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Say goodbye to old clichés: cheerleading is a well-rounded sport! Looking for something different that will push your limits and increase your self-confidence? This spectacular and athletic sport is just the thing!
In 1980, a difference began to form between "all star" cheerleaders (competitive level) and "high school" cheerleading (school sport entertainment).
A journalist once tried to describe the entertainment he saw at an American football match, and called the cheerleaders "pompom girls".
The term is not widely used today in English, with most people using the word cheerleader.
Although cheerleading is much more popular in the United States, it has started to gain a foothold in France. Clubs are getting better every year, and France has participated in the World Championships since 2011.
There are several levels and age groups in competitive cheerleading.
These include U11 (9-11 years), juniors (12-16 years) and seniors (over 17 years).
Within these age groups, there are levels 1, 2, 3 and elite. The elite level is the highest category in France. The squads at this level can try to qualify for the world championships. In other countries, such as the US, there are up to six levels of squads.
During competitions, squads perform 3-minute routines with required skills:
Stunts performed as a group.
Pyramids are series of stunts requiring connections between the flyers (those who are lifted in the air during stunts).
Tumbling is the gymnastics portion. The athletes must do a series of moves on the floor depending on their level.
The gymnastics techniques are specific to the sport.
There is also a choreographed portion.
The entire routine is judged according to a very detailed scoring standard.
Cheerleading can be done by anyone at any age or level. However, it is important to be physically fit when doing this sport. Excellent flexibility is a plus.
Whether you're a girl or a guy, give cheerleading a try!
During competitions, you have to wear a uniform! It is very important for this sport, and squads put a lot of effort into their uniforms.
When practising, there is no required outfit. But it is best to wear slim fitting garments that won't get in the way when doing lifts and jumps.
Most important are your trainers. They need to be designed for indoor use, provide good support, and most of all be flexible for the bases who have to lift the flyers.
Let go of those old clichés - now you know that cheerleading is a real sport! Do you practise an unusual sport?