When we think about cheerleading, we usually visualize them bearing pom-poms and waving these on the air as our favorite team either breezes through a victory or falls down in defeat on the court. What we fail to see is the hours of endless practice they do in the gym and the training facility–how they sweat it out every single day and how they sacrifice their personal time, space and energy for the love of this sport. The Jacksonville cheerleading programs at Central Florida Athletics aims to instigate in cheerleaders the spirit of competitiveness, drive to win, and discipline.
But what really is competitive cheerleading, and why does preparing for it seems to be more difficult than the stunts they do on the sidelines of a football game?
Competitive cheerleading is a term used to refer to cheer squads when they compete against each other in a competition. In the United States, competition for the best cheerleading team in the country is at the national level.
For a cheerleading competition, teams must be ready to perform a two-and-a-half minute routine composed of dance, stunts, jumps, flips and tumblings. They are given months to perfect these routines, and they must execute these perfectly if they want to have a chance to the championship.
These teams are judged by a panel of judges based on their execution and on the difficulty of their stunts. The more difficult the stunts are, the more likely that team can win the competition. Of course, they should be careful in executing these stunts as a fall may mean a failing grade on the scorecard.
Judges also like seeing the cheerleaders being confident in the performance of their routine. Cheerleading, after all, is all about boosting the energy of the crowd and getting them to rally behind the home team. So, it’s also important for the judges to see this kind of attitude in the cheerleaders.
This is the same kind of mentality that Jacksonville cheerleading wants to instill in its cheerleaders. They want someone who’s confident and secure about their routines, especially the difficult ones.
There are basically two types of cheerleading teams that can compete: school-based teams or all-star squads (not affiliated with any school). School teams perform their routines with cheers, pom-poms, signs and megaphones while all-star cheerleading teams are generally sponsored by communities and private companies, and are not affiliated with academic institutions.