Iowa Cheerleading Coaches’ Association NFHS Spirit Rules Meeting. 2010-2011. Please Note!. This PowerPoint DOES NOT take the place of coaches reading and knowing the rules! This presentation should only be used as a reference.
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This PowerPoint DOES NOT take the place of coaches reading and knowing the rules!
This presentation should only be used as a reference.
It is the coach’s responsibility to make sure stunts are legal. Don’t rely on your choreographer to know the rules.
These rules are for ALLIowa cheerleaders (grades 7-12), not just the cheerleaders of coaches who are ICCA members!
The National Federation of State High School Associations has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and activities that help students succeed in their lives.
Rules provide direction.
Rules build awareness.
Rules support activities.
Rules improve activities.
Rules establish a consistent standard.
Rule 2-1-1 “A coach must not permit a team member to participate if in the judgment of the coach, the participant does not conform to the NFHS rules.”
The purpose of the NFHS Spirit Rules is to minimize risk to the participants. For this reason, coaches need to make sure the rules are followed even if the cheerleaders and/or their parents don’t agree with them.
The NF rule book is legally defendable as long as coaches are following the rules, which includes participant readiness.
As with any athletic activity, the coach is responsible for enforcing general risk management rules, recognizing a teams’ particular ability level, and ensuring that team members follow progressions.
Only those skills mastered in practice by being consistently executed safely and correctly should be performed in public.
Coaches are accountable for approving and documenting mastery of skills before allowing participants to progress to the next level or to perform skills in public.
Elite level stunts can be performed safely when appropriate progressions are followed and team members are properly trained and prepared.
Cheerleading is an athletic activity. It’s up to coaches to make sure that this image of cheerleading is upheld.
Coaches should remain cognizant of this image when choosing cheerleading uniforms and approving cheer/dance movements and words for their cheerleaders to perform.
Rule Changes with Rationale
Points of Emphasis
Table of Contents
Index (p. 7)
Philosophy (p. 9)
Rule 1 – Definitions (p. 10)
Rule 2 – General Risk Management (p. 14)
Situations (p. 24) – help clarify the rules
Rule 3 – Dance/Drill/Pom Risk Management (p. 35)
Pictures (p. 44) – help clarify the rules
Suggested Guidelines for Management of Concussions (p. 73)
Handling Contests During Lightning Disturbances (p. 76)
Coaches’ Code of Ethics (p. 77)
Each rule has sections and articles.
New/revised rules are shaded.
Rule 2 & 3 sections and articles typically have a situational ruling(look for * by a rule).
The back of the book has photographs covering some rules/sections/articles (look for P by a rule).
NFHS Spirit Rules
Spirit Rules Changes for 2010-11
An athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion (such as loss of consciousness, headache, dizziness, confusion or balance problems) shall be immediately removed from the contest and shall not return to play until cleared by an appropriate health-care professional. (Please see NFHS Suggested Guidelines for Management of Concussion on page 73).
Supports, braces, etc., which are hard and unyielding or have rough edges or surfaces must be padded with a closed–cell, slow recovery foam padding no less than one-half inch thick. Padded knee and ankle braces which are unaltered from the manufacturer’s original design/production do not require any additional padding. A participant wearing a cast (excluding a properly covered air cast) must not be involved in a stunt.
Comment: Clarification from NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee for all NFHS rules books.
Add exception: 1 ¼ twists are permitted from side-facing stunts.
Comment: Twist cradles from side-facing stunts present only minimally more risk than single twists. The extra ¼ twist allows the flyer to face forward before completing the rotation. This is consistent with 2-13-2, which allows an extra quarter-turn in double twisting cradles.
To be consistent with Rule 2‐13‐2, there was an exception added to Rule 2‐6‐7 regarding stunts involving twists. During stunts, participants are now permitted to do 1 ¼twists from side‐facing stunts.
Suspended splits involving bracer(s) that originate at any height and drop to any level are legal provided all the following conditions are met:
a. The flyer has both hands in contact with the bracer(s).
b. The flyer does not become inverted.
c. The flyer has at least two bases.
d. The flyer and bracer(s) each have a separate spotter.
Exception: Bracers in shoulder sits or thigh stands.
e. In suspended splits when the flyer is not released by the
bases, the bracer(s) must maintain hand/arm contact with
the flyer until she/he is no longer in a split position.
f. In suspended splits when the flyer is released by the
bases, the release must be a continuous vertical up-and-
down movement in which the flyer remains over the
base(s). The bracers must maintain hand/arm contact
with the flyer during the entire loss of contact with the
bases. (Note: See 2-12-1)
COMMENT: Bracers are frequently used in many types of stunts. This rule allows a flyer in suspended splits to have contact with bracer(s) rather than with base(s).
