Tips for Competitions - The Cheer October 4, 2013
Many of you have started preparations to compete 2014 National High School Cheerleading Championship. As we move into the 2013 – 2014 competition season, I thought I'd give you some helpful hints to transition those spirit raising cheers and sidelines to the competition mat. Remember, your number one focus should be to lead the crowd and execute a solid performance.
UCA's philosophy is something we have taught to our staff and athletes from tryouts, to the field and to the competition mat. Our champions are not only those that demonstrate athleticism, they are teams that perform a crowd leading, spirit raising, entertaining, and well executed routine.
Coaches, it is your responsibility to familiarize both yourself and your athletes with the score sheet. A few things to do as you prepare your team for this competitive journey are:
- Determine your team strengths and weaknesses, (ie. tumbling vs. building). Remember, your goal is to maximize your score sheet.
- Choreograph your routine based on skills you already have.
- Always use proper progression, this will give you a chance to build confidence and increase difficulty gradually throughout your competitive season and still execute a clean routine!
UCA utilizes two scoring panels at every event. This allows teams to be evaluated in both the cheer and music portion of their routines separately. The cheer score sheet is worth a total of 35 points and will be combined with the remaining 65 points allotted for the music score sheet.
Below is some insight to what judges are looking for when evaluating each competition cheer. As you finalize those routines, step back and look at your cheer from a judge's point of view. Look at the score sheet and this outline as a questioner. Ask yourself, are we meeting the needs of the score sheet? If you have any questions, please don't hesitate contact myself or your local UCA State Director.
We look forward to seeing you this competition season!
Cheers and good luck,
Carlos Munoz, Jr.
National Director, UCA/UDA Competitions
The top portion of the score sheet is the Crowd Leading score and is worth a total of 20 points.
What is Crowd Effective Material?
Crowd Leading – 20 Points Total
Crowd Effective Material – 10 Points
- Cheers should be easy to follow and pick up.
- Try to keep a moderate pace and no abrupt transitions.
- Spread out and YELL loud!
- Cheers should also encourage crowd participation. Consider using Pep Rally or Game Day material that includes your Mascot, School Colors, or Letters. Spread out your formations to cover the crowd, just like would at a game or pep rally!
- Remember: Cheers are NOT crowd effective if your focus is showcasing skills, and your team is no longer leading the crowd. Your goal is to engage, involve and lead the crowd from beginning to end.
Use of Signs, Or Poms, or Megaphones – 5 Points
- The use of your props should not be use as a decoration or gimmick. Signs, should be easy to read and used effectively. Poms should be used to help direct the crowd to yell specific colors or responses. Megaphones, should be used to project voices.
- Remember: Teams do not need to utilize all three props! Nor, will they necessarily receive full credit for having them all on the floor. Use your props so they are effective when leading the crowd and you will be rewarded!
Use of Motions to Lead the Crowd – 5 Points
- Use motions to help lead the crowd. This will help control the pace and give your crowd direction of when to yell. Motions should be used in the stunts and pyramids if your tops are not holding signs.
- Reminder – It is better to have participants lead the crowd then front spot stunts.
What type of incorporations should I use in my cheer?
Incorporations – 10 Points Total
Proper Use of Skills to Effectively Lead the Crowd – 5 Points
- Stunts are used to make cheerleaders visible, so the crowd can see and follow you.
- Consider using, Elevators, Extensions, Liberties, Stags and Hitches. Cheerleaders should always face the crowd, it helps to keep them engaged.
- The use of Stretches, Arabesque, and complicated transitions are NOT prohibited, however these skills should be used wisely. If you lose the overall crowd engagement, you could ultimately hurt your incorporation score.
- Tumbling/Jumps Think S – S – S - Single Synchronized Skills Performing single skills will give you a chance to perform on crowd responses. For example, single jump, or standing tumbling skill. Remember: Running tumbling and jump combos make it difficult to lead the crowd.
Execution of Incorporations – 5 Points
- Be sure your skills are 100% performance ready. The execution of your props and skills should be well organized and not hinder crowd leading.
What are judges looking for when scoring the Overall cheer?
Overall – 5 points Total
Cheer Impression - 5pts
- The overall cheer impression score is based on the overall flow from beginning to end, this includes transitions throughout. Judges will evaluate the energy level and crowd leading skills from the team. Please note: This is the only section the cheer panel will award difficulty points of skills incorporations in the cheer.