A GUIDE TO COMPETITIVE CHEERLEADING

A+GUIDE+TO+COMPETITIVE+CHEERLEADING

Katie Wertheimer

LAKE MICHIGAN CATHOLIC-  Competitive cheerleading; a sport that many people do not understand. For many, there is not a distinct difference between competitive and sideline cheerleading.

As a commonly misunderstood sport, many do not understand what the premise of it is. In the 1990s, competitive cheerleading used to be a very popular and successful sport for LMC, they were known for their multiple wins and titles.

The sport consists of three rounds of competition, with each round having a purpose of showcasing different skills.

In round one, the goal of each team is to showcase their best motions, formations and jumps to the judges.

In round 2, a precision drill made up of 10 motions, is choreographed for all the teams in the district, along with more jumps and skills such as tumbling. A team’s tumbles can range from a forward roll or cartwheel, all the way to standing back tucks. In round three, the girls are able to exhibit their stunting and tumbling. A series of stunt sequences and a group tumble is performed.  

Stunting is made up of groups of four cheerleaders, each person having their own position. The positions consist of a flyer, backspot, and two bases.

The Flyer is up in the air and being supported by the bases on each side of the flyer. Their job is to lift and catch the flyers with the help of the backspot.The back spot is at the back of  the flyer, lifting and catching the head and shoulders.

The final round of competition is the where all of the skills, including jumps, motions, tumbles, and stunts to the maximum are showcased all together.

There are four main types of cheer jumps displayed. Toe touch, where both feet are up and pointed to the corners of the room, Herkie, where one leg is bent backwards and the other is kicked up at an angle, front hurdler, where one leg is bent straight back and the other is kicked straight up, and pike where both legs are kicked out in front of you.The scoring for cheerleading is unusual compared to other sports. Each team sends in a report of what they are planning to perform in all three rounds and the judges calculate their final score.

As the team performs, when they make mistakes, the judges deduct a certain amount of points from errors ranging anywhere from not pointing toes or a uniform violation, to a flyer hitting the mat, and the team gets their definite scores after adding up deductions and execution points.

At the end of the competition, the judges announce the winners of the meet in each division, unless it’s a conference meet, where no awards are given out. At the end of the season, the teams compete at the districts finals and the top four teams go to regionals, in hope of competing at state.

For LMC, the 2017 team came in third place at districts and came in twelfth at regionals. The team continues to have high hopes for the future competitive cheerleading season