The definition of a sport is ‘an activity involving physical exertion and often in a competitive nature.’ Cheerleading requires a lot of skill and physical exertion, which therefore qualifies it to be a sport, just like many others.
Cheerleading has many parallels to other sports, such as gymnastics, dance and acrobatics. All of these sports, cheerleading included, require the athletes to be in shape, precise, talented and well-rehearsed.
Physical exertion in cheerleading comes into play mostly in stunting. Stunting in cheerleading includes lifting a person into the air, throwing them and being able to properly catch them. It is extremely crucial that cheerleaders are properly trained, that way they can all remain safe and prevent themselves from getting injuries. In 2012, a study was done by the American Academy of Pediatrics that said cheerleading “accounted for 65% of all direct catastrophic injuries to girl athletes at the high school level and 71% at the college level.” This goes to show that cheerleading requires an immense amount of precision and practice in order to avoid injury.
Jumping is also an important and necessary aspect of cheer that requires physical exertion and skill. Jumping requires flexibility, balance and stamina. Cheer jumps put the jumper’s body in unnatural positions which take a toll on the athlete if done incorrectly. It takes a lot of repetition and practice to perfect the motions, and make them look sharp for competition.
Cheerleading is often considered not to be a sport because people do not think cheerleaders compete. However, that is not the case, and it is quite the opposite seeing as most cheer teams compete more than once per season. Cheerleading competition performances take a lot of planning and rehearsing in order to pull them off correctly. The performance is based on many different things, such as stunt difficulty and creativity, jump difficulty and execution, motions, synchronization, as well as pyramid difficulty and creativity. Seeing as there are so many categories including in the scoring, you can understand why competitions are so intense.
There is more to cheerleading than just standing on the sidelines and yelling. The sport requires intense physical exertion, a high level of skill, precision, athleticism and a lot of training. This means that saying cheerleading as a whole does not meet the requirements to be considered a sport, it simply incorrect.