ICU Update

Big news! In the last week, Cheer Canada received provisional National Olympic Committee recognition for cheeerleading in Canada, and the Hellenic Cheerleading Federation was granted National Olympic Committee recognition in Greece!

Why is this big news? Because the more individual national sports federations (like USA Cheer in America) who gain recognition from their National Olympic Committee means it helps the International Cheer Union on its path to full sport recognition from the International Olympic Committee.

Does this mean cheer will be in the Olympics soon? At the moment, no. The main push for the ICU to be given full sports recognition is so we are allowed to govern our sport, and not be governed by another organization, like gymnastics or dance. The ICU is working hard to gain recognition so we can all continue to build, support and grow the way we want to, without someone else imposing their rules on us. Is it perfect? Not yet! But as one of the fastest growing sports in the world, the ICU is truly supporting the grassroots growth of cheer internationally.

It’s Summer Bonding Time!

Try these 8 ideas to get your team bonding going this summer! And don’t forget to use sunscreen 😉

Click Summer Team Bonding to get a printable pdf!

Happy Olympic Day!

June 23rd is the day we celebrate the Olympic ideals of move, learn and discover. Globally, National Olympic Committees are hosting events for sports, culture, and education which include everybody, regardless of age, gender, social background or sporting ability. It’s all about getting out, having fun and participating in the joy of movement!

For cheerleading, we are a provisionally recognized Olympic sport—one step away from full recognition! With full recognition, we will be able to fully govern our sport through the International Cheerleading Union worldwide, meaning other competing sports federations will no longer have any stake in our sport.

So celebrate all this week using the social hashtags #OlympicDay #cheerleading #ICUCheer and #YourCheerFederation !!

Cheer DC Performs at DC Pride!

One of the things we love about cheerleading is that the unity and family a team provides goes far beyond the sport. Cheer DC is an organization in the capital that provides GLBT athletes and their straight allies who were former cheerleaders, gymnasts, dancers, acrobats, etc. ages 21 and up with an outlet to continue active participation in a team sport and utilize athletic skills that may otherwise go unused.

Their aim is:

• To provide an open and affirming environment for these athletes to foster their performance talents and athletic abilities, develop lasting friendships, and deliver support to local GLBT sports teams, events, and charitable activities;

• To volunteer for charitable organizations dedicated to helping the GLBT community in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area;

• To promote diversity, understanding, teamwork, and giving back to the GLBT community of Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and beyond.

 

Laney Madsen, Crossover Queen

Laney Madsen, everyone’s favorite cheerleader turned elite gymnast, not only won Worlds with Cali Rangers this year, but also made her debut in the international elite gymnastics scene representing Bulgaria at the Artistic Gymnastics European Championships.

Read more about Laney at Gymnovosti!

Love Calls Back

It’s Pride Month, and it’s a time to celebrate and show our love and appreciation to our LGBTQI friends and family. The cheer community has been a safe-haven for a long time for those who don’t fit into heteronormative sexualities or cis-gendered identification. But just because you may feel safe and accepted in one space, it doesn’t negate the feelings of loss and harm done when your family doesn’t accept you. This video from Verizon and PFLAG has us in all the feels today.

Find support for LGBTQ families at pflag.org

NCATA Beats Out Stunt for Consideration for NCAA Emerging Sport Recognition

Acro and Tumbling started around the same time as Stunt, with both trying to be an answer to the Title IX requirements that traditional gameday cheerleading didn’t address. While gameday cheerleaders are undoubtedly athletic, especially those at competitive NCA and UCA schools, the structure of traditional cheer programs didn’t meet the requirements to be accepted as a sport—and the coed component made them ineligible to satisfy Title IX. So enter Stunt and the National Collegiate Acro and Tumbling Association (NCATA), both vying to be the first to be recognized and both with strong financial backing.

Stunt began in 2011, funded by Varsity Brands. It attracted gameday cheerleaders, gymnasts, all-star cheerleaders and acro athletes with its concentration on athletic skills and presentation. Teams compete side-by-side on the same mat with the same skills simultaneously, being judged on their technique and execution through stunts, jumps and tumbling, pyramids and tosses, and finally a team performance. USA Cheer (the national governing body for all forms of cheerleading in the US) develops and distributes the plays to participating colleges.

