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Iowa Cheerleading Coaches’ Association NFHS Spirit Rules Meeting - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Iowa Cheerleading Coaches’ Association NFHS Spirit Rules Meeting. 2009-2010. 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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Iowa Cheerleading Coaches’ Association NFHS Spirit Rules Meeting

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Presentation Transcript
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.

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 ICCA members’ cheerleaders!

following the nf spirit rules
Following the NF Spirit Rules
  • 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 you’re following the rules, which includes participant readiness.
awareness of individual and team limitations
Awareness of Individual and Team Limitations
  • 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.
cheerleaders as athletes
Cheerleaders as Athletes
  • 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.
rules book layout
Rules Book Layout

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. 23) – help clarify the rules

Rule 3 – Dance/Drill/Pom Risk Management (p. 34)

Pictures (p. 42) – help clarify the rules

NF Mission Statement (p. 69)

Coaches’ Code of Ethics (p. 74)

NFHS Coach Education (p. 84)

NFHS Publications/Order Blank (p. 87/88)

rule section organization
Rule Section Organization
  • Each Rule has sections and


  • 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


nfhs philosophy
NFHS Philosophy


Maintain sound traditions

Encourage sportsmanship

Minimize risk


Reasonable rules

nfhs rules process
NFHS Rules Process

Rule writing process

  • Rule changes are submitted to NFHS from state offices in November
  • Spirit Rules Committee reviews recommendations for changes in January
  • NFHS administrative staff reviews changes
  • NFHS Board of Directors approves changes
  • NFHS rules books are reviewed and edited for publication in April
  • Rules are in place for the start of the school season
2009 2010 nfhs rules changes
2009-2010 NFHS Rules Changes

2-4-7h p. 16 Swedish Fall Spotting

2-6-2b p. 17 Cradle Dismounts

2-6-7 p. 22 Twist Cradle Dismounts

2-10-5 p. 23 Toe/Leg Pitch Tosses

rule 2 4 7h swedish fall spotting
Rule 2-4-7h Swedish Fall Spotting

New Exception:

A Triple-Base Swedish Fall was added to the list of exceptions in rule 2-4-7 which requires a spotter for all stunts in which the supporting arm(s) of the base(s) is/are fully extended above the head.

rule 2 4 7h rationale
Rule 2-4-7h Rationale

When all three

bases face the

flyer, the front

base is in a better

position of safety

to protect the

flyer if assistance

is needed.

rule 2 6 2b cradle dismounts
Rule 2-6-2b Cradle Dismounts

New Rule:

For all cradle

dismounts, the

flyer must not

hold props (signs,

etc.) that are made

of solid material

and have corners

or sharp edges.

rule 2 6 2b rationale
Rule 2-6-2b Rationale

Holding hard objects while performing cradle dismounts can interfere with the safe execution of the cradle.

rule 2 6 7 twist cradle dismounts
New Rule:

A twist to a cradle involving more than one rotation is permitted only on appropriate mats, grass, rubberized, and soft-yielding surfaces.

Rule 2-6-7 Twist Cradle Dismounts
rule 2 6 7 interpretation
Rule 2-6-7 Interpretation

As with basket tosses, the double twist to a cradle cannot be done on a basketball court, unless the stunt is performed on an appropriate mat.

There is not enough space on the sidelines for tosses on mats at basketball games.

rule 2 6 7 rationale
Rule 2-6-7 Rationale

This change reflects the skill level in high school cheerleading and is consistent with the NFHS focus on risk management.

NOTE: Non-twisting or single-twist cradles are permitted on any appropriate surface. Side facing stunts are only permitted to have 1 ¼ twists on appropriate surfaces since they involved twists over one rotation.

rule 2 10 5 toe leg pitch tosses
Rule 2-10-5 Toe/Leg Pitch Tosses

New Rule:

Toe/leg pitches to a jump or tumbling skill are illegal.

rule 2 10 5 interpretation
Rule 2-10-5 Interpretation

Foot/thigh assisted forward suspended rolls are allowed provided all of the conditions of the forward suspended roll are met.

Video Clip

rule 2 10 5 rationale
Rule 2-10-5 Rationale

This new rule clarifies the intent of last year’s rule change permitting a forward suspended roll from the performing surface.

nfhs spirit rules book points of emphasis
NFHS Spirit Rules Book Points of Emphasis
  • Coaches’


  • Event Security
  • Spring Floors
coaches responsibilities
Coaches’ Responsibilities
  • Professionalism
  • NFHS Spirit Rules


  • Sportsmanship
  • Minimize Risk
  • Read the rule book and situations, including the

notes and comments

  • ALWAYS follow the rules and their intent
  • Comprehend rules to safely and correctly teach

appropriate skills

  • Ensure your participants are

following the rules

  • Be a role model
  • Take classes to increase your

cheer coaching knowledge

  • Be an advocate for sportsmanship
nfhs coach education
NFHS Coach Education

  • Fundamentals of Coaching
  • First Aid for Coaches
  • Sport Specific Courses

Take Part. Get Set For Life!


