Make your own free website on Tripod.com
About Me
THE HISTORY OF CHEERLEADING
Home | BECOMING A CHEERLEADER - PART 1 | Learn How To Become A Cheerleader Part 2 | CONDITIONING FOR MANEUVERS | GYMNASTICS | IS CHEERLEADING A SPORT? | GOING FROM GOOD TO GREAT! | THE HISTORY OF CHEERLEADING | CHEERLEADING TERMINOLOGY | CHEERLEADING TRYOUTS | YOU KNOW YOU ARE A CHEERLEADER WHEN...

Cheerleading is a group activity that combines organized routines with dance or gymnastics to cheer on sports teams at games. Cheerleading is also a very competitive sport with competitions all over the country.

The sport of cheerleading began at Princeton University in the 1880s with a simple crowd chant of "Rah, rah, rah, tiger, tiger, tiger, sis, sis, sis, boom, boom, boom, ahhhh, Princeton, Princeton, Princeton," as a school spirit booster at football games. Not too long after that, a Princeton graduate came up with the idea of organized crowd chanting, while a student at the University of Minnesota. In 1898 that student stood in front of a crowd and directed them in a chant, he was the first cheerleader. The first cheerleading squad was a group of four male students, called a "Yell Leader" squad.

Females did not start to participate in the sport until the 1920s. They began because there were very little female sports. By the 1940s cheerleading was largely considered a female activity.

Cheerleading clinics began in 1948, a person by the name of "Lawrence "Herkie" Herkimer formed the National Cheerleading Association. The first clinic held in 1949 with 52 females attending. By the next year, the clinic had attracted 350 girls. By the 1950s most all American high schools had cheerleading squads.

By 1960, cheerleading had grown enormously; organized cheerleading competitions began to form with the "Top Ten College Cheerleading Squads" and "Cheerleader All America" awards given out by the International Cheerleading Foundation (now the World Cheerleading Association or WCA) in 1967. In 1978, everyone became introduced to competitive cheerleading with the first broadcast of Collegiate Cheerleading Championships.

The 1980s brought modern cheerleading, with difficult stunts and gymnastics skills incorporated into routines. Cheerleading organizations started applying safety guidelines and offering courses on safety training for coaches and sponsors. In 1984, Cheer Ltd. Inc. [sic] established the National Cheer Conference (NCC) for cheer coaches to receive instruction and hands-on course work in cheerleading techniques.

The industry leaders united with the establishment of SITA, the Spirit Industry Trade Association. Founded by leaders of nine major cheerleading companies, the industry trade association includes cheerleading companies, affiliate companies, and safety organizations. Another trade organization, OSIP, the Organization of Spirit Industry Providers, consists of over 33 member organizations.

The August 2005 death of Ashley Burns, a 14-year-old cheerleader, when practicing a stunt drew attention to the risks in the development of cheerleading stunts.

Recently, the National Federation of High Schools, Universal Cheerleaders Association and the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Advisors developed and promoted the NF Coaches Education Program. On the college level, the NCAA recently required that all college cheerleading coaches are AACCA safety certified by August 1, 2006.

Today, cheerleading has grown to about 4 million participants in the United States alone.