Cheer Team Rules Cheer Team Rules Music Festivals & Tours

Each Squad will have two and one half minutes to demonstrate its cheerleading style and expertise. Timing will begin with the first movement, voice, or music.

Each squad's presentation must include at least one cheer or sideline chant. The musical portion of the presentation may not exceed one minute and fifteen seconds.  However, school divisions now have the option of performing their routine to all music with chants over the music. 

See rules below:

Specific To All-Star Cheer Divisions & School Divisions that opt to perform to an all music routine.

  • The total routine time cannot exceed 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Routines may be choreographed to all music or they may contain cheers and\or chants. Chants may also be used with music or during the musical routine. The amount of time given to the cheer and chant portion within a routine is completely left up to the coach-coaches should design the content of a routine to best match and showcase the talent found on the team.
  • There should not be any organized exits after the official ending of the routine. All introductions (tumbling, entrances, chants, spell-outs, stunts, etc.) are considered part of the routine and will be timed as part of the performance.
  • The competition area for all divisions will be approximately forty (40) feet wide by forty (40) feet deep. Cheer & Dance/Drill Team America does not use Spring Floors for the Cheerleading portion of the competition. Squads must start in the competition area.
  • If a sign or prop is thrown outside the performing area, that squad will receive a one point per judge deduction for each violation. Signs or props may be placed or dropped outside the performing area by a squad member who must remain inside the performing area.

Partner Stunt/Pyramids

  • All pyramids and partner students are limited to two persons high. "Two" high is defined as the base (bottom person) having at least one foot on the ground.
    Partner students and pyramids higher than shoulder-stand level must have a continuous spotter for each person over shoulder-stand level. Spotters are considered part of the squad with regard to the squad member limitations.
  • When one stunt is bracing another, one of the stunts must be shoulder height or below. Exception: Extensions may brace other extensions.
  • If a person in a partner stunt or pyramid is used as a brace for an extended stunt, the brace must not be supporting a majority of the top person's weight. The top person must have their leg in a bent or stretch position ("stretch position" means that the leg is at least 45 degrees from the body line).
  • Vaults are prohibited.
  • Basket tosses or similar tosses are limited to no more than four tossers and must be dismounted to a cradle position by two of the original bases plus an additional spotter at the head and shoulder area.
    Participants may not pass over or under other participants from basket tosses or similar tosses.
  • Tosses that land in stunts (i.e. toss to hands, basket to elevator, etc. are allowed). Tosses cannot land in a loading position for another stunt or toss, nor can they significantly exceed the height of the intended stunt.
    Partner stunts and pyramids may not pass over, under, or through other partner stunts or pyramids.
  • Cradle dismounts from double-based partner stunts and pyramids over shoulder stand level must use three catchers. Cradle dismounts from single based partner stunts over shoulder-stand height must use two catchers.
    Cradle dismounts which involve a jump, twist, or other gymnastic skill require a spotter in addition to the original base(s). Cradle dismounts from all extended stunts, require a spotter in addition to the original base(s).
  • All backward dismounts from partner stunts or pyramids must use three catchers. The execution of any gymnastic skill (jump, twist, etc.) during a backward dismount is prohibited.
  • Forward suspended rolls are allowed provided the base(s) have their feet on the ground and the top person and the base(s) maintain hand to hand contact throughout the skill.
  • Backward suspended rolls are prohibited.
  • Twists greater than two rotations in stunts, tosses, or dismounts are prohibited.
  • Helicopter tosses are prohibited.
  • Single based split catches are prohibited.
  • Free-falling flips or swan dives from any type of toss, partner stunt, or pyramid are prohibited.
  • Knee drops are prohibited.
  • Tensions rolls and tension drops are prohibited.
  • Toe pitch and leg pitch flips are prohibited.


  • Dive rolls are prohibited. A dive roll is defined as a forward roll where your feet leave the ground before your hands reach the ground.
  • Flips greater than two rotations are prohibited.
  • Twists greater than two rotations are prohibited.
  • A forward three-quarter flip to the seat or knees is prohibited.
  • The use of mini-trampolines, springboards, or any height increasing apparatus is prohibited.
  • Participants may not tumble over or under individuals or over, under, or through partner stunts or pyramids.
  • Participants may not land in a partner stunt or catching position from a tumbling skill. (Example: A back flip from a tumbling pass into a cradle position is prohibited.)
  • Landing for all jumps must bear weight on at least one foot. (Example: A toe touch to a hurdler position, to the seat, knees, or landing with both feet back is prohibited.)
  • High Kicks to a hurdler position are prohibited.
  • Any squad in violation of these Specific Safety Regulations will be assessed a ten (10) point per judge deduction for each violation. CHEER & DANCE/DRILL TEAM America officials reserve the right to disqualify any squad that grossly violates these rules and regulations.
  • All Cheerleading Squads must provide at least two (2) people to serve as spotters. If coaches elect not to supply spotters all liability and responsibility is assumed by the coach. Cheer & Dance/Drill Team America does not supply spotters.
  • All partner stunts must have a continuous spotter.

Judging Criteria

The judges will score the squads according to the judging criteria on a 100 point system. In keeping with the proper role of cheerleading, emphasis will be based on the practicality of material.

  • Motion Technique - 10 points
  • Strength of Motions (arms, legs), Angles, Style Team Precision - 10 points
  • Uniformity of Team, Transitions, Timing Cheer - 10 points
  • Voices, Jumps, Use of Props Skills - 10 points
  • Variety, Memory, Lack of Errors Formation - 10 points
  • Spacing, Use of Floor, Variety in Formation Choreography & Variety - 15 points
  • Creativity of Choreography, Appropriateness of Music, Use of Motion (poms, ground work, kicks, jumps) Difficulty - 10 points
  • Degree of Difficulty, Difficulty of Fundamentals, Choreography, Precision Projection - 10 points
  • Facial Expressions, Volume, Clarity Overall Performance - 15 points
  • Overall Execution, Crowd Appeal, Confidence (eye contact)

Time Limits

  • The performance time limit for cheerleading squads is a minimum of 1 minute to a maximum of 2 1/2 minutes in length.
  • The timing of performance begins with the first movement, cheer, or music.
  • Timing will end when it is evident that the routine has concluded.

The above times do not include entering, set-up, and exit from the floor.

More rules and regulations are listed in the Coaches/Director's Guide that will be emailed to you upon receipt of your application.

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