List of Cheerleading Skills

List of Cheerleading Skills

Cheerleading is a sport that involves a lot of skills that many often overlook. The sheer strength and physical fitness that is called for in the sport are considerable, and these skills must be applied in the atmosphere of a coordinated team. Cheerleading skills are made up of several different physical and mental attributes that can be developed and perfected with practice. Listed below are the top skills needed in cheerleading.

Cheerleading Skills

  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Dexterity
  • Endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Rhythm
  • Strength
  • Tumbling

Balance

Cheerleading calls for balance in all positions, from high kicks to complicated pyramid formations. This balance is vital for the team’s overall success and safety, as even the smallest error could result in serious injury. Maintaining balance for long periods of time involves intense focus and coordination and is physically taxing on the body. 

Coordination

As a team sport, cheerleading requires a great deal of coordination between teammates in order to successfully complete a routine or performance. This coordination is something that must be developed within a team over time and is rarely found as a natural talent of individuals. Coordination must be nurtured and chemistry created between teammates on a cheerleading squad. 

Dexterity

Perhaps the most overlooked skill in cheerleading, dexterity (in an adaptability sense) is a skill often put to use in game-time and competition situations. Regardless of position, dexterity and adaptability are valuable skills for any cheerleader, as cheerleading techniques often require lots of movement and improvisation. Being able to fill in for a teammate of a different role who is absent is a common occurrence in the sport, so athletes must have a good knowledge of every positional role. This also helps develop overall team chemistry, coordination, and rhythm.

Endurance

Endurance is an essential skill for cheerleading, regardless of what role you play on the team. Cheerleading routines often are short and quickly paced, but some may last up to several minutes at a time, and even those that are short require a lot of exertion. These lengthy routines involve concentrated and flexed uses of the body that can be very fatiguing, so it is important that cheerleaders maximize their body’s ability to sustain and endure intense physical activity.

Flexibility

Flexibility may be one of the most important skills involved in cheerleading. Firstly, cheerleaders must be able to stretch very well before competing or performing a routine, as being limber and stretched-out will prevent injuries during a performance. Cheerleading routines, in turn, also obviously require a great deal of flexibility, as athletes must be able to jump, flip, contort, and hold their bodies in several different advanced positions. A cheerleader who is not flexible may not be able to participate fully in various team stunts, making them a hindrance to the performance.

Rhythm

Similar to coordination, cheerleaders must have a good sense of rhythm to be able to work well together. The rhythm required in cheerleading comes from both the music involved and with teammates. If even a single cheerleader is out of beat with the music or with his or her teammates, the whole performance could be botched. Individual and team rhythm is crucial to a cheerleading team’s success.

Strength

In cheerleading, a high level of fitness is required to perform different routines, stunts, and jumps well. It is very important that several of the team members have high overall body strength so that they are able to manipulate their own bodies as well as support the weights of others.

Tumbling

Perhaps the most iconic skill related to cheerleading, tumbling is a unique skill set that requires a combination of technique, form, balance, strength, and courage to perform. There are several different forms of tumbling, but from a general perspective, tumbling is made up of any stunt in which the athlete flips, twists, rolls, or jumps into the air and lands successfully. Tumbling is a very developed and nurtured skill that is perfected by some of the best cheerleaders worldwide.

FAQ

What are the most important cheerleading skills?

The most important cheerleading skills are cheering, jumping, tumbling, stunting (building pyramids), and dancing. These are the fundamental techniques that form every facet of cheerleading. To master these skills, it is especially important to possess and develop your balance, strength, flexibility, and endurance. The most important tumbling techniques are forward and backward rolls, round-offs, and walkovers.

What is the most difficult move in cheerleading?

Among the basic skills of cheerleading, the most difficult ability to master for most cheerleaders is tumbling and rolling. Tumbling is particularly difficult because it involves an athlete using the maximum range of their flexibility in order to perform stunts such as rolls, flips, and twists, sometimes even in mid-air. Basic tumbling maneuvers usually start with a round-off, a motion similar to a cartwheel in which the athlete leaps and uses their hands on the ground to twist their body into a position to tumble backward. Round-offs usually lead to back handsprings, which are among the basic tumbling moves, and which are extremely difficult to master. 

How do you start cheerleading?

The best way to get started in cheerleading is to sign up for a local cheerleading class and start taking classes. These will give you access to a qualified instructor and experience cheerleading in a group. Once you have started taking classes, network with other cheerleaders and instructors to find out which cheerleading squad is the best fit for you. As you begin on your journey, it is important to build strength, eat a healthy diet, and always stretch.

What is the difference between cheerleading and cheerdance?

The difference between cheerleading and cheerdance is that cheerleading mostly consists of tumbling, stunts, and cheering, with short dance transitions in between, whereas cheerdance consists of a several-minute-long routine, set to music, with no tumbling or stunting. (The style of dance used in cheerdance performances is typically drill.) Other than those differences, cheerleading and cheerdance are very similar. Both are done as teams, typically with some musical accompaniment, in accordance with practiced routines. Both can be performed in support of a sports team at a game or as an independent show.