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Words of cheer - Interesting history of cheerleading clinics

Words of cheer
Notice the saddle shoes!And the pom-poms! Since pom-poms were documented as entering the cheerleadin
Notice the saddle shoes!And the pom-poms! Since pom-poms were documented as entering the cheerleading scene in 1965, it is estimated this photo is from the late 1960s. At that time, a cheerleading uniform included the multi-purpose saddle shoe, and a knee-length skirt. Most high schools and colleges were branding themselves with the “Letter Sweater.” Look closely to pick out the letter M. Some of these traditional uniform elements remain. Photo submitted by Rhea Good, source unknown

Mr. Lawrence Herkimer of Dallas, Tex., is credited with much of the foundational building of the sport of cheerleading in the United States, in the 1940-1960s. He was himself a cheerleader at Southern Methodist University in in his hometown of Dallas. In 1948, he was thinking beyond his role as an athlete, and he created the National Cheerleaders Association to serve as an organizational body to administer training and clinics for groups of cheerleaders wanting to improve their skills.

This is the 70th anniversary of cheerleading clinics in North America. The first clinic organized by the NCA was held in Huntsville, Tex. There were 52 female cheerleaders in attendance. This concept obviously caught on because, by the 1960s college, cheerleaders were hosting clinics across the United States.  he typical format was that more experienced college athletes would be coaching younger cheerleaders in high school.

During this time, there was no formal structure or accreditation for coaches. It was a co-operative learning process between more experienced and less experienced cheerleaders.

Meanwhile, the NFL was the first sport in the United States to officially feature cheerleading on the sidelines. The Baltimore Colts led the pack in the 1950s when they created a cheer squad dedicated to the Colts. The Dallas Cowboys football organization was second to start a cheer squad. By 1981, there was an official count: 17 out of 26 NFL teams had their own cheerleaders.