Junior High Cheer

School Cheer is a discipline of cheer that involves athletes in a scholastic setting who cheer in support of other sports, most often football and basketball. School cheerleaders’ primary role is supporting the other athletic programs through leading the crowd at games and pep rallies as well as promoting school spirit overall. School cheer teams may also participate in competitions, performing a 2 1/2 minute routine composed of tumbling, stunting, pyramids, dance, and cheer segments.

Junior High and Middle School cheer teams are most often governed at the district level. Many follow the rules of their state high school associations , with additional rules for junior high/middle school. The NFHS Spirit Rules are produced by the National Federation of State High School Associations, and are written with high school cheerleading in mind. USA Cheer recommends that Elementary, Junior High and Middle School cheerleaders follow the NFHS Spirit Rules with the additional restriction below:

Rule 3.5.10 (USA Cheer Add-on): All tosses other than Switch Ups are prohibited for Elementary, Middle School, and Junior High cheerleading teams.

USA Cheer and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) have reached an agreement to publish one set of rules for high school cheerleading the 2020-21 season under the NFHS Rule Book. 

Take the 2020-21 NFHS Cheer Rules Course (NEW!)

There are three courses available.

The Comprehensive Course for coaches covers the entire cheer section of the NFHS Rules Book (Rules 1, 2, and 3) including the new rules changes for the current year. This course is ideal for new coaches or coaches who want a refresher course for all rules. Both courses are $15 for non-members, $10 for members.

Comprehensive Course for Coaches  

The “Changes Only” course for coaches covers the major rules changes for the current year. This course is ideal for veteran coaches who are already familiar with the current rules. 

“Rules Changes Only” Course for Coaches

The Rules Interpreters course covers the entire book including the 2020-21 rules changes, with an additional training session on methods and techniques to help interpret rules as well as video testing on rules interpretations.  Rules Interpreters: The first four sections of your course are available now. When the rules change videos are completed, you will be sent information on completing the last portion of the course.

Rules Interpreter Course 

Order the NFHS Rules Book

If you normally receive your NFHS Rules Book through your school or state association, you will still receive your book through the same process. If you are unsure of whether you will receive a book through your association, check with your athletics director. If you would like to purchase a book, you may do so below. The cost through USA Cheer is $10, with free shipping.  

Important: NFHS Rules Books are in the printing process, which is subject to delays due to the COVID-19 crisis. The current ship date is expected to be at least mid-May, which is subject to change. Books will be mailed immediately upon our receipt of them from the NFHS. 




Rule Interpretations

Rule interpretations are the responsibility of each state association or event producer.   USA Cheer provides a video library of rules interpretations below. These videos are reviewed by USA Cheer and by members of the NFHS Spirit Rules committee, but they are not binding in every state. They are provided to help educate coaches and rules interpreters about the rules. Please use your state or event’s rules process to confirm legality. Note that we are currently in the process of updating the videos with the new rules.

USA Cheer Video Rule Interpretations