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 RULES & SAFETY DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
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:
- Seeks and compiles input from USASF coach and owner members, the Cheer National Advisory Board, Connection leaders and All Star experts
- Studies the results of independent research specific to cheer
- Monitors best practices of youth sports governing bodies and governing authorities
OPPORTUNITIES IDENTIFIED BY RESEARCH
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):
- 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.
- 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.
WHAT THIS MEANS
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.
All Star: THE ULTIMATE TEAM SPORT
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.
You’re Invited to Get Involved!
Apply to be a Connection Leader
Apply to serve on your Regional Advisory Board