If you are planning on taking your cheerleading squad from the sidelines to the competition floor this year, make sure you give them a chance to "˜Go, Fight, Win!' the big trophy, medals or scholarships.

Planes Tickets, Registration Fees, Hotels Rooms.....
Many competitions charge a registration fee that your team will have to cover. In addition, if you are choosing competitions that require travel, you have to cover all the travel costs from transportation to accommodations. It is also common for teams to get new cheerleading uniforms just for competition, which is an added expense to your team's budget.

Excuse Me, Do You Have The Time?
It can be so exciting and nerve racking to keep up with the anticipation of a cheerleading competition that you might actually overlook the timing. Pay careful attention to the length and dates of the competition. Does it compete with anything else on your regular schedule? Does it compete with any previously scheduled community or high school events (like homecoming)? If so, is it worth it to miss these events, and to ask your entire team, including the seniors, to miss them too?

Going The Distance
Traveling can be fun, but it can also be expensive and stressful in the long run. Be realistic when you decide where to compete. A good rule is to stay local for smaller competitions, and plan to travel only for one big event, unless you get a bid or a large donation that helps cover the costs.

Keep Up With The Cheerdashians
Like the Kardashian sisters, cheerleading competitions can be very...well, competitive. Do a very, very honest assessment of your team's skills before you decide which competitions, divisions and levels to enter. Some things to consider are: tumbling skill level, stunt group ability, general years of experience of individuals, the team and the coach and the maturity level of squad. While an honest assessment might seem intimidating at first, it is the only way to make sure that your squad has a level competition field.

Divided We Compete
Competitions arrange participating teams as competitors based on a number of criteria including size of team, skill level, all female or co-ed and age of team members to ensure that no team has an unfair advantage. You should be sure to only enter the division that you are most qualified for so that your team does not get embarrassed. If you are split between two divisions, go with the less competitive one.

The Road To Championship
  • Regional & State. Most cheerleading squads should be able to find a local or regional competition early in the season to participate in. These are great because they typically do not require a lot of travel expenses, and they also let you experience your routine on the floor so you know if you need to tweak any moves. These smaller competitions might be qualifiers for the larger competitions, so make sure you compete in them if you plan on moving ahead. It is also a good idea to sign up for more than one, so that you can give your squad an extra chance or two to qualify "“ after applying those tweaks!

  • National. If your squad wins at a local or state level, they might qualify to compete in a national competition or event. The national events take place toward the end of the competition season. National events see attendance of teams and their supporters from all over the US. The national competitions are the ones that are usually televised.

  • International. If your squad wins at a national level, they might get invited to compete at an international competition or event. International events see attendance of teams and their supporters from all over the world.

Check out the Complete Cheer Competition Guide For Coaches!