Cheerleading as a competition – how does that work? Of course for World Championships – and the various regional, national and continental championships through which the teams had to make their way to Berlin – there are precise rules and regulations. Five judges will evaluate difficulty and perfection in execution of each and every team, and they will punish any error with point deductions. It will need a superior performance to conquer one of a total of ten world titles awarded on 21 and 22 November in the Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin.
Compulsatory elements of each routine are well defined, as well as minimum and maximum duration and the permitted „Props“ like pompoms, megaphones or banners. Team size matters, so there are different competitions at championships for larger groups (12 to 16 cheerleaders), smaller ones (5) and „Doubles“ (2). Performances of the larger groups must be between 2:15 and 2:30 minutes. Smaller groups are on the mat for 60 to 65 seconds, the doubles for 55 to 60 seconds
In cheerleading as a minimum a cheer and a „sideline chant“, are compulsatory, and at least one „stunt“ and a pyramid. Cheers are chants that aim to inspire the audience of yelling certain words with the cheerleaders, „sidelines“ are shorter cheers, to be repeated several times. In „stunts“ (acrobatic elements like lifting or throwing other team members, jumps, partly onto the shoulders of another cheerleader) or human pyramids a clear difference will be visible in competition cheerleading versus the usual cheerleading performances on the sidelines of other sports.
Safety above all, of course, each team has to provide own staff to cover, especially in small groups or the doubles, all involved in those stunt elements. Especially in the competition of the larger groups music, dance, the creative combination of compulsory elements to a harmonious performance and also many tumbling are of high priority. Teams that emphasize the dance elements and jumps have their own Cheerdance categories for championships. Here it is a variety of different jumps and dance figures taht have to be performed, on the other hand cheers, chants and tumbling are not allowed here, and certainly no stunts or pyramids.
The starting order for Saturday has been determined by a random draw, starting times on Sunday in the second round will be according the reverse order of Saturday’s scores. Who performed best on the first day, on the second day will feel added pressure, due to the the longest wait for the own performance, in which concentration has to be upheld. So overall, this is how cheerleading will guarantee plenty of dramatic and exciting competition.