Spirit Points of Emphasis - 2017-18

By NFHS on June 16, 2017 spirit Print

Application of NFHS Spirit Rules Book

The Spirit Rules Book provides rules and safety limitations that should be followed by all cheerleading/dance/drill/pom and other spirit teams that stunt, tumble or use props as a base. The spirit rules should be followed while participants are in a supporting role at an interscholastic contest and during competition. Situations and photos are provided as examples only, and do not cover all circumstances in which the rules apply.


Consideration of practice/performance surfaces are a vital component of risk minimization. The following skills are only allowed on a mat, grass or rubberized track surface:

  • a. Basket tosses, elevator/sponge tosses and other similar multi-base tosses.
  • b. Partner stunts in which the base uses only one arm to support the top person.
  • c. Twisting/tumbling skills (Arabians, full-twisting layouts, etc.).
  • EXCEPTION: Cartwheels, round-offs and aerial cartwheels are allowed on surfaces other than a mat, grass or rubberized track.

Cradle Dismounts

NFHS injury reporting data reveals that more than 75 percent of all spirit injuries occur when dismounting to a cradle. Eighty-four percent of all concussions in spirit activities also occur when dismounting to a cradle. As such, coaches should be especially vigilant to minimize risk of this skill in practice, while participating in a supporting role at other interscholastic contests, and during competition. Risk minimization includes, but is not limited to, following proper progressions, teaching proper technique, adherence to NFHS surface restrictions and appropriate conditioning for the activity.

Overuse Injuries

Coaches are encouraged to limit the time spent practicing skills (e.g., headstands, head spins, head springs, etc.) that involve the head/neck area to avoid overuse injuries.