USASF: Are You Competition Ready? (2019-20)

USASF Logo 2018Dear USASF Coaches and Program Owners,

Competition season is upon us. Are you competition ready? Join Regional Directors Glenda Broderick and Robin Galik as they walk you through the steps to ensure you are prepared for your 2019-2020 events and fully understand compliance, eligibility, rostering, and more!

SELECT THE TIME THAT WORKS BEST FOR YOU

  • October 16, 2019 at 12:00pm EDT
  • October 16, 2019 at 9:00pm EDT

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Can’t join us at the times listed? Register anyway and we’ll send you the recording.

Be sure to check The Connection for a posting of the webinar and further discussion.

Beautiful or Invisible

Everything in your routine should either be beautiful or Invisible. Many apply the beautiful part to the major skills in their routine, stunts, pyramids, tumbling, etc., but sometime skip the details, motions in the air, landing the tumbling, and timing of skills.

There are a few options for making something invisible, taking it out, hiding it, or distractions. For taking something out think about whether or not it’s really necessary, does it add points to your routine. The first thing coming to mind in this regard is motions. You are scored on the motions you do, not what you could have done, so if a motion isn’t being performed beautifully take it out. Who says tops need to hit a motion or do choreography in the air? If it can be done well, great, but it not take it out so it doesn’t leave a bad impression.

For hiding skills, tumbling comes to mind, specifically landings. If you have an athlete that can perform a tumbling pass, but does it with their legs apart or lands a little funky, put them in a group and in a position within the group where those won’t be as noticeable.

For distractions, formation changes come to mind. If you can’t make the change beautiful try doing something to draw my attention away from the formation change. Put up a quick stunt so my attention shifts there instead seeing the athletes scurry across the floor.

In Review – September 2019

September has come and gone, bringing back school and football. Here’s some of the news that came along with it.

USASF: 2020 Worlds Cup Race

USASF Worlds Cup Race LogoAll Level 6 and 7 teams entering one or more of the following USASF Sanctioned Events will receive points based on the size of their division and placement rankings. At the end of the season, the Level 6 and/or Level 7 teams with the highest point totals will win 3 Paid Bids and 3 At Large Bids to The Cheerleading Worlds, 2020.

You Can’t Do Everything

What do you focus on when trying to make your team elite? You can’t do everything, at least not all at once, so you need to decide where to spend your time first. There are 15-16 scores on the major scoring systems I looked at. Some scores separated difficulty from execution, stunts and tumbling for example, and others are combined into a single score, like dance.

If the score sheet categories were the menu items at a southern bbq joint, where you could get a plate with 3 meats and 2 sides, what would you order for your ideal routine? Would spectators and judges be able to identify those items based on your team’s routine and performance? Does your practice regimen reflect that order?

Mine would be stunt execution, pyramid execution, and stunt difficulty with a side of building creativity and running tumbling execution.

In Review – August 2019

Summer is ending. It’s not cheerleading or dance specific, but ESPN published Study: On Average Child Quits Sports at Age 11.

Past Ideas

Several of my past ideas centered around trying to increase the average number of teams within a division.

First is making the standard team size 24. Forget XS, Small, Medium, and Large divisions and make a single sized-based division with a maximum of 24 athletes. Second is reducing the number of mainstream levels from 5 (last season) or 6 (next season) to 3, excluding Level 6/7. Tumbling wise  the first would require hand support (walkover and handsprings), second would be flips without twisting (tucks, layouts, whips), and third would be flipping and twisting (fulls and double fulls). Building wise we could start with next season’s Level 2, 4, and 6 rules.

Third is changing from the 5 age groups (Tiny, Mini, Youth, Junior, and Senior) we currently have to 4, Tiny (6 & Under), Youth (4-10), Junior (8-14), and Senior (12-18). Fourth is defaulting to every team within the same level and age group competing against each other until there are enough teams to split them. This puts every Senior 4 team, coed, all girl, small, and large, in 1 division until there are enough teams to warrant a split. Fifth is raising the number of teams remaining on each side before a split is made from 2 to 8.

The intent of each of these changes is to increase the average number of teams per divisions at competitions. Implementing any of these changes would have a small impact on increasing the number of teams competing against each other and all of them should have a significant increase.

USA Cheer College Rules Released

USA Cheer LogoThe 2019-20 USA Cheer College Cheerleading Rules have been posted at USA Cheer.

The college rules process uses an “odd year/even year” rotation between addressing major and minor changes. 2019-20 is a “minor changes” year, with the addition of a sign rule in which top person and middle layers may not release hard signs to the ground.

In addition, the performing surface rules and basket toss rules have been slightly reworded for clarity without changing the implementation of the existing rules.

