What exactly is All-Star Cheerleading?
All-Star cheerleading is a sports activity that combines elements of tumbling, dance, stunting, and traditional cheerleading skills such as jumps and arm motions.
How are the teams configured?
Teams consist of athletes performing fast paced, exciting, and professionally choreographed 2½ minute routines set to music.
Teams are set up by skill level and then age group. For a general rule of thumb:
Mini Level teams consist of ages 7-9 years old. 2014-17 birth year.
Youth Level teams consist of ages 8-12 years old. 2011-16 birth year.
Junior Level teams consist of members 9-15 years old. 2008-15 birth year.
Senior Level teams consist of ages 12-18 years old. 6/1/2003-2009 birth year.
Senior Worlds Division teams consist of ages 13-19 years old. 6/1/2004-11 birth year.
Teams compete at 6 difficulty levels ranging from level 1 for beginners, up to level 6 for athletes with advanced skills. Our training goal is to help kids progress through all 6 levels in a save and confident manner. It is normal and recommended for athletes to do more than one year on a level to be successful and well rounded.
How often do you practice and compete?
All-Star teams compete against other All-Star gyms from across the region and the country between November and April each year, with most teams attending between 6 and 7 competitions.
Team schedules can vary. Travel teams practice 3 days a week for an average of 2 hours each practice. Practices will include two weekdays and Sunday. Non-Travel teams practice two days a week, but do not travel outside the Atlanta area. The Elite season runs from tryouts in May until the last competition in March and/or April. Half Year Teams generally run October through March with two 1.5hr weekday practices.
Is Cheerleading considered a sport? What will they learn?
All-Star is also a co-ed activity and is great for boys as well as girls. Some teams compete exclusively in co-ed divisions and some in all-girl divisions. We have many boys that play football for high school and continue to cheer in colleges around the country.
All-Star teams are great for developing healthy nutrition, flexibility, coordination, time management, self confidence and self esteem as well as developing positive life skills, personal values, sportsmanship and teamwork.
What level is my child?
When being evaluated for a team, the question that you need to ask is…. has my child “truly mastered” the level? Is my child at the high end of that level, therefore being able to fully participate in every aspect of a routine? Yes, there will be exceptions, such as a “monster” back spot that is needed for a higher level stunt to go up…. or a small elite flyer that is needed for an elite stunt… but those are few and far between. Has your child mastered the level? Can they do the hardest stunt? Can they be center dancer? Can they be front row of jumps? Can they be last tumbling pass? Are they physically AND more so mentally ready to move up?
Prep level 1 Athletes are beginning the back walkover. They need to be cleaned up a little, but can easily kick over and have mastered the round off, cartwheel, and bridge kick over. Prep Level 1 is a great entry level. Most ELITE level 1 athletes are working back handsprings without a spot… they have beautiful back walkovers, front walkovers, they could be the first pass or the last pass. Self discipline has improved and they can now concentrate on perfecting their jumps, but can be 100% a successful part of a level 1, 2 1/2 minute routine including all stunting!
A level 2 ELITE athlete is now working tucks… as they have “mastered” the standing BHS and the round off BHS series with great execution. They can incorporate all level 1 skills into their level 2 combinations with ease. They are fully a part of the routine and even have their moments to shine. The stunting gets harder here so it is imperative that tumbling technique is not a issue. At this level, more time will be used to progress into elite stunting than tumbling. The athlete should be able to focus on a face paced routine and stunting without any issues on the back handspring.
A level 3 ELITE athlete many times is working layouts and standing tucks without spots. They have mastered not just the round-off backhandspring tuck, but beautiful standing series BHS, a punch front and an aerial should be mastered as well. Jumps to BHS and elite level 2 stunting progressions are a must here. They should be mentally ready for an ELITE level 3 routine. The routine will be fast pace and difficult. Stunting will be above the head and require much more strength and flexibility. The mental aspect of the coaching is raised even more, and the athlete should have great self discipline. This is one of the largest jumps in the levels with both tumbling and stunting.
Level 4 athletes are many times twisting in classes while throwing a hollow body, technically beautiful layout, a solid standing tuck and again, are capable of doing any part of a true level 4 routine. They have solid execution on BHS tucks, and Jump BHS tuck. A true level 4 athlete should be able to master any level 1,2 or 3 combination into a technically sound layout. This level requires extreme mental and physically capabilities. At level 4, every lower level skill in both stunting and tumbling should be mastered. At level 4, the commitment from athlete and parent truly changes. Everyone must be all in and ready for extra work, extra practice, and anything it takes to get the job done.
Level 5 athletes are working higher, more elite twisting skills, can land a solid jump to back with their feet together and the straight fulls they will throw in the routine are technically gorgeous. They are mentally capable of hitting at fast paced, high energy routine with multiple tumbling passes. They will put many extra hours in the gym and be willing to mentally push themselves to the limit. This athlete should be in their top physical shape and extremely team oriented. At this level, practice should be their number on
And the new Level 6 athlete… these are the athletes throwing doubles, trick thru to full, standing full, multiple jumps to back and are at the top of their game mentally and physically. The parents are all in and ready for anything that comes their way.
Look at it this way… if they have not mastered a level completely, then why put the stress on an athlete to attempt to do tumbling skills at a level they have not mastered and then be expected to elite stunt, jump, and dance for a full 2 1/2 minutes? Why not allow them the year to be the shining star, to build their confidence and feel a full part of the routine.
The other side of the coin…. “my child has all level 4 tumbling but it’s her first year of cheer”. Do you truly want your child on a team doing complex elite stunts at the risk of hurting herself or others around her. Just because we are a successful gymnast, doesn’t mean we know the proper progressions of safe stunting, jumps, choreography, standing and running combinations, or performance. Trust the coaches to put your athlete where she will do best.
There will be always be exceptions to the rule, but again, those are few and far between. As coaches and parents, we have to look at the bigger picture. Yes, we want to challenge the athlete, but we also want to consider what that challenge is and how it will impact them. 99% of the athletes we ask would want to be on a team where they are 100% involved and the shining star rather than going up a level where they may not be in the tumbling section or jump section, but you will probably stunt a little… they want to be on the team they can be 100% involved in. They want that moment…
Trust the process… you don’t have to agree with the process, but you have to trust it. This sport is hard enough, but if it’s not fun and at the same time building confidence, then your child will not continue.