The primary function of high school cheerleading is to support athletic teams, promote school spirit, and encourage and display good sportsmanship. These VPA guidelines are to be the official guidelines followed.
All safety rules in Vermont follow the National Federation 2023-2023 Spirit Rules Book. AACCA is now USA Cheer, the national governing body for cheerleading in the United States. USA Cheer and the NFHS have agreed to publish one set of rules for high school cheerleading under the NFHS Rule Book. All coaches should obtain a copy of the National Federation 2023-2023 Spirit Rules Book from their athletic director.
All rules apply for the regular season and competition. These rules apply to cheer programs in grades 5 through 12 and to non-school-sponsored youth programs choosing to participate in VPA-sanctioned events.
Like all other sports, high school cheerleading coaches must be certified in an approved coaching education program, which includes either the NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching course or the ACEP Coaching Principal’s course.
For more information, contact your athletic director.
All coaches of athletes in grades 5-12 (competition and game-only teams) must attend the National Federation Spirit Rules Review. The NFHS Rules Review is also required for non-school sponsored youth teams that choose to compete in VPA sanctioned events and is highly recommended for all scholastic cheerleading teams in Vermont.
VPA Sanctioned Competitions for high school teams:
Host School Responsibilities:
At semifinal and final basketball games, 20 cheerleaders, and their coaches, will be admitted at the team entrance for the session in which the team is scheduled to play. These seats will be in the special cheerleading section. Not more than 20 cheerleaders, 12 at Barre, will be on the sidelines at any time. Between quarters and during time-outs cheerleaders will be limited to one cheer per school. In the event that a cheer has not been completed when the buzzer sounds, the cheerleaders are to leave the floor immediately. In each tournament game, one school is designated as the visiting team, and the other as the home team. Cheerleaders will follow the pattern set down in the regular season guidelines for cheering at a game. Confetti and streamers must not be thrown and the cheerleaders should discourage their fans from using such things.
Cheerleading activity may take place during half-time on the playing court during semifinal and final games only by pre-arrangement with the VPA tournament director. Half-time cheers will be allowed at the play-down games and quarterfinals since these games are usually played at the schools instead of Barre or UVM as is the case for the semifinals and finals. Keep cheers as brief as possible. In the event of a school using more time for cheerleading than is practical, the tournament observers shall instruct the cheerleading squad to shorten its cheers. The coach must sit with the cheerleading team at all times. If a cheerleading team’s coach is not USA Cheer Safety certified, they may NOT stunt at basketball tournament games.
The divisional alignment for the cheerleading state championships will be determined by the size of the cheerleading squad. There will be two divisions and they are to be divided as equally as possible in terms of the number of teams. The size of the squad is to be determined by the number of “starters” listed on the application that will be submitted by January 13, 2023. The number of “alternates” (strength of program) listed on the application will be used as the tiebreaker. Schools who wish to petition up to Division I automatically, will be allowed to do so on the application.
General Competition Information:
Competition Requirements and Procedures:
The New England Cheerleading Championships are run by the Council of New England Secondary School Principals’ Associations. Website= http://cnesspa.ezstream.com. All information about the 2023 championships will be posted in the “Spirit” section of the website.The 2023 New England Championships will be held at TBA, 2023.
Teams must score 150 or higher out of 220 at the Vermont State Championships to earn an invitation to the New England Championships. If a team should score lower than 150 at states, but did score 150 or higher at either the NVAC, VCCA or the CVCC, they can appeal to the VPA to be invited to New England’s (as space allows). Please email meet director Rommy Fuller at email@example.com by Monday, February 21 to appeal.Vermont is allowed to send up to 3 teams in the co-ed division. Co-ed is defined as one or more males on the team. Vermont is also allowed to invite up to 2 teams in each of the 4 all-girl divisions. Please note that for the Vermont State Championships, teams are sorted into 2 divisions, not 4. Contact TBA to find out your division for the New England championship.
Teams will be assigned to divisions based on where they place in the Vermont State Championships. The state champions in each of the two divisions will be placed first. If space allows, then the runner up in each division would be placed. The remaining teams will be sorted in order according to score and any other team with a score of 150 or higher will be placed, as space allows. Please contact Rommy Fuller with questions 802-342-3393.
Except for the VPA State Championship and the New England Championship, youth and middle school teams are invited to participate in VPA sanctioned competitions. Youth and middle school coaches must hold AACCA Certification and attend the NFHS Rules Review to qualify for competition.
Technical judges will view varsity routines at the following VPA sanctioned competitions prior to the state championship.
