In an effort to insure the safety of the cheerleaders in the Diocese of Trenton, the following guidelines have been written to help prevent cheerleading injuries. The following rules and regulations are being distributed to all schools and parishes in the Diocese of Trenton. These rules are set according to the National Federation of State High School Associations, The American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Advisors, and the Diocesan Insurance regulations.

1. Cheerleaders must have medical examinations before they are allowed to participate. The appropriate medical information should be provided to the coach for each cheerleader

2. Cheerleaders should be trained by a qualified coach with specific training in stunting. This person should also be trained in the proper methods for spotting and other safety factors. At least one coach for every squad should have AACCA Safety Certification. Beginning with the 2007 season this certification will be mandatory.

3. Cheerleaders should be exposed to proper conditioning programs and trained in proper spotting techniques.

4. Cheerleaders should receive proper training before attempting gymnastic type stunts and should not attempt stunts they are not capable of completing A QUALIFICATION SYSTEM DEMONSTRATING MASTERY OF STUNTS IS RECOMMENDED.

5. Coaches should supervise all practice sessions in a safe facility:

a.) Facility Size

1.) Be sure that the facility is of sufficient size (length, width, height) for the proposed activity

2.) The more participants, the more involved the activity the larger the performance area needed

3.) Whenever there is doubt, assume the size of the facility is inadequate and act accordingly

b.) Walls

1.) Any protrusions, obstructions, or columns should be properly and safely padded

2.) The location of doorways, windows and mirrors should be carefully considered in relation to all cheerleading activities, particularly tumbling

3.) There must be adequate space between tumbling runways, partner stunt areas, pyramid building areas and walls.

4.) Cheerleaders should be adequately informed and warned about all potential hazards in this regard.

c.) Ceilings

1.) Ceiling clearance should be sufficiently high so as to preclude any possibility of physical contact in the course of the anticipated cheerleading activity.

2.) Light fixtures, air ducts, pipes, etc. should be adequately high so as to allow for safe conduct of the cheerleading activity below.

d.) Floors and Surfaces

1.) Floors, as well as matting surfaces, should be level, smooth, clean and dry.

2.) All hard surface practice areas should be covered with adequate matting (polyethylene resilient foam), having a minimum thickness of 1 ¼”. THERE IS TO BE ABSOLUTELY NO STUNTING OR TUMBLING WITHOUT MATTING.

6. Mini-trampolines and flips or falls off of pyramids and shoulders are prohibited

7. If it is not possible to have a physician or athletic trainer at games and practice sessions, emergency procedures must be provided.

8. When a cheerleader has experienced or shown signs of head trauma (loss of consciousness, visual disturbances, headache, inability to walk correctly, obvious disorientation, memory loss) they should receive immediate medical attention and should not be allowed to practice or cheer without written permission from the proper medical authorities.



1. Practice sessions shall be held in a location suitable for cheerleading activities, free of obstruction, away from excessive noise or distractions, with available mats, etc.

2. Adequate warm up including stretching shall proceed all activities

3. Jewelry is prohibited with the exception of medical medals. If such are worn, they shall be taped to the body under the uniform.

4. Hair devices made of metal/plastic materials are prohibited. Others which are secure may be worn.

5. Cheerleaders shall wear athletic type shoes with a smooth contoured bottom.

6. Participants shall wear uniforms which are appropriate for the activity.

7. Tumbling or stunting shall not be performed during a game when the ball is in play. Tumbling or stunting at half time of a game requires that matting be placed on the floor prior to the performance.

8. Tumbling over, under or through anything is not permitted

9. When it is detected that a participant is bleeding, has an open wound, the participant shall stop performing to receive proper treatment. The participant may not continue until the bleeding is stopped and any blood on the person or clothing has been removed.

10. When a participant is rendered unconscious or apparently unconscious, the participant shall not be permitted to resume participation that day without written authorization from a physician.

11. Use of mini-tramps, spring boards or any apparatus that increases the height of a stunt is not allowed

Height Limitations

1. All pyramids and /or mounts are limited to two persons high, meaning the top person receives primary support from a base(s) who is in direct, weight-bearing contract with the performing surface.


