Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Competitive Cheerleading

John Marine | 3/24/2015 09:16:00 PM | | | |
Cheerleading in itself is positive and engaging, but what happens when you compete to be the best cheer team? You get competitive cheerleading- one of the fastest-growing sports. Or IS it a sport? This blog post showcases the realm of competitive cheerleading and why it has become such a popular sport. I'll also discuss if indeed we should look at this as a sport. Time to go to work again.

--- Competitive Cheerleading ---

Competitive cheerleading is what this blog post is all about. Here is a sample image to set the mood:

competitive cheerleading
^ from: nca.varsity.com - Stand up and cheer! These cheerleaders have the spirit and are ready to put on a show hopefully better than any other cheer team they are contending with.

Competitive cheerleading is all about more than just psyching up the crowd. You have to be able to wow the crowd with exciting moves, great synergy, and crowd involvement. One false move could destroy an entire performance. You certainly don't want that when you've practiced for so long to come up with a solid performance. In competitive cheerleading, the focus is on putting together quality routines. You don't just focus on one specific part of the dance routine- you are looking at everyone trying to put together the most complete package through the duration of the performance. Sure, there are individual sections and portions of cheerleading routines that are part of the whole performance, but the key is on trying to put everything together as best as possible with a few drop off points as possible. All of these aspects go into the final score judges will determine in grading an entire performance.

Most of these competitive cheerleading competitions mostly involve cheerleading companies and teams. There are competitions for various cheerleading teams ranging from grade school, colleges and universities, cheerleading companies, and even various international teams. Some of the famous teams here in America include Top Gun All-Stars, Stingray Allstars, and Spirit of Texas, Cheer Extreme, Shooting Stars among others. A few of these cheer programs have individual categories and separate teams. Most of these competitions take place usually around Spring time and into the Summer. Rather than just basic cheerleading, there are competitive cheerleading competitions involving different competitions, such as hip-hop dancing for example. Sanctioning these competitions are groups such as the UCA (Universal Cheerleaders Association) and the NCA (National Cheerleading Association).

Judges who watch these routines are looking for exciting moves and involvement with the crowd. It pays if your team challenges some difficult routines and routines with a substantial degree of difficulty. You are going to make mistakes- just don't regularly make mistakes. Put it all together with proficiency, and your team will win top honors in these cheerleading competitions.

Competitive Cheerleading Samples.

Let me provide you videos now. This will give you an idea of certain dance routines and what makes these competitive cheerleading competitions popular. Take a look at these videos for some perspective (thank all the YouTube channels that allowed for their videos to be embedded):

Here is one of the popular cheer teams I mentioned previously:

^ "Top Gun All-Stars Large Coed NCA 2014 National Champs"

Here is a college competition:

^ "2015 University Of Alabama ALL-GIRL Winning Performance National Cheerleading Championship"

This is a hip-hop dance routine by Louisiana State University (LSU, of course):

^ "UDA College Dance Team National Championship Hip Hop 2014 LSU Tiger Girls"

This video features some international competition. Here is Japan putting on a show on the dance stage:

^ "Japan Cheer ALL FEMALE Cheerleading World Championships WC 2009"

Finally, I am including this video only to demonstrate "degree of difficulty." The cheer team in this one stumbles on a lot of the routines, but the degree of difficulty in putting everything together is insane. This makes you appreciate just how difficult it is to put these moves together and make a solid performance. Check it out:

^ "Japan Team 1 - 2011 Cheerleading (best one)"

So now you have some perspective on what all competitive cheerleading is all about.

--- Competitive Cheerleading: The "Bring it On" Influence ---

Many movie buffs will likely credit the aspect of competitive cheerleading to the "Bring it On" movie series. Here is a trailer of the first "Bring it On" movie from back in 2000. This video is offered to give you an idea of "Bring it On" and its influence on competitive cheerleading:

^ "Bring It On Official Trailer #1 - Holmes Osborne Movie (2000) HD"

Now for some of the finer points of the sport... or IS it one? Next section awaits!

--- Competitive Cheerleading: Sport? ---

Some people love to question whether certain athletic feats or competitions are sports, especially those that don't seem like proper sports. I called competitive cheerleading as a sport. Does that mean it really is one? To me, I think competitive cheerleading IS a sport. You would need to have your head examined if you feel that anyone can compete in competitive cheerleading. Even out-of-shape, overweight people like myself probably wouldn't be able to complete even one routine even if I was properly trained on doing so. You certainly need to be fit and athletic to be able to pull off the various moves and routines executed by these cheerleaders.

Another aspect of sports is the ability to teach the sport to others and expand the sport. That is certainly true with competitive cheerleading. The example I can hark to is in certain nations worldwide learning and adopting the style of such dance routines among cheer teams. In international competitive cheerleading competitions, some nations are fairly new or not as experienced in competitive cheerleading, such as Finland or Sweden. You have different cheer teams ranging in age range from children to adolescents.

On the merits of these two aspects, competitive cheerleading is very much a sport. Or look at it this way- at least competitive cheerleading is more of a sport than, say... poker, which sports networks show on TV as if it were a proper sport.

--- Competitive Cheerleading: Final Thoughts ---

As one of the most popular and fastest-growing sports, competitive cheerleading is fun to watch and is often times quite exciting. Seeing such choreographed moves and routines executed fluidly is something to savor and enjoy. The competitive aspect of cheerleading lends itself to being worth watching. That drive to be better and push harder makes competitive cheerleading as moving as any more proper sport. And most of all, I credit competitive cheerleading as being positive. Nothing is as uplifting and positive as cheerleading. It is great fun if you ask me.

Cross-Promotion/Other Reading.

Here is some other material of mine that may interest you on this topic:

"Cheerleading" (John's Blog Space)
^ Here is my umbrella post regarding all things cheerleading.

"Cheerleader Chic" (StyleSpace by JBM)
This is a fashion-based post about cheerleading fashion.

Most of the stuff I tried to explain have been complete.

--- Competitive Cheerleading: Resources ---

The resources I'll provide are mostly of cheer companies that I mentioned earlier. Take a look at these companies:

Top Gun All-Stars
Stingray All-Stars
Cheer Extreme
Cheer Athletics
Georgia Allstars
Spirit of Texas
Fierce All Stars
World Cup Allstar Cheerleading

Here are various other resources for cheerleading fans:
UCA (Universal Cheerleaders Association)
NCA (National Cheerleading Association)
USASF (United States All-Star Federation)

Inside Cheerleading Magazine

I may add more resources in case this post gets popular or if anyone can suggest extra material relevant to this topic.

That is all for this post. If you want to discuss this topic, here is my discussion for you all:

What are your thoughts on competitive cheerleading? Do you consider it a sport? What do you like/dislike about competitive cheerleading?

I had to try to mix things up after mostly doing game reviews. Remember- this blog (and my others) are all about anything and everything. Random topics at random times. That's the beauty of this blog since I started opening this blog to many more topics than I used to only focus on. Anyhow, I'm hopeful you enjoyed your time here. If you did, please subscribe and follow if you haven't done so already. Get social with me on social media to share your love of my work further. That's all from here. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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