- Know the Regulations
Though regulations will usually remain consistent from one competition to the next within one particular company, when switching organizations or companies that often times is not true. Most regulations by different organizations or companies will have the same basis for their rules, but have subtle alterations that can affect your overall score depending on your performance or choreography.Example:
- Competition A may allow for team members to step off the mat during a performance and competition B may give a point deduction for that infraction.
- Competition A may allow for all music and require a voice over and competition B may require a timed portion of your routine be set aside for cheer only with no music and the remainder of the routine using music.
Always compare all the individual regulations of each and every competition to highlight and prepare for those variations. There are often times choices you can make to adjust appropriately. You can choreograph one routine based on the regulations you prefer and only register in competitions that meet those regulations or create a base routine that can be easily molded into both styles, in essence creating two different routines that are almost identical with minor adjustments that remain compliant with either style and competition.
- Know the Judging System
Each company or organization has its own method of judging. Categories may vary and the point values for particular skills performed may also have different point values associated with them.Example:
- Competition A may assign equal maximum point values for each category of skills (jumps, tumbling, cheer, dance, stunts, etc.) and competition B may assign one or two categories higher maximum point values and the remaining categories lower point values.
- Competition A may consider a particular stunt (i.e. a heel stretch) as an advance skill with a high point value and competition B may consider the same stunt as an intermediate skill with a medium point value.
Choreographing a routine that will score really high at one competition may score mid-range at another, therefore choreograph a routine with a variety of skills in each category that will allow it to score well under any system.
- Know the Division Breaks
Competitions will often vary in the size break and age requirements for their divisions. This will require adjustments in your routine from one competition to the next.Example:
- Competition A may limit medium varsity at 16 team members and competition B may limit medium varsity at 15 members.
- Competition A may allow 7th - 12th grade to participate in a varsity division and competition B may limit varsity to 9th - 12th grade only.
Know these variations in advance so you can choreograph a routine that is easily adjustable. Meaning, your routine is designed to compensate easily if you add or subtract a team member. Another option is to adjust your tryout process, changing the number of team members you accept on the competition team according to the most common division rules you will compete under.