Sportsmanship begins with the coaches. Coaches not only model respect of self and others, but teach these skills to their cheerleaders.

Cheerleaders follow officials’ requests, and they are examples of appropriate behavior during the national anthem.

  • Practice plan
  • Event plan
  • School policies
  • Administration crisis plan
  • Plans are in place for
  • emergencies, weather alerts,
  • fire, power outages, hostile
  • crowds, transportation, evacuation, accidents, etc.
spring floors
Spring Floors

School teams are

reminded that they are not ever allowed to compete on spring floors.

Coaches should know prior to an event what type of performance surface is available.

concussion safety
Concussion Safety
  • Practice correct and safe

catching and spotting


  • Have consequences for

dropping flyers.

  • Take any hit to the head

very seriously and err

on the side of caution.

  • Good website for information:
heat and hydration
Heat and Hydration
  • Coaches need to educate athletes

on the dangers of energy drinks

(like Red Bull), which are not the

same as sports drinks (such as Gatorade). Athletes should be

encouraged to drink water to re-

hydrate. “Athletes who consume

too many energy drinks could

suffer from dehydration, tremors,

heatstroke, or heart attacks.”

(USA Today – July 2, 2009)

  • Coaches must be aware of the

heat index during the warmer

months and plan accordingly.

weather lightning disturbances
Weather – Lightning Disturbances
  • Assign a staff

member to monitor

  • Develop an

evacuation plan

  • 30/30/30 criteria
  • * See page 71 in
  • rules book
frequently asked spirit rules questions
Frequently Asked Spirit Rules Questions
  • Three high stunts

(Height Limitations)

  • Bracers


  • Inverted stunts

(Partner Stunts/Pyramids)

  • Tumbling with props


  • Loss of contact

(Transitional Stunts)

height limitations
Height Limitations

Q - Is this pyramid legal?

A – No All stunts and pyramids are limited to two high. This pyramid is three high.

Page 16, Rule 2, Section 3



Q – Why isn’t this stunt legal?

A – The bracers are bearing the flyers’ weight.

Page 17, Rule 2,

Section 5,

Article 3

partner stunts pyramids
Partner Stunts/Pyramids

Q - Is this stunt legal?

A - No The flyer did not begin the stunt in an inverted position. She also wasn’t weight-bearing when she was in the inverted position.

Page 18, Rule 2,

Section 8, Article 2b

Video Clip

partner stunts pyramids36
Partner Stunts/Pyramids

Q - Is this stunt legal?

A – Yes The flyer begins her inverted position on the performing surface, and the spotter is protecting the flyer’s head/neck/shoulder area with hands-on support until the flyer is no longer inverted.

Page 18, Rule 2, Section 8, Article 2b

Video Clip

partner stunts pyramids37
Partner Stunts/Pyramids

Q - Why did our team receive a deduction for this stunt?

A - The flyers did not begin the stunt in a weight-bearing, inverted position on the performing surface.

Page 18, Rule 2,

Section 8, Article 2b

Video Clip

partner stunts pyramids38
Partner Stunts/Pyramids
  • Q - Why is this stunt
  • illegal?
  • A - The flyer must have both
  • hands in constant contact
  • with bases not bracers during
  • the suspended splits. All
  • stunts in a transition must
  • still follow their specific rules.
  • Page 19, Rule 2,
  • Section 8, Article 12b

Video Clip

rolls tumbling

Q - Can teams perform cartwheels with poms in

their hands?

A - NoTumbling over a prop is ILLEGAL.

Exception: A forward roll over a prop is legal.

Page 20, Rule 2, Section 9, Article 3

Situation Ruling on Page 31, 2.9.3B

base bracer and transitional stunts
Base/Bracer and Transitional Stunts

Q – Why is this stunt illegal?

A – The bracers are bearing the flyers’ weight.

Page 17, Rule 2,

Section 5, Article 3

The flyers’ centers of gravity are not over the bases.

Page 21, Rule 2,

Section 11, Article 1a

transitional stunts
Transitional Stunts

Q - Is this stunt legal?

A – YesHowever, when the extension preps have their backs to the audience, they could receive a penalty for significantly increasing the height of the flyers.

Page 22, Rule 2,

Section 12, Article 1i

Video Clip

rules most frequently violated this information is on the icca website www iowacheercoaches org
Rules Most Frequently ViolatedThis information is on the ICCA website -

2-1-2 Only members of the school’s spirit team may participate in games/contests. No little cheerleaders, honorary/guest cheerleaders, OR fans out of the stands! Also, only the cheerleaders actually cheering at that game/meet may be on the floor NOT cheerleaders from other seasons/sports.

