Cheerleading (English cheerleading, from cheer - "approval, support, consolation", "exclamation of approval" and leading - "leadership, management") is a sport that is a harmonious combination of spectacular sports (acrobatics, gymnastics) and elements of a dance show ... At the same time, athletes are dressed in bright costumes, and most often use certain equipment (pom-poms, balls, hoops, flags), but in some cases the performances are held without any aids.
The tradition of cheering athletes has long been widespread in many countries of the world (for example, in ancient Greece, spectators with exclamations and gestures tried to raise the fighting spirit of the competitors during the Olympics). However, America is considered the birthplace of cheerleading, where the first cheerleading club was created in New Jersey in 1865.
The official date of birth of cheerleading is 1898, when specially trained young men (and a little later - and girls) entered the field between competitions, whose task was to cheer up the team, raise the morale of the fans and draw public attention to a particular sport. For this, both visual effects (bright costumes and pompons) and sound accompaniment (chants, propaganda campaigning for a healthy lifestyle, incendiary music) were used.
Cheerleading gained wide popularity and popularity in the 70s. of the last century, divided into two directions: sports competitions with other teams, according to certain rules, and work as a support group for any sports teams and clubs.
The European Cheerleading Association (ECA) was established in 1995. In the same year, in Stuttgart (Germany), the first European championship in this sport was held, which has been held annually since then (the exception is the period from 2000 to 2004, when there were 2 years between championships). The International Federation of Cheerleading (IFC) was founded in 2001, today it includes 23 states, including Japan. It was in the capital of this country (Tokyo) in 2001 that the first world championship in this sport was held, since then it has been held regularly every 2 years. Competitions are held in the following categories:
• Group stant - building pyramids;
• Chir (cher) - a combination of building pyramids with elements of acrobatics and gymnastics. Chants are also evaluated;
• Dance (from the English dance - "dance") - a symbiosis of sports dances and gymnastic elements;
• Chir-dance show;
• Individual cheerleading - single performances by team captains.
In Russia, cheerleading appeared in the 30s of the last century. This is not entirely true. In the USSR, performances of young athletes were really held, very reminiscent of the programs of modern cheerleading groups, and were a combination of acrobatic and dance figures, building multi-tiered pyramids and shouting out various kinds of chants. However, there were some differences. Firstly, the chants were mainly of a political orientation, while in cheerleading all the "chants" either advocate a healthy lifestyle, or are designed to support their favorite team and rally fans. Secondly, pyramids in 3 tiers in cheerleading are prohibited (except if the team members who make up the lower tier are not standing at full height), in the USSR much higher builds were practiced. And, finally, the performances of young athletes usually either anticipated or ended some kind of sports or entertainment event (car rally, competition, parade, etc.), and was not carried out during the breaks between competitions. The first cheerleading team in Russia appeared only in 1998, at the same time competitions in this sport began to be held.
The first places in the European and World Cheerleading Championships have always been taken by American teams. This is not true. The fact is that this sport developed independently in the countries of Europe and America, respectively, there were also autonomous associations that held their own cheerleading competitions. America joined the International Cheerleading Federation only in 2005, and athletes from this country do not compete at all at the European and World Championships, since they do not find worthy rivals. Therefore, the palm belongs to cheerleaders from Japan (they won the title of world champions three times) and Finland (athletes from this country more often than others won the European championships).
You can come to a cheerleading team without special training. Yes, if we mean not sports, but, for example, corporate cheerleading (employees of firms quite often arrange small competitions in this sport), or a group of future professional athletes is in the stage of formation. If we are talking about a well-coordinated team, in which all participants are at the same level, it will be very difficult for a person without preliminary preparation to fit into such a group. Therefore, most often girls who were professionally involved in gymnastics, ballet, etc. are recruited into cheerleading teams. In addition, an attractive appearance, a fit figure, and the ability to work in a team play an important role. But even in this case, the beginner begins to compete in major competitions only after at least a year from the moment he started training.
Only very young and unmarried girls can participate in cheerleading competitions. No, marital status in this sport does not play any role, the only thing that really matters is the girl's appearance and fitness. The age of the team members most often varies within a fairly wide range - from 18 to 30 years old. However, for example, in Japan there are groups consisting of 60-70-year-olds of the fair sex (at competitions they perform in a special category). There are no age restrictions in corporate cheerleading.
There is constant competition between cheerleading groups. To succeed, some teams “steal ideas” from opponents. Indeed, there is competition in this sport, as in any other. According to the athletes, it is only an additional incentive for constant self-improvement. And the "theft of ideas" is not a big problem. Firstly, spectators and athletes who closely follow the performances of cheerleaders know which team was the first to use this or that trick, so the repetition of a similar number performed by another group does not receive the same stormy approval. Secondly, in some cases it is simply impossible to fully play the "stolen" performance due to the insufficient level of preparedness and teamwork of the "thief" team.
