What is Cheerleading?

In its simplest terms, Cheerleading is the performance of athletic skills, jumps, dance and/or chanting to gain a response from spectators at an event (whether this is in support of a sports team, or simply to score points in a cheerleading competition).



Depending on the organisation and country, there are a number of different Cheerleading disciplines.  Cheerleaders might specialise in one, or participate in multiple cheer squads throughout the year.

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Types of Cheer

Acro & TumblingFuture “emerging sport” for NCAA, collegiate teams that are members of the National Collegiate Acrobatics and Tumbling Association (NCATA) that compete only in skill sets of acrobatics, tumbling, pyramids and a 2.5 minute team routine. Watch their 2011 National Performance
StuntThe new competitive team sport derived from cheerleading. STUNT removes the crowd-leading element and focuses on the technical and athletic components of cheer; including partner stunts, pyramids, basket tosses, group jumps and tumbling, and a dynamic team performance.
Competitive CheerMichigan High Schools and other college club teams that just compete skills sets similar to NCATA without music.

'Traditional' Cheer

The performance of organized routines, usually ranging from one to three minutes, which contain the components of tumbling, dance, jumps, cheers, and stunting to spectators

Sideline Cheer (With Tumbling)Traditional Sideline cheerleading team that does not do acrobatics or tumble, may or may not compete with a primary goal of supporting other teams, and being an ambassador for their school or recreational team.
Sideline Cheer (Without Tumbling)Sideline cheerleading team that in addition to jumps, motions and dance, they do acrobatics and tumble; they may or may not compete with a primary goal of supporting other teams and being an ambassador for their school or recreational team.

Cheer Dance

A squad will incorporate a specific dance style (i.e. freestyle, hip-hop, jazz or lyrical), technical work (tumbling, leaps, turns, kicks, splits, jumps) and, depending on the routine, pompon and/or cheers.
Street Cheer

 A unique fusion of hip-hop and dance, Street cheer incorporates achievable street style moves with elements such as Locking and Popping, Jump and Freestyle elements, along with Cheerleading Cheers and Chants. Watch action from the Street Cheer National 2010

Pom Dance

As cheer dance, except the squad will use pom-poms in all its dance routines

It is also possible to differentiate by performer and gender:


Can range from a dance only squad to an acrobatic team, but the primary goal is to support a professional sports team.


 The principal athletic teams representing a college, university, high school or other secondary schools. There are strict rules and criteria governing the structure and administration of varsity teams


The squad is representing a particular school


Non-school teams that compete only doing a 2.5 minute team routine to music that includes jumps, dance, tumbling, pyramids and acrobatics.


 All members of the squad are of the same sex

Co-ed The squad in mixed gender

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