1. A spotter is required until a tumbling partner stunt, or pyramid/mount is completed.

2. A spotter is required for stunts in which the supporting arm(s) of the base is fully extended above the head, except for the following:

a.) Chair

b.) Torch

c.) Russion life

d.) Double-base split catch

e.) Triple-base dead man lift

f.) Triple-base straddle lift

g.) L stand


1. A base shall not assume a back-bend or handstand position


1. All dismounts to the performing surface shall have assisted landings

2. For all catch/cradle dismounts, the catcher(s) shall have continuous visual contact with the top person

3. A separate spotter at the head and shoulder area of the top person, and at least two catchers are required when the top person is cradled following a toss.

4. Dismounts to a single-base cradle with a separate spotter at the head and shoulder area of the top person are permitted form single-base stunts.

5. Dismounts from extended stunts which require a spotter shall have a separate spotter at the head and shoulder area of the top person. Such dismount from multi-base extended stunts shall be cradled by at least 2 of the original bases and have a separate spotter at the head and shoulder area of the top person.

6. A top person in a handstand position is not permitted to pass through the vertical to a catch/cradle or other dismount (exception: suspended roll)

7. On backward dismounts, the readiness of everyone to be involved must be verified before the dismount is initiated. Backward dismounts to a cradle shall have at least two catchers and a spotter at the head and shoulder area of the top person. Backward dismounts from extended stunts are not permitted.

8. Roll-down dismounts are not permitted (except legal suspended rolls)

9. Cartwheel and other inverted dismounts are not permitted


1. Knee, seat, thigh and split drops are not permitted unless most of the weight is first borne on the hands/feet which must break the impact of the drop. Handspring/flip over to a seat drop (“rose flip, flip-pies”) is not permitted

2. Front drops are not permitted

3. Tension drops are not permitted


1. Free-falling flips or swan dives from any toss/pitch or pyramid/mount are not permitted

2. A flip into a mount or cradle is not permitted

3. A flip performed on the floor shall not exceed one complete rotation around the horizontal axis nor involve more than one complete rotation around the vertical axis. For example, a double front/back flip or a flip with more than a full twist are not permitted

4. Twists shall not exceed two complete rotations around the vertical axis


1. When a top person is in a handstand position, there shall be a separate spotter at the head and shoulders’ area of the top person

2. A top person in a handstand is not permitted to pass through the vertical to a catch/cradle or other dismount except a suspended roll dismount

3. Extended handstands are not permitted


1. A pendulum is permitted provided:

a.) It is performed from a shoulder stand or extension prep

b.) The top is caught in a face-up or face-down position

c.) There are at least four catchers

d.) The catchers remain in their original positions

e.) No one is between the base(s) and the catcher

f.) All half pendulums have a separate spotter opposite the catchers

2. A pendulum may include a half turn by the top or the base

3. Any pendulum may end in an extension


1. A hanging pyramid is permitted provided:

a.) It is stationary

b.) Spotters are present for each shoulder stand

c.) Suspended person is lower than the shoulder stand

d.) Suspended person’s feet are hanging free

e.) Suspended person is not inverted

f.) Suspended person does not rotate on the dismount

2. In braced extended stunt pyramids the person bracing shall be at shoulder lever or below

3. A totem pole is permitted provided:

a.) Each top person leaning forward is stabilized/supported by stunt directly in front

b.) No extended stunt stabilizes/supports another person

c.) A spotter is present for each extended stunt

4. A double cartwheel is not permitted


1. Suspended rolls are permitted

2. A forward roll from an upright stand or jump is not permitted

3. A dive roll is not permitted


1. Single-based split catches are not permitted

2. Tosses to any split are not permitted

3. The top person must be partially supported on her back thigh on all suspended splits

4. Suspended splits shall have continuous hand-to-hand contact unless both bases are supporting the top in the thigh and ankle areas

5. Suspended splits must stop at shoulder level of the bases before being extended above the head


1. Toe and thigh pitches are not permitted

2. All tosses must be performed from a ground level base, and the top person shall be caught or assisted to the cheering surface by the original base

3. Tosses to a catch shall be directed vertically with the intent that the top person will be caught by bases who have remained in their original position on the cheering surface.

4. All basket and extension tosses must be cradled by at least two of the original bases and have a spotter at the head and shoulder area

5. Tosses to a split position are not permitted

6. Helicopters are not permitted

7. A log roll is permitted. In a single-base log roll, the top person must initiate the rotation toward the base. In a multi-base log roll, the top may be caught in a face-up or face-down position


1. Vaults which DO NOT involve head-over-heel rotation are permitted. Vaults which DO involve head-over-heel rotation are illegal.

Updated September, 2005