Exception: Dance paws and pedini-style dance shoes that have heels of sufficient height to raise the bottom of the foot off the floor.
COMMENT: Dance paws allow movement of the foot without compromising the look and feel of barefoot dancing. Dance paws also help protect the foot by preventing friction burns and skin tears.
Assisted inverted floor stunts are legal provided both the following conditions are met:
a. The inverted participant is in direct, weight-bearing contact with the performing surface and provides primary self-support throughout the stunt.
b. The assisting non-inverted participant is in direct, weight-bearing contact with the performing surface and provides only partial support for the inverted participant.
COMMENT: Assisted floor stunts are becoming common, especially in hip hop routines. Previously, the only reference to this type of stunt was a situation/ruling in Rule 2.
Major Editorial Changes
a. The flyer maintains hand-to-hand/arm contact with at least one bracer until the flyer is descending.
This editorial change now allows bracers to let go of the flyer once she/he is descending instead of trying to hold on and possibly becoming inverted.
Section 12 has been reorganized to help clarify transitional stunts for coaches.
The section is divided into:
2-12-1 Release transitions
2-12-2 Non-release transitions that involve changing bases
2-12-3 Non-release transitions that donot
involve changing bases
All aspects of a transition stunt MUST be legal.
Interpreting the Legality of Stunts
Coach & Participant Responsibilities
Points of Emphasis
A concussion is a traumatic brain injury that interferes with normal brain function.
An athlete does not have to lose consciousness (be “knocked out”) to have suffered a concussion.
Common Symptoms of Concussion Include:
Slowed thought processes
Difficulty with memory
Lack of energy, tiredness
Dizziness, poor balance
Sensitive to light and sounds
Mood changes – irritable, anxious, or tearful
Suggested Concussion Management:
1. No athlete should return to play (RTP) or practice on the same day of a concussion.
2. Any athlete suspected of having a concussion should be evaluated by an appropriate health-care professional that day.
3. Any athlete with a concussion should be medically cleared by an appropriate health-care professional prior to resuming participation in any practice or competition.
4. After medical clearance, RTP should follow a step-wise protocol with provisions for delayed RTP based upon return of any signs or symptoms.
Although all concussions cannot be prevented, many can be minimized or avoided. Proper coaching techniques and good officiating of the existing rules can minimize the risk of head injury.
It is strongly suggested
that all coaches view
“Concussion in Sports,”
It has been stressed to spirit coaches that they are responsible
for teaching and enforcinggeneral risk management rules,
identifying teams’ ability levels, and following proper
progressions in learning new skills. It is the NFHS’s
responsibility to revise rules to minimize risk whenever trends
indicate a continuation of poor execution of skills resulting in
For this reason, the NFHS
is calling attention to the
fact that double downs/twists
will no longer be allowed at
the high school level after
this year if coaches continue
to allow athletes to perform
this skill with improper
In order to retain double downs/twists in the future, it is imperative that coaches insist upon “perfection before progression” when allowing teams to stunt.
It is suggested that middle school/junior high cheerleaders NOT perform double downs/twists.
Spirit coaches are expected to follow the rules written for the safety of all participants of cheerleading and dance. The spirit rules regarding jewelry (2-2-1 and 3-1-2) apply to all spirit activities, which includes both practices and performance events.
* Nose piercings are not allowed. It is not acceptable to cover any piercing with tape or fill any piercing with a spacer or clear stud.
It is the coach’s responsibility to teach and enforce this rule. Recent fashion trends have coaches and participants questioning this simple ruling with unnecessary challenges.
With the exception of religious and medical medals, examples of jewelry include, but are not limited to: necklaces, bracelets, rings, all facial and body piercings (includes spacers and fishing line), wrist bands, corsages, and hair ties on wrists.This rule is consistent with rules concerning jewelry in the NFHS rule books for other athletic activities.
“No jewelry” means
Wearing jewelry was by far the most frequently violated rule by Iowa cheerleaders this past year.
*Note: Hair ties on wrists are illegal!
Lack of consistency by coaches at all times is the most common reason that the jewelry, hair, nail, and gum rules are violated.
Coach and Participant Responsibilities
The links below list guidelines to serve as useful reminders of basic procedures for both coaches and participants of spirit teams.
*This site includes Partner Stunt Progressions and Tumbling Skill Levels.
Rules Book Correction
p. 60 Suspended Splits
Page 60 had the same exact rule as listed on page 61.
The IHSAA has placed a label with the correct rule (2-8-13 from page 20) over the incorrect rule.
Plans are in place for
emergencies, weather alerts,
fire, power outages, hostile
crowds, transportation, evacuation,
and during events.
a. When thunder is heard, or a cloud-to-ground lightning bolt is
seen, suspend play and take shelter immediately.
b. Once play has been suspended, wait at least 30 minutes after
the last thunder is heard or flash of lightning is witnessed prior
to resuming play (30-minute rule).
c. Any subsequent thunder or lightning after
the beginning of the 30-minute count,
reset the clock and another 30-minute
count should begin.
