If you ask a cheerleader what they do during "˜off season', they will likely respond with, "What is "˜off season'?" - and with good reason! Between tryouts, summer fundraising, training and camps, regular football and basketball seasons and competitions, cheerleading, even at the pee wee level, is a year-round athletic activity.

When cheerleading started at the of Minnesota in 1898, almost as an experimental accident, it was used mainly to raise school spirit at basketball and football games. That would mean that a regular cheerleading season would run the entire length of both sport seasons "“ roughly from August through March.

In 1949, cheerleading camps were introduced and went on to become one of the most popular youth activities in the United States. Cheerleading camps are typically a summer activity, and can range anywhere from a day or two to a week or two. Today's cheerleaders also start training and trying out in the springtime, and those who make the squad begin their fundraising efforts in the summer months.

In the 1960s, the world of cheerleading was growing immensely, and began to see a need for cheerleading competitions. This added a whole new "˜season' to cheerleading, with competitions typically running from December through February in today's industry. This also meant a whole new breed of cheerleaders, that were not associated with a school or a sport, began to form with the sole purpose of competing. Some of today's cheerleaders even cheer for their school and an All Star team.

In the early 1970s, cheerleading squads for professional sports teams began to form. Like other cheerleading squads, professional teams have a tryout season, but it is more intense and will be a much longer process. Once the squad is picked, regular practices will start and run through the entire football or basketball season. Outside of the regular season, many professional cheerleaders have responsibilities to make appearances for company and/or charity events.

Whew! That is quite a lot of responsibilities! Did we forget anything about the season? What is your typical cheer season like, and how do you manage to balance it with your education and social life?