Cheerleading is often viewed as a glamorous side attraction that supports sports and athletic teams in competition; a simple, vigorous activity to encourage partisan spectators. Actually, cheerleading is much more. Although similar to school team cheerleaders warming up the crowd at school sports days or swimming galas, competitive cheerleading is a skilled activity requiring members’ dedication, good coaching and considerable time and resources to form a successful team.
Competitive cheerleading is an exciting and challenging sport that involves music, dance, cheers, tumbling, stunts, and other physical movements. Participation in competitive cheerleading also encourages a positive attitude, healthy lifestyle, and discipline; and develops confidence in its practitioners. Originating in the United States in the 1880s, cheerleading as a support activity for competitive sport quickly moved around the world. In particular, Asian countries are achieving outstanding results in the international arena.
Starting from the ancient age, before going to war or hunting, there was already a tradition of cheering up each other.
The first organized cheerleading team was initiated at a university of America in 1890s and it marked the history of Cheerleading. Initially, cheerleading was set up to support sport events e.g. American Football, Basketball and Baseball.
In the 1920s, cheerleading teams started to incorporate jumping skills and tumbling into their dance. They also began performing pom-pon routines and using paper pompons.
Starting from the 1970s, the contents of cheerleading performance enriched abundantly, from acclamations, slogans, thigh dance, jazz to performing stunts. In late 1970s, cheerleading began to receive recognition as a serious athletic activity with all the skills required for dance, tumbling, stunts and cheers.
Today, cheerleading has become one of the hippest sports in the world. It has been widely developed in more than 40 countries such as the United States, Japan and Europe.
Since the fundamental values of cheerleading symbolize spirit, inspiration, cooperation and passion, cheerleaders should possess many outstanding personal characteristics such as team glory, heart inspiration, obedience, positive pursuit, vigor and passion. In some countries, cheerleaders have to excel in school works before they can join the school teams. If their school works regress, they have to leave the teams. After graduation, those who have been cheerleaders are highly priced by enterprises. In reality, some companies actually prefer enrolling graduates who are previously cheerleaders. Cheerleaders have become self-models for the youth. Cheerleading has created a supportive, positive thinking and cheerful environment for the younger generation.