What is the difference between Cheerleading and Acrobatics and Tumbling?
There are actually 3 definitions to be familiar with to understand the evolution of this sport.
Cheerleading = A group of individuals (team) whose purpose is to support a university or school. This group leads the crowd on the sidelines, serves as ambassadors for the institution at public appearances, etc. A Cheerleading team may compete once or twice a year in a cheer competition format, however, the purpose of this team is to support. A cheerleading team may be co-ed or all female. These teams are also known as rally, sideline, and spirit group.
Competitive Cheer = An evolution of cheerleading into a competitive sport. A competitive cheer team’s purpose is to compete. There may or may not be some crossover with the cheerleading team, but the purpose of the team is to compete on behalf of a school/university or all-star gym. A competitive cheer team competes in a ‘competition format’ where a team will perform a 2 min 30 second routine being scored on a variety of categories that range form skill execution to look of uniform. The scoring varies from competition to competition. A competition can have any number of teams. College club teams fall into this category along with all-star teams. Competitive Cheer can also be co-ed.
Acrobatics and Tumbling = an evolution of the all-female portion of competitive cheer. The purpose is to compete on behalf of a university. There is no cross over with competitive cheer or cheerleading teams. NCATA teams are recognized and treated as true sports at their respective universities and are subject to the same benefits as other NCAA sports within the athletic department. NCATA teams compete in a meet format against 1-3 other teams with a standardized scoring system nationwide. NCATA teams are in compliance and held to the same standards as other sports (i.e. GPA, eligibility, seasons, recruiting guidelines) NCATA teams compete between 6-8 times a year. With a chance to qualify for post season play. Statistics are collected on each athlete throughout the year to name All-Americans, etc.