Youth Rec Rules

Youth Recreational League cheerleading varies across the country in organization, ability level, age ranges, philosophy and competitive focus.  For example, there are many youth rec leagues that go all the way up to age 18! There is no one national standard for youth rec cheerleading rules. In most cases, leagues either adopt existing rules or create their own rules. However rules are developed, the safety of the cheerleader should be the primary focus.  We recommend that youth rec leagues at least follow rules consistent with the AACCA/NFHS rules for high school age and the AACCA middle school rules for middle school age cheerleaders in their programs.  However, with the understanding that most youth rec programs are focused on participation and teaching fundamentals, and that most coaches will generally be involved only as long as their daughters or sons are participating, it is worth considering adding additional restrictions to these rules.

Be sure to check with your league regarding their policy on rules. If your league does not have a specific rules policy, consider having them formalize one. 

We often get asked about youth rec league rules. Our answer is that currently, due to the nature of youth rec as explained above, we do not have an "AACCA Youth Recreational League Rules". However, we felt compelled to share a set of rules we have worked on with a local youth rec program.  The cheerleading teams in this league will be cheering for youth rec football and their focus is on participation and fundamentals. There is an end of season "competition", but it is not their primary focus.  These rules are written to be very simple to understand by the average youth rec coach who may have no cheer experience.

These rules are not intended to be a requirement for all youth rec teams, as explained above.

Sample Building Guidelines for Youth Rec Cheer:

All teams:
  • No basket or elevator tosses.
  • No tension rolls.
  • Tumbling is acceptable, but not required.
  • No twisting tumbling (Arabians or full twists).
  • No released twists (no helicopters, log rolls or twisting cradles).
  • Only straight cradles allowed.
  • A spot is required on all building.
  •  No inversions allowed in stunts.

Additional age level restrictions:

Flag  (K – 1st grade):

  • No building above the waist.
  • Thigh stands are acceptable
  • One foot must be in contact with the base at all times.

PeeWee (2nd & 3rd Grade):

  • No building above shoulder level.
  • Elevator preps, shoulder level liberties, shoulder stands/sits are acceptable.
  • One foot must be in contact with the base at all times except during a cradle.

Juniors (4th – 6th grade):

  • The top girls must have both feet in contact with the base at all times during any extended stunt (no liberties).
AACCA safety instructor -15 years - one of the first 30 safety certifiers....
Elizabeth Dobson
AACCA Instructor More from Members