NFHS Spirit Rule 2-2-2: “Fingernails, including artificial nails, must be kept at an appropriate length (short, near the end of the fingers) to minimize risk for the participants.” ICCA/IHSAA addition: “All nails, including artificial nails, must be cut to a length so that the nail is not visible when the cheerleader holds up her/his hands from the palm side. This is what is considered safe.”
NFHS Spirit Rule 2-2-3: “The hair must be worn in a manner to minimize risk for the participant. Hair devices, if worn, must be secure and appropriate for the activity.” ICCA/IHSAA addition: “All cheerleaders’ hair must be pulled away from the face and off the shoulders: i.e. ponytail. This would be for both stunting and non-stunting squads.”
NFHS Spirit Rule 2-2-7: “Glitter that does not readily adhere on the hair, face, uniform, costume, or the body is illegal. Glitter may be used on signs, props, or backdrops if laminated or sealed.” ICCA/IHSAA addition: “No spray on/roll on glitter. Glitter in eye shadow shouldbe minimal.”
NOTE: These rules will be in effect for ALL Iowa school (grades 7-12) events, including practices, games, meets, tournaments, competitions, and all other events in which school cheerleaders participate.
Rules are not being followed (some competitions say they’re
following them but they really don’t), you may be found liable if
your cheerleaders don’t follow the rules while participating and get
hurt (illegal stunts, spring floors, etc.).
online at cheer company sites, and/or YouTube are legal including
stunts in routines at national competitions. This is why it’s
important for all coaches to know, understand, and follow the NF
catastrophic insurance are IHSAA sponsored events (which
includes the ICCA events) as long as cheerleaders are following
the National Federation Spirit Rules. Cheerleaders are not
covered by the IHSAA at other competitions!
Hair must be secured away from the face. If cheerleaders move their heads, their hair needs to stay out of their faces.
It is not legal for cheerleaders to use their hands to move their hair away from their faces.
Hair tucked behind the ears is not legal, because hair is not secured in this situation.
Short hair that could be in the face needs to be secured back.
Bangs pulled across the forehead, wispies, & chunks of hair beside the face all need to be and stay out of the eyes.
Anytime hair gets in the way of a stunt, it’s illegal. Hair should be off the shoulders for stunting.
Note: Bumpits are illegal.
More information regarding the hair rule is on the ICCA website
Additional rule information can be found on the ICCA website. Coaches are responsible for this information, also.
Rules Most Frequently Violated
Clarifying the Hair Rule
State Rules Regarding Number of Cheerleaders for Playoff Events
Interpreting the Legality of Stunts
We need to rely on the professional integrity of our coaches to make sure all rules are followed.
Coaches must take care of their own cheerleaders so others won’t need to address the rules with them.
Coaches should accept responsibility if their cheerleaders are at fault, rather than blaming others, including those who address the rules violation(s).
Be proactive to help prevent rule violations at your school. Coaches and cheerleaders should welcome visitors to their school and remind them of the rules before they begin cheering.
Our intent isn’t to “catch” cheerleaders not following the rules.
Coaches should talk to the cheerleading coach and/or appropriate administrator of the school in violation of the rules in a courteous mannerbefore reporting the rule violation(s).
present, who is responsible for them.
reported to you by your cheerleaders.
important for the safety of the cheerleaders and the
liability of the coach and school. All schools in Iowa
must follow these rules because they’ve been
adopted by the IHSAA and ICCA for the safety of
addressing rule violations with cheerleaders and
When a school is reported for a rules violation the first or second time, both the coach and one of the school’s administrators will be contacted by Jeanne Ehn or Nancy Huether.
If a school violates the National Federation rules for a third time, the IHSAA will contact the school.
Continued violation of the rules could lead to a cancellation of catastrophic insurance coverage for that school by the IHSAA.
842 7th St. SE
Mason City, IA 50401
firstname.lastname@example.org (on the ICCA website)
All rule questions should be directed to Donna McKay ONLY AFTER you have tried to find the answers in the rules book and/or the Interpreting the Legality of Stunts sheet.
For the State Competition, please send a video or DVD requesting a legality interpretation of a specific stunt(s).
Entire routines will not be reviewed!
The rules interpretation deadline for the State Competition is Saturday, October 23.
late July/early August. It contained the NF Rules Book,
ICCA event paperwork, and other information.
Elisa Kahler at the IHSAA for $10.00 each.
Take Part. Get Set For Life!
notes and comments, to minimize risk.
following the rules.
cheer coaching knowledge.
We look forward to seeing you at ICCA events!
We hope you have a safe and rewarding cheer year!