Rules are numerous in cheerleading competition |

Rules are numerous in cheerleading competition

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Despite the increased participation statewide, competitive cheerleading remains misunderstood.Competitive cheerleading, unlike games, involves more athleticism, timing and skills than most cheer squads display on the sidelines.To participate in an event, according to National Federation of State High School Association rules, each student must be officially enrolled and a member on a high school’s current squad prior to a sanctioned competition.Additional rules, set by the NFHSA, in concordance with major cheerleading competition organizations, and the Colorado High School Activities Association must be adhered to and are scored on as part of a squad’s presentation.Each team has a time limit of two minutes and thirty seconds to perform its routine. Inside that period, a routine normally includes a series of jumps, dances, formation changes, partner stunts, along with a cheer portion.Teams competing at UCA events, as Glenwood Springs did last weekend, are judged in three sections. Sections include cheer (crowd leading), dance/music (fundamentals) and overall presentation.Each component is broken down in sub-sections. A maximum of 100 points can be obtained. Penalties are invoked for exceeding routine time limits, sportsmanship, illegal stunts, tumbling and uniform violations. Judging is done by a panel of three or more certified professionals involved in the industry and an additional judge whose job is to look for penalties.Musical portions of a routine can not exceed more than 90 seconds. A squad’s music is also regulated. The UCA allows a cheer squad to use as many portions of a song as they wish. All routine music must be licensed by either ASCAP or BMI, or both to be used. Additionally, music must be suitable to accepted family values, along with FCC regulations.More recently, dance movements displayed in a cheer routine have been scrutinized. If a routine displays inappropriate and/or oververtly sensual dance gyrations by a team member or members the entire squad will be disqualified and the routine scores will be thrown out.Safety and the prevention of injury is also a major concern.To that effect, high school cheer squads are limited to a maximum of two and a-half high person limit when a partner stunt is performed. To lessen the chance of an injury occurring, most partner stunts require at least one “spotter.”The duty of a spotter is to act as a brace for the person on top of the stunt – called the “flyer”.Additionally, all major competition sponsors also provide trained spotters, who remain on the performance area throughout a squad’s routine. Those spotters cannot not make contact with a performing squad. They only come into play if, and when a partner stunt falls during a routine. The surface cheerleaders perform on at competitions also differs from game conditions.With rare exceptions, the majority of competitions are held in large high school or college gyms. Most competitions in Colorado take place in arenas. Instead of hard work floors, a carpeted mat consisting of 1 5/8 inches of foam rubber is placed over the surface. Currently, the trend is moving away from using only a conventional cheer mat to a spring floor with the cheer mats placed above the floor to create a safer environment.Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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