Before You Compete, Know the Rules

July 26, 2010

Teresa Barbarie of the Greater Midwest Cheer Expo

Teresa Barbarie is the CEO of Greater Midwest Cheer Expo, an event company that hosts affordable, themed competitions around Ohio and the surrounding areas.

When my daughters first began cheering for recreational teams, we competed on gym floors with no mats! It’s hard to believe we actually stunted and tumbled on the hard gym floors. So much has evolved over the last 10 years. With the explosion of all star cheerleading, many new faces of competition emerged. It’s important to make sure your squad is competing at the right level and adhering to all the safety guidelines and rules.

Q. What organizations certify cheerleading competitions?

It’s very important for gyms and even recreational organizations to be aware of the safety guidelines and certifications of the events that they are sending their teams to. Before you compete, check to see if the competition company is a member of The USASF (United States All Star Federation). The USASF has played an important role in providing guidelines for the cheer and dance industry. It has laid a great foundation and structure for event producers as well as for the cheer gyms. GMCE has been a member of USASF for many years. Each year, representatives from GMCE are required to attend a USASF meeting, and our judges are safety judge certified, as well. We have very strict guidelines that we are held accountable to when we become members. Although the USASF doesn’t regulate rec teams, a USASF membership still indicates that the event cares about safety and quality standards.

Q. How much does it matter what division my squad is in?

It is vitally important that coaches choose the right division for their teams to compete in. Levels are provided for fairness as well as safety, which is always the main concern. Levels ensure that there is a proper place for each team to compete regardless of their skill level. Skills should be taught in progression, and offering levels ensures that athletes aren’t pushed beyond their capability at the time of competition.
Be sure to read the guidelines thoroughly for the safety of your athletes as well as for judging purposes. Nothing is more disheartening than having a team lose due to a rule violation. GMCE complies with The USASF’s level guidelines and offers all divisions set forth by USASF at all our events.
If you coach a rec squad and are interested in having the level options that all-star squads typically have, GMCE offers one of the most flexible events around. We offer both mount and non-mount divisions at multiple skill levels for rec squads.

Q. Some of these rules are confusing. Where should I go for help?
If you have any questions regarding guidelines, you should, by all means, contact the event producer. GMCE would love to answer any of your questions up front and provide you with the correct answers.
Remember, guidelines and level rules are reviewed each year, so make sure you’re familiar with them when entering competitions. All of this will help ensure a safe season for your athletes and let you sit back and enjoy the competition! GMCE hopes to see you this season!

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