The competitive high school cheer programs at many schools have long and established histories. These developmental and competitive programs often consist of of talented, hardworking, and devoted cheerleaders who have often devoted years to their sport. They are exceptional well conditioned athletes who practice several hours a week. These groups are involved in both school spirit and competition at the national level. The schools with the most distinguished competition records list wins at National High School Cheerleading Championships across the country, as well as in state championships.
In addition to cheering, these squads regularly volunteer at community service activities such as Cystic Fibrosis Walks, City Missions and Soup Kitchens, and many other community events. And while the cheering that goes on along the sidelines of football fields and at the end of basketball courts may be what many people think of, commitment to these teams begins many years before girls reach the high school ranks.
In fact, while cheerleading of the past may have been an opportunity to learn skills, today’s competitive high school cheerleaders will only make their squads if they already have a thorough set of skills before they ever try out. To get an understanding of the level of competition facing today’s high school cheerleaders, consider the following facts:
- 12% of cheerleaders are also dancers.
- 62% of cheerleaders are involved in a second sport.
- Most cheerleaders practice an average of eight hours a week.
- 83% of high school cheerleaders maintain at least a “B” average.
- More than 4 million Americans participate in cheer, 4000,000 of them are high school cheerleaders.
- Competitive cheer teams enter an average of six to seven competitions a year.
While many people may think of nothing more than plastic megaphones, and metallic cheer poms when they consider the group of spirit leaders at a game, this sport involves more. While it is true that cheerleading does involve everything from custom pom poms to color coordinated plastic megaphones, it also includes hours of practice learning complicated dance steps and leaps with the advice of trained coaches. In addition to supporting high school teams and athletes, participating in youth pom poms also increases the chance of success in school.