleading team may compete locally, regionally, or nationally, as well as cheer for sporting events and encourage audience participation. Cheerleading is quickly becoming a year-round activity, starting with tryouts during the spring semester of the preceding school year. Teams may attend organized summer cheerleading camps and practices to improve skills and create routines for competition.
Student cheerleaders compete with recreational-style routine at competitions year-round. Teams practice intensely for competition and perform a routine no longer than 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Like other school-level athletes, teams compete to win league titles, and move on to bigger competitions with the hopes of reaching a national competition.
The advantages to a school squad versus an all-star squad is cheering at various sporting events. The tryout process can sometimes take place over a multiple day period. The cheerleading coach will arrange for a cheerleading clinic, during which basic materials are taught or reviewed before the final day of tryouts.
The clinic gives returning cheerleaders and new cheerleaders an equal chance of becoming familiar with the material. Skills that are necessary to be a cheerleader include jumps, tumbling, motions, and dance ability.
Tryouts often take place during the spring, so that the coach has the squad chosen in time to attend summer camp as a team. In middle school, cheerleading squads serve the same purpose, and follow the same rules as high school squads.
Squads cheer for basketball teams, football teams, and other sports teams in their school. Squads also perform at pep rallies and compete against other local schools from the area. Cheerleading in middle school sometimes can be a two-season activity: However, many middle school cheer squads will go year-round like high school squads. Middle school cheerleaders use the same cheerleading movements as their older counterparts, yet they perform less extreme stunts. These stunts range from preps, thigh stands, and extensions, to harder one-legged stunts.
High school High school cheerleaders In high school, there are usually two squads per school: High school cheerleading contains aspects of school spirit as well as competition. These squads have become part of a year-round cycle. Starting with tryouts in the spring, year-round practice, cheering on teams in the fall and winter , and participating in cheerleading competitions.
Most squads practice at least three days a week for about two hours each practice during the summer. Many teams also attend separate tumbling sessions outside of practice. During the school year, cheerleading is usually practiced five- to six-days-a-week.
During competition season, it often becomes seven days with practice twice a day sometimes. The school spirit aspect of cheerleading involves cheering, supporting, and "pumping up" the crowd at football games, basketball games, and even at wrestling meets. Along with this, they perform at pep rallies, and bring school spirit to other students. In May , the National Federation of State High School Associations released the results of their first true high school participation study.
They estimated that the number of high school cheerleaders from public high schools is around , Many high schools will often host cheerleading competitions, bringing in IHSA judges. The regional competitions are qualifiers for national competitions, such as the UCA Universal Cheerleaders Association in Orlando , Florida every year.
All high school coaches are required to attend an IHSA rules meeting at the beginning of the season. This ensures their knowledge of changed rules and their compliance with these rules.
College Collegiate cheerleaders for the University of Florida perform a high splits pyramid during a Gators college football game Most American universities have a cheerleading squad to cheer for football, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. Most college squads tend to be large coed although in recent years; all-girl and small coed college squads have increased rapidly. College squads perform more difficult stunts which include pyramids, as well as flipping and twisting basket tosses.
Youth cheer— high school ages and younger—make up the vast majority of cheerleaders and cheer teams. Organizations that sponsor youth cheer teams usually sponsor either youth league football or basketball teams as well. This allows for the two, under the same sponsor, to be intermingled. Both teams have the same mascot name and the cheerleaders will perform at their football or basketball games.
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. November Learn how and when to remove this template message During the early s, cheerleading squads not associated with a school or sports leagues, whose main objective was competition, began to emerge.
The first organization to call themselves all-stars and go to competitions were the Q94 Rockers from Richmond, Virginia , founded in In , the National Cheerleaders Association NCA addressed this situation by creating a separate division for teams lacking a sponsoring school or athletic association, calling it the All-Star Division and debuting it at their competitions.
As the popularity of this type of team grew, more and more of them were formed, attending competitions sponsored by many different organizations and companies, each using its own set of rules, regulations, and divisions. This situation became a concern to gym owners because the inconsistencies caused coaches to keep their routines in a constant state of flux, detracting from time that could be better utilized for developing skills and providing personal attention to their athletes.
More importantly, because the various companies were constantly vying for a competitive edge, safety standards had become more and more lax. In some cases, unqualified coaches and inexperienced squads were attempting dangerous stunts as a result of these expanded sets of rules. It included teams from all levels, with each winner continuing to the online championships, where teams from across the nation competed to win the Worlds Title. The numbers of competitions a team participates in varies from team to team, but generally, most teams tend to participate in eight to twelve competitions a year.
These competitions include locals, which are normally taken place in school gymnasiums or local venues, nationals, hosted in big venues all around the U. During a competition routine, a squad performs carefully choreographed stunting, tumbling, jumping, and dancing to their own custom music. Teams create their routines to an eight-count system and apply that to the music so that the team members execute the elements with precise timing and synchronization.
There are many different organizations that host their own state and national competitions. Some major companies include: This means that many gyms within the same area could be state and national champions for the same year and never have competed against each other.
Currently, there is no system in place that awards only one state or national title. Judges at the competition watch closely for illegal moves from the group or any individual member. They look out for deductions, or things that go wrong, such as a dropped stunt.
They also look for touch downs in tumbling for deductions.