Today's cheerleading stunts are more spectacular than ever, but unfortunately, riskier. To avoid accidents, the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators (AACCA) have established a few rules to meet the challenges faced by modern college and high school cheerleaders, and lessen the chances of them getting hurt while performing stunts.
The following are general rules used in high school and college cheerleading programs around the country. Specific rules are divided into categories, including rules for each stunt or type of move, as well as restrictions for younger cheerleaders. Rules for specific stunts and skills include partner stunts, pyramids, inversions, tosses, tumbling and jumps, and certain kind of surfaces. Although these rules serve to guide school cheerleading teams around the country, schools may modify them to meet their unique needs. Cheerleading squads may also have their own rules for practice, uniforms, and attitudes. A complete list of the AACCA Rules can be viewed here.
- Rules are in effect for all practices, games, competitions, and performances
- Cheerleading squads must be placed under the direction of qualified coaches
- All practice sessions should be supervised and held in an appropriate location
- Coaches should limit a squads' activities to what is appropriate for its level of ability
- Cheerleaders should not perform activities until safely perfected/demonstrated
- Cheerleaders must receive proper training before attempting any form of cheer gymnastics
- Squads should be professionally trained in spotting
- Cheer squads should adopt comprehensive conditioning and strength-building programs
- Cheerleaders should perform warm-up routines before all cheerleading activities
- Before performing any skill, the immediate environment should be considered
- Technical skills should not be performed on hard, wet, uneven, or obstructed surfaces
- Cheerleaders should be trained progressively using spotters until a skill has been mastered
- No jewelry except for religious or medical bracelets are allowed provided they are taped to the body
- Hard or rough supports, braces and air casts must be covered. Wearers of certain types of casts may not perform stunts and certain other activities
- Members must wear athletic shoes; no gymnastics slippers
- Hazardous props must be tossed or placed gently
- Mini-trampolines, springboards, and other height-increasing equipment are prohibited in competitions and performances. May be used in training under the care of qualified coaches
The American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators was founded in 1987 in order to meet the growing safety needs of cheerleading. The organization works in partnership with high school and college athletic programs to continually improve cheer safety through its certification program, workshops, and comprehensive safety rules.