What is cheerleading?

A team spirit

"In this team sport, unity and solidarity are key."

Indeed, in this collective sport, unity and solidarity are key elements!

Cheerleading is an American discipline created in 1988 combining dance, tumbling (gymnastics) and lifts. Each team is made up of several stunts (groups) where different positions are equally important.

In a stunt, there is a Main Base, a Side Base, a Back Spot and a Front Spot; their job is to be solid, stable and, above all, to guarantee the safety of the flyer so that she can perform the various tricks.

Some key points

The figures speak for themselves!

Clubs in France
Awards won

Cheerleading originated in the United States, where it has developed primarily and in 2017 had some 3.85 million participants.

The rise of cheerleading

It gained worldwide recognition with the 1997 broadcast of the International Cheerleading Competition by ESPN and the 2000 worldwide release of the film Bring It On. The number of participants outside the United States is now estimated to be around 100,000, mainly in eleven countries: Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.Royaume-Uni.

Les origines

Cheerleading emerged in the late nineteenth century at men’s colleges in the northeastern United States. The activity was originally practised by white men cheering on their sports teams, particularly American football teams. As the fans of the teams involved regularly fought during games, the substitute players sought to frame them by shouting encouragement and slogans from the sidelines to positively channel the aggressiveness of the crowd.

Cheerleading is not only about motivating teams but also about entertaining the public.


Athletes who practice cheerleading, whether it is competition or animation, are cheerleaders. In France, this term is still not widely used and people tend to speak of “cheerleaders”. This vulgarisation comes from the image sent back by the media and American series which often present cheerleaders as “the girl in a mini-skirt who dances while waving pompoms”. This image is unfortunately very simplistic and does not represent the rigour of this discipline.


We suggest you to discover Cheerleading by breaking the preconceived ideas: “the girl in a mini-skirt who dances while waving pompoms”.

>> Cheerleading is not a sport: False! Cheerleading is a multidisciplinary sport that requires agility, strength, flexibility, rigour and synchronisation. It is composed of elements practiced individually: tumbling (gymnastics on the floor), dance, motions (position of the arms); elements practiced in a group of 2 to 5 people: stunts and elements practiced with more or less the whole team: pyramids! 

> Pompoms: They are indeed part of the history and practice of cheerleading. In competition, for example, teams have 2 minutes and 30 seconds to prove their worth. The choreography, as technical as it is spectacular, is performed to music in an intense rhythm that does not necessarily allow for the use of the pompom.

Would you like to discover this discipline?