NCATA attracts athletes with a similar background and is backed by USA Gymnastics (the national governing body for all forms of gymnastics, tumbling, trampolining, and acrobatics). Working with USA Gymnastics professionals, acrobatics and tumbling created a compulsory program with skills that include progressions. NCATA meets have 6 scoring elements that include stunts, pyramids, tosses, and tumbling (read more here). Unlike Stunt, athletes committed to Acro and Tumbling do not participate in sideline cheer and are not eligible to compete at NCA or UCA college national competitions; their only focus is on acro and tumbling.

Over the last few years, Stunt and NCATA have been in a battle for recognition as an emerging sport and this week, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics finally decided to recommend advancing NCATA. In their statement, the CWA cited acro and tumbling athletes being fully integrated within athletics departments, the potential growth of the sport, the enjoyment of participating athletes and meeting all the objective criteria for emerging sport consideration as reasons for supporting its advancement.

While Stunt will likely continue at various colleges and high schools around the country as a rigorous and challenging sport for its participants, we would like to congratulate the NCATA for their hard work in developing a strong, athletic and commanding sport for cheerleaders to continue through college.

For more info, see here.

Trust Your Choice

Waiting for team placements and having anxiety? It’s ok! It’s perfectly normal. Even if know which team you’re going to make, there’s always a little bit of worry in the back of your mind. Here are three things to think about while you wait for that email or phone call:

Trust Your Choice

If you’re trying out at a new gym or staying at your home gym, trust your choice. You made it for a reason, whether that’s because you wanted new experiences or you are ready to be a leader. The benefits of a new gym mean that you are being judged on solely on the tryout skills you showed in tumbling and/or stunt group workouts. The downside is they don’t know how you work on a team, whether you show leadership skills, or how well you handle the pressure. If you’re staying at your home gym, you have all the benefits of the coaches knowing you and how you developed over the last year! It might also mean they place you in a position that they think is best for the gym as a whole but might not feel right for you. Either way, when you find out your placement, remember why you chose that gym and trust the choice you made before the emotions kicked in. Continue Reading

Your Daughter Won’t Fly Forever

This post by Jason Larkins is a MUST READ for all cheer parents and athletes.

“My first year of coaching all-star cheerleading, on the first day of practice, we walked into our team of 20 girls ready to get things started. It was your typical first day of practice; we started off with introductions, eventually got into a little tumbling, and finally, it was time to stunt. Again, however, being our first day, we really didn’t know any of the athletes on the team; we didn’t know who the flyers were, who based, or anyone’s strengths, or weaknesses.

So we did the classic coach move, “Alright ladies, line up shortest to tallest.” That’s when we found out that most of our girls were the same height. Ok, plan b. “If you’re a flyer, step forward.” That’s when we found out that most of our girls were flyers as well. Hmmm… And this is not an exaggeration, every athlete who stepped forward as a flyer, who eventually didn’t fly on that team, resulted in a parent meeting, literally. Every. Single. One. And it’s been happening ever since, at every gym across America.”

Read more HERE.

 

 

What’s a level 7, anyway?

With every new season, the USASF seems to be bringing new changes. Last year was the introduction of the Non-Tumbling division and Senior Open allowing US teams to compete in what was known as the “international open” age division but without the three teams per country rule going into finals at worlds. Both were met with mixed reviews, and while Non-Tumbling divisions are growing hugely for the 2019-2020 season, we still miss seeing Wildcats vs Nfinity vs OO5 vs Gymtyme vs Anacondas fighting through US Trials.

For this upcoming season, the biggest change the USASF has made is to move Restricted 5 to 5, level 5 renamed to level 6, and level 6 up to 7. With it comes a few rules changes as well, introducing free-flipping inversion skills like rewinds into the level 6 division. Why the change? We can only imagine it’s to smooth out progressions and work in partnership with the IASF, USASF’s international counterpart. It makes sense to shift the divisions up to allow for clarity (hopefully many more gyms will use level 5 as a building level to a worlds level 6 team) and to allow certain skills progressions that make the transition through the levels easier for athletes. If it was up to us, we’d suggest levelling skills at 7 to allow flipping baskets and step up pyramids, and introduce a level 8 with flipping and twisting baskets, with flipping and twisting pyramids.

Worlds will still only be level 6 and 7 senior, senior open, and international open aged teams, with The Summit being the ultimate end of season championship for level 5.

We do salute the USASF in their aim to grow, progress and level our sport appropriately for all ages and athlete skill levels, although it might take us some time to get used to the newly named levels!