The term “cheerleading” is not really known in society and the idea is usually very far from reality.
Cheerleading is an officially recognized sport in the International Olympic Committee. The world association ICU (International Cheer Union) includes 110 national cheerleading associations and over 4.5 million registered athletes. Regional, national and international championships as well as open competitions in different age groups, team categories and disciplines are represented worldwide.
Internally, cheerleading is divided into two areas, the sideline performance and the competition team. Sideline performances are, most of the times, belonging to other sports teams. Responsible and recognizable by cheering on from the sidelines, with dance performances, chants and a bit of artistic performances. These teams focused on show performances. Sideline Cheerleader Teams and Cheer Dance is clearly differentiated from competitive cheerleading. Competitive Cheerleading is purely focused on championsships and competitive aspect.
Germany has approximately 25,000 cheerleaders, divided into two associations, and the trend is rising. Throughout Europe, the United Kingdom, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy and Spain are the countries with increasing membership numbers and associations. It is a performance-based sport with regional, national and international championships. Scholarships are now being given to cheerleaders, especially in the USA and at private universities.
Cheerleading is a popular and growing trend and extreme sport worldwide. A professional and independent sport with an international competitive structure.
Cheerleading demands enormous physical and psychological demands and combines the interplay of fitness, balance and body feeling. Trust, self-motivation, will and team cohesion are extremely important. An competitive cheer athlete trains 3-5 times a week on average.
Cheerleaders are athletes and for the most part competitive athletes, in every aspect. The goal of every cheerleader is to be an all-rounder, showing top performance in all areas and aspects of cheerleading.
Cheerleading is a demanding and versatile sport that includes and connects artistic areas. Internally, cheerleading is divided into the areas of stunts (lifting figures), pyramids (human pyramids), tumbling (gymnastic elements), basket-tosses (throwing elements), jumps (jumping elements) and partly dance (show dance).
Breathtaking human pyramids, sophisticated choreographies, acrobatic lifting figures, floor gymnastic elements and artistic show elements usually have no connection with cheerleading inside the society. The layman usually associates cheerleading with pretty girls, pompoms, dances and cheers to support sports teams.
“We definitely have pretty girls ;)” , but other prejudices are often removed after a short demonstration of a stunt or tumbling element. Male cheerleaders, 3-tier pyramids, double screws, flight elements at a height of 7-10m, synchronized tumbling, lifting figures, flipping and artistry are more terms that are part of cheerleading and quickly convey the actual image of a cheerleader. Prejudices are thus quickly removed and revised with astonished faces, “wow”-calls and applause.