As parents we strive to keep our kids active. We are always looking for age appropriate activities that keep our children developing physically, socially and emotionally. We typically gravitate towards the obvious choices; swim, dance, gymnastics and soccer. All are great choices for our little ones. But I always wonder what if parents truly understood what All-Star cheerleading was would they add it to their list of obvious choices? So let me explain what this sport isn't and what it is. 

What All-Star Cheerleading IS NOT!

1) It is NOT what you see in the movies!

There are so many movies that are either focused on cheerleading or have cheerleaders as main characters. As most of them are incredibly entertaining they don't accurate represent the sport. All-Start cheerleading isn't about popularity, drama, romantic relationships and conflict. If you want to see a more accurate example of what cheerleading is all about you should check out Cheer Squad. This is a reality TV series that follows the Ontario based Great White Sharks team. Or search YouTube for Top Gun Athletics, Cheer Athletics and XXX. These are examples of some of the top teams in our industry. 

2) It is NOT what you see at your local football games!

The cheerleader that are supporting your local sports teams are sideline cheerleaders. In some cases cheerleaders will participate in both sports but they are very different. All-Star cheerleaders do not learn "cheers" and they do not use pom poms. All-Star cheerleaders perform indoors on a 9 panel mat and not on a football field or basketball court. They travel to several competition per year to represent their gym and not another sports team. Both Sidelines cheerleading and All-Star cheerleading are great sports and offer so much to their athletes. But it is important to understand that they are different sports.

3) It is NOT gymnastics!

All-Start cheerleading is also not gymnastics. However, gymnasts often transition into our sport quickly and easily because of their tumbling skills. Gymnasts do perform on a spring floor like we do. But they perform as an individual who is representing a team. We perform as a team all together at the same time. Gymnasts also perform on bars, beam and horses. Many All-Star cheerleaders have never touched those apparatuses. We balance on each other in complex stunts and pyramids. Although for the most part All-Star cheerleaders are not gymnasts we share the same physical strength that gymnast do. Our conditioning routines are very similar. It takes a tremendous amount of strength to list our teammates over our heads and toss them in the air. In addition, our physical strength is critical to execute the complex tumbling passes we are required to do.

What All-Star Cheerleading IS/DOES!

1) It IS a Team Sport!

The Wikipedia definition of a Team sport...

A team sport includes any sport which involves two or more players working together towards a shared objective. A team sport is an activity in which individuals are organized into opposing teams which compete to win. Examples are basketballvolleyballrugbywater polohandballlacrossecricketbaseball, and the various forms of football and hockey.

The All-Star Federation definition of All-Start Cheerleading is...

All Star cheerleading is a competition sport that involves boys and girls performing a 2 minute and 30 second routine composed of tumbling, stunting, pyramids, dance, and cheer segments. This routine is performed and scored against other competitive teams at various local, regional, national, and worldwide competitions.

I think its time to petition All-Star Cheerleading be added to Wikipedia's examples.

2) It DOES require incredible physical strength!

All-Star cheerleaders spend hours per week working to improve their strength, flexibility and endurance. The safety of our athletes requires it! The stronger our athletes are the safer they will be while stunting, tumbling and performing. 

3) It DOES develop import life skills!

Playing in a team helps children to develop many of the social skills they will need for life. It teaches them to cooperate, to be less selfish, and to listen to other children.

It also gives children a sense of belonging. It helps them make new friends and builds their social circle outside school.

About the author

Amy co-owner and business manager of NETF.

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