How Does Scoring Work In Cheerleading?

How Does Scoring Work In Cheerleading

Athletes who participate in cheerleading work in teams to create a cheer routine that yields the best score compared to all other teams. Cheerleading involves cooperation, teamwork, diligence, stamina, dancing abilities, enthusiasm, and hard work. Scoring is different between the two types of divisions: Cheerleading and Performance Cheer.

Cheerleading Divisions Scoring

The first type of scoring that we will explain is the scoring for Cheerleading Divisions.

Cheerleading Routine Categories

Routines that fall under the Cheerleading Divisions category include: 

  • Special Olympics and Special Abilities Unified Intermediate
  • Special Olympics and Special Abilities Traditional Intermediate
  • Adaptive Abilities Unified Median
  • Adaptive Abilities Unified All-Girl Advanced
  • Adaptive Abilities Unified Coed Advanced
  • All-Girl Median
  • All-Girl Advanced
  • All-Girl Elite
  • All-Girl Premier
  • Coed Median
  • Coed Advanced
  • Coed Elite
  • Coed Premier

Scoring

Judges score each of the teams belonging to the above categories based on seven aspects of their performance, making up a 100-point scoring system.

Judgment CriteriaDescriptionMaximum Possible Points
Cheer CriteriaAbility to lead the crowd and get them pumped up.10
Partner StuntsHow well a team executes their stunts: skill, difficulty, synchronization, variety.25
PyramidsDifficulty, execution, timing, creativity, and how well teams deal with transitions.25
Basket TossesSkill, height, synchronization, difficulty, variety.15
TumblingExecution, technique, difficulty, synchronization.10
Flow of RoutineHow well the routine meshes: flow, pace, timing, transitions.5
Overall Presentation, Crowd Appeal, DancePresentation, showmanship, and how aesthetically pleasing a routine is.10

Judges and Total Scores

Judges for Cheerleading Divisions Events are chosen by the International Cheer Union. Each judge rates a team according to the 100-point rubric. The highest and lowest scores (the judges give each team an individual score) for each team will be dropped, and the remaining scores are used to give the teams a total score.

The team with the highest total score receives first place. In the event of a tie, the highest and lowest scores are added back into each team’s score to determine a winner. If both teams remain tied, the judges will use their ranking points to declare a winner.

In addition to the score sheets, judges rank each team with respect to the others. Each judge has the responsibility to keep track of the score sheets and rankings for the teams. They have full authority over the scores and rankings they give. Scores and rankings will only be given to coaches or captains at the end of the competition. At the end of a round, teams receive their scoring sheets and their total score, along with the top score of their group. Additionally, they receive a ranking sheet detailing their position with respect to the other teams.

The judges' decisions are final. The International Cheer Union reserves the right to decide whether a semi-final or final match must be played involving the top teams. In case of a final, the top ten teams of the semi-final advance. A team that breaks any of the rules or regulations will receive a five-point penalty per judge.

Performance Cheer Divisions Scoring

Next, we will explain the scoring for Performance Cheer Divisions.

Performance Cheer Routine Categories

Routines that fall under the Performance Cheer Divisions include 

  • Special Olympics and Special Abilities (Unified and Traditional) Pom
  • Special Olympics and Special Abilities (Unified and Traditional) Hip-Hop
  • Adaptive Abilities Unified Pom
  • Adaptive Abilities Unified Hip-Hop
  • Pom
  • Hip-Hop
  • Jazz
  • Doubles

Scoring

Judges score each of the teams belonging to the above categories based on four aspects of their performance, making up a 100-point scoring system. This system is structured as follows:

Technical Execution (30 points):

  • Category Style Execution: This is out of ten points and is based on the quality of execution in the type of performance. For pom, it may be based on precision and control. For hip-hop, it may be based on how well the team embodied hip-hop style.
  • Movement Technique Execution: Scored out of ten points, this is based on the team’s movement strength, intensity, placement, control, presence, and commitment.
  • Skill Technique Execution: This is out of ten points and is based on how well a team demonstrates body control, dance, and performance skills.

Group Execution (30 points):

  • Synchronization/Timing With Music: Scored out of ten points, this measures how well a team is in sync with each other and the music.
  • Uniformity of Movement: How well teammates exhibit similar movements at the same time; scored out of ten points.
  • Spacing: How well a team spaces themselves to be aesthetically pleasing; scored out of ten points.

Choreography (30 points):

  • Musicality: This category is scored out of ten points and determined by how well a team’s movements flow with the music.
  • Routine Staging/Visual Effects: This category is scored out of ten points based on a team’s variety of formations and effectiveness on transitions.
  • Complexity of Movement: This is a score out of ten points determined by how difficult a team’s movements and dances are.

Overall Effect (10 points):

  • Communication/Projection/Audience Appeal/Appropriateness: The performance must be age-appropriate. This score is given out of ten points according to how dynamic the performance was and how the team performed overall.

Judges and Total Scores

All of the same rules apply for judges and total scoring for the Performance Cheer Divisions as they do for the Cheerleading Divisions.

FAQ

How do you score points in cheerleading?

Teams score points in cheerleading by creating dynamic routines that are in sync, aesthetically pleasing, difficult, skillful, and flow well with music. Judges score performances out of 100 points based on multiple categories, which may vary depending on the type of competition and the level of skill involved. Typically, scoring is done on a 100-point scale, with five judges giving out a score and the highest and lowest scores for each team being dropped before scores are totaled to determine the overall winner.