Recreational Competition Cheerleading 101
WHAT IS CHEERLEADING?
Recreation cheerleading is a competition sport that involves boys and girls performing a 2 minute and 30 second routine composed of tumbling, stunting, pyramids, dance, and cheer segments. This routine is performed and scored against other competitive teams at various local, regional, and national events.
When we refer to tumbling, we mean gymnastic type skills like cartwheels and back handsprings. Stunting refers to a group of two or more individuals that elevate another cheerleader in the air. This could also include co-ed stunting that may only include one base and one flyer. Pyramids are a form of stunting but are done as a large group and are interconnected. Dance is a portion of a routine that consists of choreographed high energy dance moves. Lastly, the cheer portion is a part of the routine that team members perform precise coordinated motions while chanting a cheer.
WHAT ARE THE AGE REQUIREMENTS, DIVISIONS AND LEVELS?
There are many different combinations of age groups, divisions, and levels. So many it can be quite confusing! These were all created to insure that like ages we’re competing with like skill sets.
Levels were designed to make sure that each team competes and is judged by how well they demonstrate a standard set of skills expected for every team competing at that same level. The levels range from 1-4 in competition cheerleading with level 4 being the highest and most difficult. Often the younger cheerleader competes at the lower levels, but there are also many cheerleaders that enter cheerleading in their teens that may start at level 1 or 2 as well. Remember that levels are purely based on skill, not on age
EAC determines the Division and Level we will compete in based on the enrollment and skill level during the season. Our goal is to allow our cheerleaders to compete at an appropriate level where they can be successful but challenged. Each competition is different so you may see the levels change for different competitions.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE AN
ELITE ATHLETIC CHEERLEADER?
EAC cheerleaders are dedicated to the sport of cheerleading and it being seen as such to the public. Members are not chosen based on popularity, attractiveness or family status but on the skill they can offer the team. Team members are athletes in every sense of the word and work hard to dispel any biased assumptions of what a cheerleader should be. Our athletes are focused and strong. Consider your child’s current physical activities when considering this program. If your child complains about having run up steps or gym class activities, this is not the program for them.
Parents and cheerleaders should be aware that cheering is a time commitment. It is akin to the commitment level of a club soccer team or a traveling baseball team. Normally, seasons begin with evaluations in the spring with practices starting in the fall followed by a competition season running from early December to the spring of the following year. Practices can be 1-2 hours long and as often as 2 times a week. These practices are usually mandatory since many elements of a routine cannot be done without everyone there.
In addition, we encourage tumbling sessions or other private sessions or camps to improve skills. We want your athlete to improve and advance in levels. Our team at EAC can assist you with recommendations if needed.
We require each athlete to attend a mandatory Cheer Camp in August. Cheer Camp is a partial week or weekend. It varies each season for the different teams. We hire a professional choreographer who develops our routine and music for each team that season. It is crucial that all cheerleaders attend camp so the choreographer can assess skills and placement in the routine.