Is Cheer a Sport?


Kennedy's JV cheer team takes the mat at UCA Nationals in Orlando, Florida.

Would you get tired from doing sprints and drills on the court for two hours a day? Wouldn’t you also get tired from lifting, tumbling and jumping for two hours day? Both demanding physical activities, cheerleading is as much of a sport as basketball or football. There are many reasons why people generally think that cheerleading is not a sport, but these reasons are wrong.

Cheerleading is a physical activity that involves a team, rules, and competition to score points in order to win. These characteristics of cheerleading also describe other sports. Rules such as staying in-bounds on a mat also pertain to many other competitive sports. Cheerleading is also a physical workout, and cheerleaders must train hard and get exercise just like other athletes. It requires whole-body strength in order to lift a person, or balance when being lifted in the air for stunts. Studies also show that the frequency of injuries such as sprains and concussions related to cheerleading is about equal to other sports. Out of all sports, the only sport that ranks higher in the number of serious injuries is football (for girls’/women’s sports, cheerleading is number one).

On top of the physical aspects, cheerleading should be considered a sport because of the equipment and uniforms needed. Many people might say cheerleading is not a sport because it does not involve a ball. But again neither does track, swimming and wrestling. Cheerleaders instead practice with pompoms, signs, flags, and other equipment. People also argue that it is not a sport is because cheerleaders must try to look pretty by wearing makeup and skirts, and coordinating hairstyles. Cheerleaders need to do these things because in addition to their routine, they are judged on how neat and clean their appearance is. Just as other athletes must wear a specific uniform, cheerleaders have to look the part in their own way.

Cheerleading is a sport that is competitive and challenging, and it deserves the same respect that we give to any other sport.