USA Cheer: High School Rules Updates

USA Cheer LogoThe 2019-20 high school rules were published to the USA Cheer site on May 1 and are available here.

An update has been made to the new rule regarding signs for high school teams and younger. Bases are not allowed to hold props that are made of hard material or have sharp corners or edges. Stunts and pyramids that use these types of signs should choreograph them so that the top person comes down with the sign legally or hands them to a person on the ground who is allowed to hold signs.

The NFHS has released their current “Comments on the Rules“, which include this change as well.

USA Cheer: Fall Safety Update!

One of USA Cheer’s primary objectives is to “promote safety and safety education for cheer in USA Cheer Logothe United States.” It is a responsibility that is central to everything we do, including growing cheer participation and representing the USA in cheerleading internationally.

This safety update includes information on updated high school rules and the new rules course, as well as the recently released college rules.

Thanks to the combination of appropriate safety rules, ongoing safety education, and increased safety awareness by all, cheerleading has been ranked among the lowest risk high school sports for ten years!

We are excited to provide this safety update to our members, partner organizations, and friends!

Jim Lord, Director of Education and Programming

USASF: Announcement Regarding Worlds 2020

Cheerleading Worlds LogoFrom the U.S. All Star Federation and the International All Star Federation regarding The Cheerleading and Dance World Championship

The Road to Worlds is an exciting one for All Star teams around the globe, and we share in the excitement and anticipation each year! The growth and momentum of All Star brings together incredible athleticism, artistry and talent at The Worlds annually. We’re looking forward to 2020.

Circumstances outside of our control have necessitated a slight adjustment of the dates of The Cheerleading and Dance Worlds for 2020. Worlds will take place on April 24, 25 and 26. The location remains at Walt Disney World® in Orlando, FL.

If you have questions, please contact:

  • U.S. Event Producers and Teams, please contact the USASF
  • Non-U.S. Event Producers and Teams, please contact the IASF

The Cheerleading and Dance Worlds 2020 Date Change FAQ

Why is there a date change for The Cheerleading and Dance Worlds?

The International Cheer Union is slightly changing their event date due to a scheduling conflict with important international meetings. That change is causing the USASF and IASF to slightly change their event date for The Cheerleading and Dance Worlds to avoid event overlap at Walt Disney World®.

What are the dates of the ICU World Championships?

To avoid a scheduling conflict with important international meetings, the 2020 ICU Worlds Championships will change their event date to April 27, 28 and 29.

Will this be the schedule for the following year?

At this time, we are only aware that it is a one-time change to the schedule.

Connect the Kids

A long time ago, when I first started coaching Tiny and Mini aged kids, I was told kids won’t do anything for you until they think you care about them. This was quickly proven true. At that age some of the kids instantly decide you are best friends and you are good from the first moment. Others are a little more suspicious of new people and it takes more effort to build trust and rapport with them, so step 1 was getting the kids to like you.

A recent conversation with a coach reminded me that sometimes competitiveness in this area isn’t the best thing. The conversation was about a coach who was so determined to be every child’s favorite that he was in some ways cutting down the other coaches to improve his position. Even though I think wanting to be the favorite can be a good thing I don’t think doing it at the expense of others is good. I hope coaches are putting in effort to ensure each kid connects with someone on staff without getting too caught up on being the one each kid connects with. It is great to be the coach every kid loves, but much more important that every kid feels loved.

 

 

All Eyes on the Floor

Another unconventional idea is to crowdsource bobbles, falls, and legalities to the other teams competing at the event, basically turning in your opponents. This would put more eyes on the floor looking for deductions, reducing the likelihood of one being missed and if one is missed it is at least partially the responsibility of those most impacted by it. I believe to accomplish this programs would assign someone to watch their competition.

The side effect of teams watching each other is it gives them more insight into what placements should be. It may even incentivize programs to have their staff judge some or more often, which could lead to more people who spend a significant amount of time in the gym being on the judges’ stand, something I’ve heard coaches requesting for years.

On the legality side this I could see this leading to more programs having a rules expert because each program would need to know the rules in order to call someone else on them. On top of that I imagine the programs that have an in house rules expert would be able to ensure their own routines are legality free which is part of the end goal.

There are several logistics that need to be worked out to make this work and I’ve thought about a couple. First the events would no longer have deduction judges on the stand, they would instead be in a score review type area to verify the deductions turned in by the other teams. Next there would need to be a way to limit programs from turning in meritless deductions. For this I envision something like NFL uses. Each team starts with X challenges and when they submit a deduction they use one. If the deduction is accurate they get the challenge back and if it is incorrect they lose it. I know there are many more logistics that would need to be worked out, but I think it would interesting to give something like this a shot.

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