JUDGE 1 & 2* PYRAMIDS – DIFFICULTY: 10PYRAMIDS – TECHNIQUE: 5TRANSITIONS/FLOW OF ROUTINE: 5OVERALL IMPRESSION: 5
JUDGE 3 & 4* PARTNER STUNTS – DIFFICULTY: 10PARTNER STUNTS – TECHNIQUE: 5VOICE: 5OVERALL IMPRESSION: 5
JUDGE 5 & 6* TUMBLING – DIFFICULTY: 10TUMBLING – TECHNIQUE: 5* JUMPS – DIFFICULTY: 10JUMPS – TECHNIQUE: 5OVERALL IMPRESSION: 5
JUDGE 7 & 8* MOTIONS – DIFFICULTY: 5* DANCE – DIFFICULTY: 5MOTIONS/DANCE – TECHNIQUE: 5FORMATIONS & SPACING: 5OVERALL IMPRESSION: 5
Tiebreaker = Combined Total of * Categories
Basic pyramid sequence built from prep level and below comprised of skills in the 1-5 STUNT range
Pyramid sequence (1-2 structures) comprised of skills in the 5-7 STUNT rangeBraced flips caught at prep level or belowNon-flipping release skills caught in extended position braced on both sides
Transitional pyramid sequences with at least 2 connected structures comprised of skills in the 7-9 STUNT rangeBraced flips caught in extended 2 leg positionHigh-to-High tic tocks braced on both sidesPrep level inversions released to extended position braced on both sidesNon-flipping release skills caught in extended position braced on one side
Highly advanced pyramid sequences with at least 2 connected structures comprised of skills in the 9-10 STUNT rangeBraced flips caught in extended 1 leg positionHigh-to-High tick tocks to a body position braced on one sidePrep level inversions released to extended position braced on one sideMajority of groups participating in elite stunt sequences
* Body positions include: stretch, bow & arrow, arabesque, scale, scorpion, etc; Lib and platform are not considered body positions. The following are considered when scoring difficulty:
The following are considered when scoring difficulty:
Below average technique – less than majority demonstrated excellent precision, form and synchronization
Average technique – majority demonstrated excellent precision, form and synchronization
Above average technique – most demonstrated excellent precision, form and synchronization
Technique = A team’s effectiveness in demonstrating proper form (flyer flexibility, body position of bases, spotters and flyers, control of stunt including entry, dismount, and transitions), timing, uniformity and precision
Below average pitch and clarity/enunciationBelow average volume relative to number of athletes
Average pitch and clarity/enunciationAverage volume relative to number of athletes
Excellent pitch and clarity/enunciationAbove average volume relative to number of athletes
Beginner stunts such as:
Dismounts such as:
Basic two-leg extended stunts or any combination thereof, chairs, and liberty with a front spot.Suspended rolls from the performance surface
Transitions/entries such as:
Liberty or liberty variations with average flexibility, basket tosses, toss to hands (co-ed), single based all girls stunting at prep level.Maximum participation
Liberty or liberty variations with above average flexibility, all girls single based extended stunts, extended co-ed single based stunts, basket tosses with twist or two positions.Maximum participation for most of stunt sequencesMinimal use of front spots for most of stunt sequences
Major issues during transitions (bumping; excessive travel)Minimal incorporation of skills during transitionChoppy, lacks cohesion, excessive down time
Some issues during transitions (bumping; excessive travel)Average incorporation of skills during transitionAverage coordination among all elements of the routine
Clean transitionsExcellent incorporation of skills during transitionsUncluttered changes between segmentsStrong coordination among all elements of the routine
Less than majority of team with handspring(s)Less than 25 % with tucks
Majority of team with handspring skills (standing, running, and/or series)AND/ORLess than majority (but more than 25%) of team with tucks (standing or running) or above
Most of team with handspring skills (standing, running, and/or series)AND/ORMajority of team with tucks (standing or running) or above
Most of team with tucks (standing or running) or aboveAND/ORMajority of team with layouts, fulls, or specialty passes ending in tuck or above
Combining skills (jump-back handspring/tuck, series back handsprings, back handspring-tuck, etc.) will increase difficulty and score higher within the ranges.
