Cheerleading is no longer just about standing on the sidelines cheering on a team. Many cheerleaders also compete against other squads, vying for top honors, trophies and esteem. Competitive cheerleading mixes cheers, dances, jumps, tumbling and stunting into an exciting routine designed to impress the judges with a team's skill and originality. You can hire a choreographer to make your competition routine, but creating it yourself ensures a unique routine that has the potential to make your squad memorable.
Know the rules. Understand the current American Association of Cheer Coaches and Administrators School Cheerleading Rules. Familiarize yourself with the score sheet for each competition you plan to attend. Each competition has its own specifications. Incorporate all required elements when creating your routine.
Evaluate your team, noting your strengths and weaknesses. Capitalize on your strengths and camouflage your weaknesses. For example, if your team is made up of strong dancers, showcase their skills with a difficult and impressive dance section.
Choose your music wisely. Avoid over-popular or trendy choices. You do not want to have the same music as every other squad there. Use an engaging beat without too many sound effects. Too much chaos in your music can be distracting.
Make a list of specific elements you want to include in your routine. List the exact stunts, jumps and tumbling you want to include. Base your list upon skills your squad has mastered, including only a few elements they are still working to achieve.
Map out all of the eight counts in the music section of your routine on lined paper. In pen, list the counts in the left margin of the paper. Note any special effects on the counts they cover. Also write down the words from the cheer that will be in your routine.
Plug elements into your routine map where they belong. It helps to listen to your music as you decide where to place each item. Write the skills you will use in pencil, as this plan will likely change.
Plan your transitions into the routine map. The shorter the transition time, the better. Do not use more than eight counts to travel to a new formation.
- "Cheer Coach and Advisor Magazine"; Choreography Corner -- Essentials to Choreographing a Winning Competition Routine; Ryan Maag; July 1, 2005
- Ms. Pineapple's Cheer Page; Advice from a Competition Judge; Debbie Bracewell
- Varsity: Competitive Cheerleading -- Tips from the Judges -- Learn What Goes Through a Judge's Head
- American Association of Cheer Coaches and Administrators: 2011-12 School Cheerleading Rules