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Edit by Coach Abby Makle

Below is an article posted by U.S. All Star Federation (the governing body of All Star Cheer & Dance) regarding upcoming changes in rules and safety for the all star world in the upcoming 2018 – 2019 season. I have copied the full article below, but will further detail what this actually means for athletes, parens and coaches.

For anyone that is not familiar with the All Star world, it is an intensively competitive sport. Competition can start as early as age 4 at the lowest beginning level and branch into the highest difficulty of performance with no technical maximum age of participation. In a sense the sport is great in that it opens up opportunities to a wide range of participants regardless of age, sex, size or experience.

However,  what happens when athletes spend all their time competing or training to compete and do not have time to dedicate to growing skillfully in their sport? Well I can tell you from experience in most all star programs that students are encouraged to develop their skills to achieve the difficult skills and join coveted teams but are not necessarily given the resources and proper instructions to do so. It leads to improper technique when performing skills, which can lead to unnecessary injuries or frustration with lack of development and eventually leaving the sport. With the All Star Development model USASF will structure sport wide developmental curriculum and classes that will allow the proper level of progression for new athletes. This is a practice that has been happening for quite some time in the gymnastics world but is a new development in the all star cheer world. The basic premise behind it is to give programs the resources and room to have developmental programs to allow athletes to progress properly and promote longevity in the sport.

The developmental method is something that MGA has been doing for years because of our experience in the gymnastics community. We are happy to continue our recreational cheer classes and expand our program along with the new USASF updates. We are very excited to add new curriculum, routines and music coming this summer when all updates will be released. We have classes that are currently going on now and are available for registration at


2018-19 Cheer Rules & Safety: Big Picture

02/13/2018 7:00 AM -The USASF Cheer Rules and Age Grid for the 2018-19 season will be available in coach and owner profiles on February 15th. While this is a non-rules-change year, there are some new opportunities offered in the Age Grid that will be helpful to all programs – new or established; small or large. Please read the entirety of this message to be fully informed.

Webinars will be available on February 20th offering members further education and information. Look for registration details to come.

The USASF is focused on providing a safe environment for athletes. While All Star is a unique sport, it is similar to other youth sports in which athlete development is critical to safety, successful participation and longevity within the sport. In our Rules & Safety development process, our team does three things, in order of importance:

  1. Seeks and compiles input from USASF coach and owner members, the Cheer National Advisory Board, Connection leaders and All Star experts
  2. Studies the results of independent research specific to cheer
  3. Monitors best practices of other youth sports governing bodies

An outcome of these efforts over the past year is the important confirmation that our Rules & Safety evolution must consider the health and longevity of the entire sport, and must support All Star in ways that allows more athletes to find a place to participate and succeed. It’s not just about a building limitation at Level 4, for example, it’s about viewing our sport from a 50,000 foot vantage point and rethinking how we operate and organize our youth sport so that it lasts for generations at ground level.

Two important aspects that are limiting All Star participation (and their solutions):

  1. Athlete Progression Model: We currently have a model that progresses athletes through our sport in only one way; through Levels 1-6. What if an athlete loves All Star, but can’t reach the level of tumbling required for a Level 4 or 5 team? Or what if an athlete doesn’t have the time or financial means to participate in our current structure? Where does he or she go? Many leave the sport. We have a solution to this limitation that will give programs the freedom to structure teams and place athletes so that programs, and the sport, grow and expand.
  2. All Star Development Model: Our current Age Grid structure is not consistent with best practices of other youth sports, and doesn’t fully support an individual athlete’s physical, mental and emotional readiness for progression. We have studied the Athlete Development Models of thriving youth sports to establish an All Star Development Model that draws together the USASF, programs, coaches, parents and athletes with a unified focus on long-term athlete safety and success.

You will see these solutions affirmed in the 2018-19 Rules & Safety Guidelines and Age Grid, and we hope you’ll join us in recognizing what significant program- and sport-changing opportunities these are. We think they are as significant, positive and impactful for All Star as when the rules and divisions were first unified more than 10 years ago.

Please note that the Age Grid will be an early release of the divisions, levels, ages, and team sizes so that coaches can plan early for next season. It does not include things such as splitting/combining rules, additional qualifications/restrictions for divisions at Worlds and D1/D2 splits, etc. The full age grid will be released prior to the beginning of the 2018-2019 season once we have gathered additional feedback from our members regarding D1/D2. The Worlds Advisory Board will review all aspects of the XS Division at Worlds after the 2018 event occurs in April to determine eligibility and participation in XS at Worlds going forward.

The USASF Rules process continues to evolve as an open, fully collaborative and shared effort through the entirety of the USASF membership. In this past year, all members have been asked to participate in ways like never before. Thank you to everyone who participated! Your efforts are growing All Star and making it a safer sport.


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