We know administrating a cheer program can present challenges for some activity directors and administrators. The ICCA is here to assist and answer questions to help make it a positive experience. The ICCA believes that the Athletic Director and school administration are pivotal in the success of a cheer program.
The purpose of this page is to provide cheer information for athletic directors and administrators so their questions are answered. We have supplied a variety of links here to more in-depth information. Feel free to explore the rest of the ICCA website as well. If your question isn’t answered, please contact one of the ICCA Executive Directors for more assistance.
Athletes and Coaches
The ICCA considers cheerleaders to be athletes (not performers) and cheer coaches are considered athletic coaches. It should make an athletic directors’/administrators’ job easier to treat cheerleaders and cheer coaches the same as other athletes and athletic coaches. Expect cheer coaches to conduct themselves as other coaches do in their programs (both cheerleaders and coaches dressed out for athletic practices, coaches have a written practice plan, etc). Expect an athletic physical from cheerleaders, just as the school would expect from any athlete.
The head coach is in charge of the entire program (like other athletic programs). This might mean that the head fall and head winter coaches need to work together to be consistent.
As with all coaching, the more educated your coach, the less likely problems will arise. It is the coach’s/coaches’ professional responsibility to fully comprehend the Spirit Rules so they can correctly teach the appropriate skills to their athletes.
The ICCA provides several educational opportunities to ICCA cheer coaches. The ICCA Newsletter is offered as part of our yearly membership and is published quarterly. It is full of information to assist cheer coaches with the daily organization and management of their cheer program.
The ICCA Spring Conference occurs the first Friday and Saturday of April (unless Easter falls on that weekend). Educational opportunities include AACCA Safety Certification, in which the IHSAA provides partial payment for the coaches’ tuition, as well as educational classes provided by national speakers and Iowa’s best cheer coaches. Sending your cheer coaches will lower their liability and your school’s liability.
Free Clinics are held each August in several locations around Iowa. Cheerleaders not only receive cheer education, but coaches do as well. A school/coach must be a member of the ICCA to attend.
Events for Cheerleader Education
Events That Recognize Cheerleaders
All-State Tryouts and the All State Squad
All Iowa Honor Squad
Iowa High School Cheerleading State Championships
Iowa Shrine Bowl
Membership: How and Why to Join the Iowa Cheerleading Coaches’ Association (ICCA)
The ICCA has one membership fee of $40 for ALL cheer coaches in a school including junior high cheer coaches, assistant cheer coaches, and head cheer coaches. It will be helpful to have all contact information for coaches before going to this link as it is needed for registration.
Online Rules Meeting and Concussion Video Training
All cheer coaches should complete the online rules meeting plus the concussion video to help keep their athletes safe and reduce the school and coach liability.
The Iowa Administrative Code does not require cheer and dance coaches to have authorizations or endorsements (this is the reason why they do not have BoEE numbers) so they are not required to take the Concussion Training for the State. The ICCA feels all cheer coaches should still take the training each year, and is requiring coaches entering cheerleaders into ICCA Events to take the training. Cheer coaches should be sure they print the certificate of course completion at the end as it is required by ICCA for registration. ICCA recommends they make three copies: one for ICCA, one for the athletic director, and one for their personal records. Both the Online Rules Meeting and the Concussion Training are linked on the ICCA website.
Overuse injuries are becoming a common problem for cheerleaders. If this is happening to your cheerleaders recommend to the coach that they cut back on the intensity, duration, and frequency of activities/skills that lead to these injuries. Some examples are tumbling, or practices where stunting and jumping are worked on for long periods of time.
Recognizing the Ability Level of Your Cheerleaders and Stunt Progressions
Each cheer coach needs to recognize the ability level of their cheer squads and check off each cheerleader’s skill progressions through written records. Each progression should be consistently performed ten times perfectly before a cheerleader(s) is/are allowed to move to the next progression. If the coach does not feel the cheerleader(s) is/are ready to perform the stunt or skill in public, it is the coach’s responsibility to hold them at the progression until the coach feels the cheerleader(s) is/are safe. If a coach has no idea how to teach stunting, the ICCA recommends the squad be ground bound until proper education can be administered to the coach and cheerleaders. This will reduce injuries and lower the school’s liability. See Spirit Rules #8: Progessions: Partner Stunts
Requirements and guidelines for cheer uniforms which were approved by the IHSAA Board of Control in 2015, were sent out in the fall mailing from the IHSAA.
Our goal is for high school cheerleaders to wear uniforms and accessories appropriate for depicting an “All-American” image both for student-athletes of high school age and the high school educational environment with cheerleaders displaying an overall appearance conducive to serving as public representatives and ambassadors of their school. It is not appropriate for cheerleaders to wear shorts, T-shirts, and football jerseys while cheering a game/match. Teams should be in a school issued uniform. See “Cheer Uniform Requirements and Recommendations” on the Spirit Rules Page
Still have questions?
Check out our Board Contact page, or contact any one of the three ICCA Executive Directors:
Jeanne Ehn at home 641-366-2914 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Donna McKay at home 641-432-1556 or email: email@example.com
Kenna Johnson at 515-250-8968 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org