2-1-8 Stunts are not permitted during basketball and volleyball games when the ball is in play, including all free throw situations. Tumbling is considered stunting.Be sure to follow rules for warming up when an alternative gym is not available. It is not legal to stunt in the dark (such as darkened gyms during introductions).

2-1-10 Cheerleaders can’t be on the floor during 20 or 30-second timeouts in basketball and volleyball.

2-1-12 Participants are not permitted to have gum or candy in their mouths while cheering.

2-1-13 Cheerleaders must not stand behind the free throw lane extended (picture p. 41).

2-2-1 Wearing any jewelry is prohibited AT ALL TIMES (including practices) except religious or medical medals which shall be taped to the body (without a chain) under the apparel. All silicon bracelets, hair ties, belly button rings, spacers, tongue studs, upper ear cartilage rings, safety pins, corsages, friendship bracelets, spirit pins, etc. are considered jewelry and must be removed. Jewelry cannot be taped over; and fishing line, etc. cannot be put through the pierced holes.Wrestling cheerleaders may not have pins on their uniforms, pillows, or on the floor near them. Coaches also need to remove jewelry when participating.

rules most frequently violated cont
Rules Most Frequently Violated Cont.

2-2-2 Fingernails, including acrylic nails, need to be cut. If you can see the nails while looking at the palm of the hand, the nails should be cut (ICCA/IHSAA rule). All participants need to have their nails cut at all times, not just stunting squads. Participating coaches need to cut nails, also.

2-2-3 Hair devices shall be safe and secure. The hair shall be worn in a manner to ensure safety while performing. All members of a squad shall wear their hair pulled away from the face and off the shoulders (ICCA/IHSAA rule). Metal barrettes that are small and flat are legal – banana clips and large floppy bows with streamers are not legal. It is not legal to tuck hair behind the ears – hair needs to be SECURED away from the face – this includes bangs falling into the eyes. “Bumpit” hair inserts are not legal.

Section 2-4 Inattentive persons are not considered spotters. A spotter must be in the proper position (with arms extended toward the flyer’s head/shoulders) to prevent injuries (close enough to the stunt and in proper area). A spotter’s torso may not be under a stunt. A person is not a spotter if he/she grabs the sole of the top person’s foot or grabs the hands of the base(s) beneath the top person’s foot.

2-5-3 A bracer shall not provide primary support. The stunt should be solid without the bracer. Top people in a stunt should have their weight directly above their bases and not leaning toward the bracer.

rules most frequently violated cont44
Rules Most Frequently Violated Cont.

2-8-2b All inverted stunts mustbegin from a weight-bearing position on theperforming surface. A base or spotter must protect the head/neck/ shoulder area of the flyer and must maintain contact with the flyer untilthe flyer is no longer inverted. Use the checklist for Inverted Stunts to make sure all inverted stunts are legal.

2-10-3 Basket tosses must not involve more than four tossers, including the person who may set or “load” the top person.

2-12-1 When performing transitional stunts, ALL conditions must be met to be legal. Every stunt executed during the transition, must be performed legally according to the rules of that particular stunt. Use the checklist for Interpreting Loss of Contact Transitions to make sure all transitional stunts are legal.

  • If you attend a competition and the National Federation Spirit 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.).
  • Coaches are reminded that not all stunts you see on television, 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 rules.
  • The only activities where cheerleaders are covered by the IHSAA 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!
NF/ICCA/IHSAA SPIRIT RULESThis information is on the ICCA website - www.iowacheercoaches.orgIt was also included in the fall mailing.
  • 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.”
  • NFHS Spirit Rule 2-11-2: “A helicopter is legal provided all the following conditions are met…” ICCA/IHSAA addition: “Helicopters will be considered legal provided that they’re performed on appropriate mats, grass, rubberized and soft-yielding surfaces. This is the same ruling as for other multi-based tosses.“
  • Rule Suggestion – Insulin Packs: “Insulin packs must be placed strategically, covered with a pad, and secured so they won’t dislodge during activity. A written evaluation needs to be received from the doctor before a cheerleader with an insulin pack may cheer and/or stunt.”
  • 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.
clarifying the hair rule this information is on the icca website www iowacheercoaches org
Clarifying the Hair RuleThis information is on the ICCA website -

Pulling hair away from the face situations:

1.   Hair in a ponytail and bangs (which would have been in the eyes) secured away from the face – legal

2.   Hair in a high ponytail that is long and goes down the back – legal

3.   Hair in pigtails or side ponytail that does NOT touch the shoulders – legal

4.  Hair in a low back ponytail at the base of the nape of the neck – legal

5. Short hair with hair that could be in face secured away – legal

6.  Hair in a side ponytail that goes onto or touches the shoulders – illegal

7.  Hair in pigtails that touches the shoulders – illegal

Bangs pulled across forehead, wispies, & chunks of hair beside face:

1. The above hair situations - out of eyes and if necessary soundly secured away from the face – legal

2.  Hair that falls into the face while cheering, stunting, or tumbling – illegal

3.  How do you know if it’s illegal? 

If you have to: 

A.  Move your head to move it away from your face – illegal

B.  Use your hand to move it away from your face – illegal

C.  Tuck it behind your ears – illegal

clarifying the hair rule cont
Clarifying the Hair Rule Cont.