SPECIALTY PASS = Running tumbling with entries, including front walk-over/handspring, aerial, or punch front, ending in a tuck or higher; or running tumbling involving skills such as back handspring step outs, whips, or arabians ending in a tuck or higher
Technique = A team’s effectiveness in demonstrating proper form (body position and control, landings), timing uniformity and precision
Basic jump sequences consisting of basic jumps with or without an immediate connection
2 advanced connected jumps performed by most of the team
3 advanced connected jumps performed by most of the teamOR2 advanced connected jumps performed by most of the team plus 1 additional advanced jump by majority
4 advanced connected jumps performed by most of the team (must show variety)OR3 advanced connected jumps performed by most of the team (must show variety) plus 1 additional advanced jump by majority
All approaches within the jumps must use a whip approach to be considered connected. Most of the team performing an advanced jump/tumble combination will increase the difficulty and score higher within the ranges. Each skill will be judged in its respective category.
ADVANCED JUMPS = Pike, Right/Left Hurdlers (front or side), Toe Touch, Double Nine
BASIC JUMPS = Spread Eagle, Tuck JumpThe following are considered when scoring difficulty: Degree of difficulty; Percentage of team participation; Variety; Additional skills; Synchronization
Technique = A team’s effectiveness in demonstrating proper form (height, flexibility, landing, body position, pointed toes), timing, uniformity and precision
Little to no formation changes, transitions, and level changesLittle to no variety of motionLack of movement during transitionsBelow average use of floor (footwork, floor work, visual effect, etc.)Basic choreography and/or creativity
Minimal formation changes, transitions, and level changesSome variety of motionMinimal movement during transitionsAverage use of floor (footwork, floor work, visual effect, etc.)Some original and visual materialAverage choreography and/or creativity
Multiple advanced formation changes, transitions, and level changesExcellent variety of motionDifficult foot and body movement during transitionsExcellent use of floor (footwork, floor work, visual effect, etc.)Excellent choreography and/or creativity
Below average energy, musicality, rhythm and pace of music (“and” counts)Little to no formation changes, basic transitions, and level changesLittle to no variety of motionBelow average use of floor (footwork, floor work, visual effect, etc.)Basic choreography and/or creativity
Average energy, musicality, rhythm and pace of music (“and” counts)Minimal formation changes, transitions, and level changes of average complexitySome variety of motion and use of floor(footwork, floor work, visual effect, etc.) Average choreography and/or creativity
High energy, musicality, rhythm, and pace of music (“and” counts)Multiple advanced formations, transitions, and level changesExcellent variety of motion and use of floor (footwork, floor work, visual effect, etc.)Excellent choreography and/or creativity
Below average technique – many with bent wrists and/or poor placementBelow average timing & synchronization
Average technique- some bent wrists and/or placement offAverage timing & synchronization
Excellent technique – proper placement, sharp precisionExcellent timing & synchronization
Technique = Proper body positioning, placement and alignment; clear movements; controlled balance, flow and connection from one skill to the next; powerful and sharp movement
Unclear formationsLittle varietySpacing off throughout routine
Formations demonstrate some good use of floor, alignment, and symmetrySome varietyMinor problems in spacing
Clear, visually effective formationsLarge variety of formationsMinimal/No spacing errors
The following are considered when scoring:
A team’s effectiveness in performing a comprehensive and positive memorable experience
A team’s effectiveness to implement innovative, visual, unique and intricate ideas, incorporations and music
A team’s effectiveness in demonstrating genuine enthusiasm and confidence, and ability to capture the crowd.
Music Copyright Compliance #ICC16
All copyright permissions must be properly and completely obtained by the individual or group that is responsible for creating the routine music for a team. All recordings mixed together in cheer routines should be properly licensed and written confirmation of such licenses should be provided to the Vermont Principals’ Association.
You may use recordings that are purchased from vendors that comply with US Copyright laws or create/commission original works for your team (i.e. an original song and recording to which you own or license the rights by written agreement). Under US Copyright law, no teams are permitted to create a re-mix, mash-up or medley without proper written authorization from the copyright owners.
US Copyright laws apply any time music is not being used for personal use. Purchasing a legal copy of a song (iTunes, CD, Amazon download, etc.) only grants the user private, personal use of the music. If you purchase a recording, that alone does not give you the right to make additional copies or mix the recording with other recordings for any other purpose–including use at school functions or other public performances. Personal use gives you the right to listen to the song, but does not give you any other rights in the bundle of rights to that piece of music, which is why the music should not be copied, modified or used in a public place without additional consent.
However, if teams wish to use only a single song in their routine, they may bring a legally purchased copy of that recording to be used at the event. Teams may not re-mix these recordings in any way (such as adding sound effects, changing tempo or mixing with any other recordings), but you may make minor edits for timing purposes only (i.e. removing a chorus or bridge to fit the duration of the music time limit).
Coaches are responsible for ensuring that the music used by their teams for any public performance and all competitions follows the above guidelines.
Guidelines for Music Providers: