The competetive cheer squad poses outside of ESPN’s Wide World of Sports athletic complex after placing 7th in
In school, sideline cheerleaders are known for bringing hype to the games and cheering on the crowd. What people don’t see is the thrill behind competition.
Sideline cheer influences the school spirit throughout the game, the girls keep the crowd involved and alive. It lasts from summer practices to the last football game of the year.
While the girls represent school spirit and pride, there are also some expectations. The sideline girls have strict rules they must follow while being on the team, such as not being allowed to wear the uniform you wear to cheer in to school and having to have your bow in either half up-half down or in a ponytail. The rules are stricter because if the girls were to do anything against policy in uniform, it looks bad for the program.
“I would say the stress level of competition because I get really nervous for competitions here. I feel like there’s more writing on it but sideline is more of a fun thing I can do with my team,” sophomore Chapel Herron said. For many cheerleaders sideline is more of something girls just do for fun. Its more of something they do because they enjoy, not to be competitive.
Another obvious difference is the uniform. Since sideline cheer is run by schools, the uniforms are usually much more conservative. The competition uniforms for teams like all-star are usually much more revealing and glammed up.
In competitive cheerleading, there is more of a focus on trust and team building, “Competition is more structured than sideline and a lot more intense. For comp it’s not toxic but it feels like there’s no room for air,” says 11th grader Ryland Pierotti. The stress level for competition is much higher than when cheering on the sideline.
As we know, sideline cheer is not a competition, but competitive cheer is. When cheering competitively, each performance is scored. The girls are scored out of 100, split into three sections. These sections are building skills, tumbling skills, and overall routine. The scoring is 60% technique, creativity and overall composition is 26.67%, and building and tumbling difficulty is 13.33% of the score.
There are also deductions when it comes to scoring. Some things that could deduct from the score are athlete falls and building falls. Athlete falls occur from tumbling or jumps and take away 0.25 points. Building falls subtract 0.75 point and Major Building Falls, which is a top girl or athlete hitting the floor from a stunt, pyramid or toss, takes away 1.25 points.
When performing for competitions, each routine lasts about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. There are three rounds of competitions that the girls have to perform, each one being scored.
“We’re here to enhance the football game and it’s less of a performance for us,” junior Madi Chapkis said.
Another difference is that sideline cheer is a focal point for football games while comp is an entire performance. “In competition it’s all eyes on you while for sidelines, you’re literally on the sidelines,” Chapkis said.
Despite their differences, both competitive and sideline cheer offer unique challenges that make them both impressive. Whether cheerleaders are encouraging athletes of a different sport, or competing against other cheerleaders, they always add some electricity to the atmosphere.