Inside the world of cheerleading in the UK

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Throughout June, the Sport and Recreation Alliance will be sharing insight into some of the most captivating sports and activities in the UK by touching on the brilliant work of our members.

To kick-start the series, we got in touch with Pat Hawkins, chief executive of the UK Cheerleading Association, to learn more about one of the fastest-growing sports in the country.

How would you describe Cheerleading?

Cheerleading is a fun sport, accessible to all, where individuals can come together as part of an extended family. It can be both recreational and competitive and there are several disciplines under the one umbrella:

  1. Cheerleading (includes vocal skills, stunting, tumbling, dance and jumps)
  2. Cheer Dance (technical dance elements combined with the cheer style arms and jumps using pom poms)
  3. Pom Dance (can be any style of dance cleverly choreographed to create an entertaining routine using pom poms)
  4. Urban Cheer (street style dance skills using pom poms)
Cheerleading ()

How does the scoring system work?

There are five judges on a panel and the score sheet is divided into the individual cheerleading skills required for the discipline. Each of our highly qualified national and international judges from around the country score a competing team on all of the skills. The highest and lowest scores are discarded and the remaining three judge's scores added to give a final total.

Why should people give it a go?

Cheerleading promotes teamwork, friendship and fun, whilst setting individual goals, both physical and mental, to enhance wellbeing.

It's the sport of smiles🙂

Volunteering Cheerleading ()


How can someone get involved?

If you want to learn the skills of Cheerleading, look for a club in your local area.

If you would like to get involved in coaching, we have many courses available to give you the relevant qualifications across the cheerleading disciplines.

You could even get involved by volunteering at a local club or at one of our many events throughout the year.

Is there a disability option?

Yes, UKCA has a Disability Enhancement Module for our qualified coaches and we also offer disability categories at our competitions.

Cheerleading is fully inclusive and there are many individuals with disabilities who are members of regular clubs and compete at our events.

Disability Cheerleading ()

Can I take it to a professional level? 

All aspects of cheerleading can be taken to a professional level, from performance to coaching, tutoring, judging and officiating.  

How do you see your sport developing in the years ahead?

Over the last 18 years, Cheerleading in the UK has evolved from small individual teams, predominantly linked to dance schools, to large competitive squads and curriculum based learning in many schools.

Due to its encompassing accessibility to all, we believe that cheerleading will continue to grow exponentially through the UKCA development programme, which takes athletes from grassroots through to National, European and World Championships.

Check out the video below of the UKCA National Championships which were held in Manchester earlier this year.


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