Cheerleading IS a Sport

What is Cheerleading?

Forget the stereotypes and the clichés. Cheerleading has evolved greatly from pompom shaking, screaming girls (or guys depending on how far back in history you go). As of now there are many different types of cheerleading as well as divisions, levels, ages, genders, affiliations, etc. Susan Woods from Rochester states, ” Imagine if you were to take 12 quarterbacks and 12 wide receivers, and all 12 quarterbacks needed to release the ball from their hand at the same time and have the ball reach each receiver at the same time, and if anyone drops the ball, it’s not a touchdown. That’s what takes so many hours of practice.”  **

School Cheer

Lansing Catholic Varsity Cheer Team- Lansing, MI High School Cheer

In schools, many cheerleading squads are simply there to cheer on football and basketball teams. Also, most of these teams form their schools competitive cheerleading team. The National College Athletic Association (NCAA) does not classify cheerleading as a sport but rather as a club, so in college there is a team to cheer on the athletic event (many times coed), as well as a club team that competes.

Allstar Cheer

WILDCATS Cheer Pride Small Senior Level 3 Allstar Cheerleading Pyramid

Then there is a whole other world of cheer called Allstar cheerleading. These are teams that train at gyms that are not affiliated with any teams or schools. They practice at separate facilities and compete at various competitions around the nation. These teams are strictly for competing and have teams for all ages and skill levels. Allstar cheerleading also has many coed teams. They are governed by the USASF– the United States All Star Federation.


Recently USA Cheer has created a new sport named Stunt. Stunt is a college sport that is similar to cheerleading without all of the glitz and glam but full of athleticism in that there are routines made of stunting and tumbling as a team to be performed in competition with another team. Click to find out more on Stunt here. So what’s the argument?

Why do people question its authenticity as a sport?

This is what I struggle with. There is no argument anymore.

General agreements on what a sport is:

  1. physical activity in which propelling a mass or resisting a mass is needed
  2. Competition
  3. Governed by rules defining time, space, and how to have a winner
  4. Competition purpose is to compare relative skills of each team


#1. stunting- throwing people in the air and catching them as well as throwing your own body through the air as you flip and twist.

#2. plenty of competitions

#3. there are rules on the size of the floor, what you can and can not do, as well as what counts as more points than something else, team with the most points wins

#4.  skills are compared based on timing and technique.


The biggest argument non-supporters have is that cheering on football or basketball with sideline cheerleading is not a sport. Correct. That is simply practice for the competitions which is what the teams work for. Cheering for games using chants and props is like the MSU football team practicing their fake field goal kick play…chances are they won’t use it much, but it prepares them for the game.

Check out my Squidoo page on this topic at

There you can vote on which type of cheerleading is your favorite and why!!!


** cited from,+pushing+a+new…-a080744018

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