Only healthy, physically strong people can engage in cheerleading. Yes, when it comes to sports cheerleading. If this sport is mastered at an amateur level, without striving to achieve superiority in any competition, we can talk about the great benefits of such activities for human health. First, cheerleading contributes to a fairly rapid weight loss and the formation of a harmonious figure (and, unlike fitness, does not lead to the appearance of hypertrophied muscles). Secondly, it is an excellent prevention of diseases of the cardiovascular system and the musculoskeletal system (for example, doing this sport you can get rid of scoliosis at the initial stage), helps to improve memory. Thirdly, it disciplines, expands the social circle, helps to heal from depression, etc.
Only thin girls are taken to the teams. In the cheerleading team there is a distribution by roles, and a strict weight limit (no more than 45-47 kg) is applicable only for girls who crown the pyramid and are periodically thrown into the air (the so-called flyers, from the English flyer - "top", "flying"). In order to form the lower tiers of the pyramid and successfully toss and catch flyers (which sometimes fly up to 5 meters), women (and in some cases even men) with a denser physique are needed.
Cheerleading is an exclusively female sport. Misconception. The first cheerleaders were men - the fans who watched the American football competitions decided to support their favorite team and inspire the audience. At first, their attempts to enter the field during the break ended in failure - the security prevented the implementation of the new idea. Then persistent young men created their own organization, and officially turned to the founders of the tournament with a request to speak during the break in order to support the fighting spirit of the team and fans. The permission was obtained - and so cheerleading was born, in which the groups were initially recruited only from the stronger sex. The girls came to this sport a little later. Nowadays, a lot depends on what kind of cheerleading direction we are talking about. For example, in the discipline "cher" (the so-called "mixed direction" - eng. Сheer-mixed), which implies the use of various gymnastic elements without fail (for this reason, the competition is held on a gymnastic mat), men can also compete. In this discipline, there is a clear distribution of roles (athletes are divided into fives, in which the flyer and "base" are highlighted), the use of various kinds of accessories (posters, flags, signs, horns, megaphones, etc.) is allowed and not only the performance itself, but also the effectiveness of the "chants" (according to the reaction of the audience). But in the discipline "dance" only girls perform. The main difference between a team of this kind and a group of "cher" is the lack of a clear distribution of roles in a team of 8 people. In addition, in this direction there is a ban on the construction of pyramids, emissions and "chants" are not practiced, and the performance takes place on the site with the same coverage as in volleyball.
Cheerleading training consists only of repetition of specific movements in various combinations. As with any sport, cheerleading training begins with a warm-up, which includes general physical training (walking, running, jumping, etc.), exercises to develop and strengthen muscles of the whole body, and exercises that develop flexibility. And only after that, the athletes devote time to working out specific movements and drawing up a program for future performances.
Cheerleading suits are made of special non-slip fabric. When it comes to "cher" - skirts and colorful vests, according to safety rules (which, by the way, prohibit wearing tights and any adornments (earrings, chains, etc.)), are really sewn from the aforementioned fabric. For the direction "dance" pantsuits are used, which are made of sliding materials. In such clothes, it is more convenient to perform various exercises on the floor, which abound in this direction of cheerleading.
Cheerleading equipment costs a lot of money and has to be changed quite often. Yes, especially if you give preference to suits and pom-poms made in the USA - you will have to pay about $ 300 ($ 250-300 for a suit, about $ 40 for pom-poms). From a domestic manufacturer, these products can be purchased at a cheaper price (costumes cost $ 50-70, pom-poms cost about $ 20). It should also be noted that in the arsenal of professional teams there are about 20-30 numbers, for each of which a special suit and accessories are developed. And the fashion for pom-poms is constantly changing: at first, accessories with long fibers were used, then with short and curly ones. Recently, pom-poms have been used, made from wide petals of shiny foil.
Injuries in cheerleading are most often the flyer. No, according to statistics, members of the "base" are more likely to be injured, which the flyer can very noticeably touch during the flight or landing. The most common injuries in this sport are bruises, sprains, and a broken nose.
Many famous personalities have been cheerleading. Yes it is. This sport was fond of both movie and pop stars (Madonna, Alicia Silverstone, Meryl Streep, Sandra Bulock, Michael Douglas, Jamie Lee Curtis) and American presidents (Dwight Eisenhower, Franklin Roosevelt, George W. Bush).