Did you know that there are around 4.5 million cheerleaders throughout the world? Of those 4.5 million, around 3.5 million are cheerleaders in the United States. Cheerleading is a popular and complex sport that involves chanting, dancing, gymnastics, and stunts.
Many people underestimate what it takes to be a cheerleader. Becoming a cheerleader requires a high level of physical fitness, knowledge of the sport, and a good attitude.
Are you new to cheerleading? Are you thinking about trying out for your local cheerleading team? If so, keep reading to learn everything to know about cheerleading.
What Is Cheerleading?
Before you try out for the cheerleading squad, you first need to understand what cheerleading is. Cheerleading is a team sport that consists of cheering for your team. Cheerleading includes chanting, gymnastics, dancing, jumps, and stunts.
While cheerleading started in the United States, it is a sport that takes place worldwide. There are two main types of cheerleading: sports cheerleading and competitive cheerleading.
Cheerleading was originally invented to encourage other sports teams. If you try out for the cheerleading team at your school, it is probably sports cheerleading.
Sports cheerleaders travel to sports games with the school sports teams. They often stand on the sidelines and perform different cheers for offense and defense. Cheerleaders can use megaphones, pom-poms, and other props.
During halftime, the cheer team may perform a halftime routine that consists of stunts and dancing.
The other most common type of cheerleading is competitive cheerleading or All-Star Cheer. Competitive cheerleading is cheerleading where cheer teams compete against each other. Each team gets two and a half minutes to perform their cheerleading routines.
These cheerleading routines are often more complex than those seen in sports cheerleading. They consist of difficult tumble sequences, stunts, and jumps.
The cheerleader outfit for competition cheerleading is usually more flashy than in sports cheerleading. Judges choose the best cheerleading team based on skill, technique, and appearance.
History of Cheerleading
Do you want to know more about the history of cheerleading? The first sports cheer occurred in 1884 when Princeton University came up with a catchy chant to yell at their football games.
About 10 years later, the Princeton football team was having a rough season, and one of the pep club members came up with the idea to say a cheer while facing the crowd.
The goal was to improve the morale of the team and fans so that they could start winning games again. Soon after, the University of Minnesota began doing the same thing.
At first, cheerleading was only a male activity. Females did not get involved in cheerleading until the 1920s. When they did, they began to include gymnastics and stunts into their cheerleading routines.
Around the 1960s, almost every college and high school had a cheerleading team. In 1997, cheerleading was officially recognized as a sport.
What Makes a Good Cheerleader?
If you are thinking about trying out for the cheerleading team, you are probably wondering if you would be a good fit.
To be a good cheerleader, you have to be strong. Cheerleading is a difficult sport that involves a lot of energy. It also is beneficial if you have some previous gymnastics skills.
You also need to be confident and comfortable performing in front of a crowd. Whether you decide to do sports cheerleading or competition cheerleading, there will always be crowds of people watching you.
The best cheerleaders are disciplined, hard-working, and receptive to constructive criticism. Because cheerleading is hard, you have to commit to showing up to cheer practice and giving it your all.
There will be times when your skills aren’t perfect, so you need to handle constructive criticism.
Lastly, to be a cheerleader, you need to be a team player. If cheerleaders don’t work together as a team, an entire stunt or routine can fail.
How to Become a Cheerleader
Are you ready to become a cheerleader? If so, the first step is to find cheer teams near you. Most schools have cheer teams, so that is one of the best places to start. You also can look for cheer teams that are independent of your school.
Once you find a cheer team, talk to the coach to learn when there will be tryouts. Share your interest with the coach, and ask what you should do to prepare.
Showing the coach that you are eager to be a cheerleader will make them more likely to select you for the team when the time comes.
If you can, try to attend sporting events that the cheerleaders are at. Observe their skills to decide if cheerleading is something that you are interested in.
It also helps to start becoming friends with other people on the cheer team. If you make the team, you will feel more comfortable if you have friends.
When it comes time to try out for cheerleading, be sure to wear the appropriate clothing and show up on time. You should wear athletic clothes and shoes to tryouts. Be sure to ask any questions that you have during tryouts.
How to Get in Shape for Cheerleading
Before you try out for the cheerleading squad, you need to get into good physical shape. Being in good shape will improve your performance and decrease your chances of injury. Check out these tips to help prevent cheerleading injuries.
Some of the best ways to get in shape for cheerleading include going to a cheer camp. At cheer camp, coaches will teach you essential jumps and tumbles.
If cheer camp isn’t an option, don’t worry. You also can get in shape at home. Focus on your flexibility, endurance, and watch cheerleading tutorials online.
Are You Ready to Become a Cheerleader?
Cheerleading is a difficult but rewarding sport that requires dance, gymnastics, jump, and stunting skills. If you are thinking about trying out for your school’s cheer team, remember to work hard, keep a good attitude, and have fun!
Did you enjoy reading this article about the cheerleading sport? If so, be sure to check out our other articles in the lifestyle category!