As we know cheerleading differs depending on what type. Non-cheerleaders may not realize or understand the differences between them. Although they all share some of the same concepts–such as stunts, tumbling, cheers, and motions–they also differ.

Let’s start out with recreational cheerleading. I currently coach a recreational team. As far as recreational goes: from my experience, less emphasis is put on its importance than other sports.  Normally, you don’t even need to tryout. You learn the basics such as motions, standard jumps, and chants. When I first started coaching my team, it was difficult because the program was very basic and they have never had a coach with real cheerleading experience. I built them from just doing chants to doing full routines with stunts, tumbling, cheers, and dances. By doing this, I gave them a taste of having the full cheer experience and in result, parents want to re-register each season. Recreational cheerleading is great for beginners.

Then there’s grade school (middle/high). You must tryout. Usually, middle school has one team and high school a JV & Varsity team; this level of cheerleading is focused on cheering and chanting for football and basketball games. Cheering for your school is a great way to meet friends and get involved. Like the other athletes, you become recognized for performing at games, pep-rallies, and other school-related events. Cheering for your school is not as advanced as some of the other types of cheerleading that we will discuss, but includes all the basic concepts of cheerleading and maybe even a competition or two.

Next, there is All Star cheerleading, which for me is a favorite because I did that for most of my cheerleading career. I would say All Star is the most advanced type of cheerleading. You must tryout, but everyone pretty much makes a team based on skill level and age. All practices are focused on preparing you for competitions. You have the same routine all season, though advancing it as it goes along. Throughout the year, you attend several competitions in many different places. I believe that All Star cheerleading breeds the best and gets the most respect out of all the types of cheerleading. Along with practices, most teams offer tumbling classes as well. The really big teams even have their own gyms! The only fault in All Star cheerleading is it costs a lot more money than any other type of cheerleading. The best thing about All Star is that it’s all ages–at least ‘til age 18!

Another one of my favorites is college cheerleading. Like grade school, it’s a great way to become more involved in school. It’s similar to grade school, but more advanced being that the cheerleaders are adults. Like the others, you have to tryout and they choose based on needs, skills, and sportsmanship. College cheerleaders usually have several uniforms, a lot more cheers, dance counts, and advanced stunts. They also have a competition or two, games, pep-rallies, and parades.

Lastly, there is professional cheerleading. Professional cheerleading is unlike the rest; they are more like dancers than cheerleaders. What they do share with the other types is the performance aspect. They have high energy, great facial expressions, great physiques, and a well-put together appearance. Most teams do not stunt or do actual cheers, but some do tumble. They perform dance routines at games during half time and on the sidelines. They also do charity events, openings, calendar shoots, and more. A great benefit of cheering professionally is that it’s a job, meaning that you get paid to live out your passion! Many dancers stay on the team for years and as a result, it becomes like a pro-cheerleading family.