Any time the hair gets in the way of a stunt, it is illegal. The hair should be off the shoulders for stunting.


  • Fix your hair before practices, games/meets, and performances so you don't have to worry about it.
  • Look like an All-American cheerleader all the time, not just at competition or tournament time.

The following rules for cheerleaders are in effect at playoff events. During the season, the number of high school cheerleaders at an event may be higher IF space is available, and IF the school and/or conference allow it.

Cheerleaders at both boys and girls events may use signs (to lead cheers), poms, and megaphones. Fans may not have signs in the crowd or poms with sticks for handles. No one may have artificial noisemakers and laser pens. This includes items that clap together to make noise and synchronized ringing of cell phones.


Eight cheerleaders (all in uniform) will be admitted free to football playoff games, but any number may cheer. They just need to pay their own admission.


Six cheerleaders (all in uniform), which includes the mascot, may cheer at girls’ volleyball sectionals, districts, regionals, and state. These cheerleaders must cheer the entire meet without substitutions. Cheerleaders may be on the floor during the regular season, IF a gym has ample space so that cheerleaders are not in a playable area. Volleyball players are allowed to play a ball until it hits the wall or enters the bleachers, so it’s recommended that cheerleaders remain in the bleachers until a time out or between games to avoid being in a playable area. Cheerleaders at the state meet will not be allowed anywhere on the playing floor during play.

state rules regarding number of cheerleaders cont


Six cheerleaders plus a mascot (all in uniform) may cheer at boys’ basketball and swimming sectionals, districts, regionals, and state. These cheerleaders must cheer the entire game/meet without substitutions.


Six cheerleaders (all in uniform) may cheer at wrestling sectionals, districts, regionals, and state. No mascots are allowed. These cheerleaders must cheer the entire meet without substitutions. Cheerleaders must not have pins on their uniforms, on the side of the mat, or on pillows. Cheerleaders should also be conscious of space limitations when bringing pillows to the side of the mat (especially at tournaments).


Six cheerleaders (all in uniform), which includes the mascot, may cheer at girls’ basketball sectionals, districts, regionals, and state. These cheerleaders must cheer the entire game/meet without substitutions. Cheerleaders are not allowed at girls’ state swimming because of the lack of space


Some conferences may have their own rules, so be sure to ask your athletic director if you have any questions. For example, in the CIML Conference, hoops and signs for players to run through are not allowed because of the chance of injury.

preventing rules violations
Preventing Rules Violations

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 must talk to the cheerleading coach and/or appropriate administrator of the school in violation of the rules in a courteous mannerbefore contacting Jeanne Ehn or Nancy Huether.

Rule violations will not be dealt with unless this is done!

if you see a rule violation
If You See a Rule Violation
  • Ask cheerleaders if their coach is present and, if not

present, who is responsible for them.

  • Be sure YOU see the violation and it’s not one just

reported to you by your cheerleaders.

  • Let the coach know that following the NF rules is

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

Iowa cheerleaders.

  • Remember to becalm, positive, and tactfulwhen

addressing rule violations with cheerleaders and


reporting rule violations
Reporting Rule Violations
  • Report violations to:
  • Jeanne Ehn ( or
  • Nancy Huether (
  • right away so violations are handled in a timely manner. Their emails are also available on the ICCA website.
    • Only coaches who have attended a rules meeting may report violations.
rule interp contact information
Rule Interp Contact Information

Donna McKay

842 7th St. SE

Mason City, IA 50401 (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.

Please send a video or DVD for interpretation of the legality of a specific stunt(s). Entire routines will not be reviewed.

The deadline for rules interpretations for the State Competition is Saturday, October 24.

final information
Final Information
  • The fall mailing was sent out to all Iowa high schools in

late July/early August. It contains the NF Rules Book,

ICCA event paperwork, and other information.

  • Paperwork deadline for State, Honor Squad, All-State Postmarked by Monday, September 28
  • ICCA Coaches’ Conference
  • Friday, April 9 –Saturday, April 10
  • ICCA Website
  • Extra rules books may be obtained from Elisa Kahler at

the IHSAA for $7.20 each.

thank you for your attendance
Thank You For Your Attendance!

We hope you have a great year!

We look forward to seeing you at the ICCA events!