The USASF requires every coach to be credentialed up to the level that they coach (there are a total of five levels). There are three parts to a credentialing process for a coach, which include a written test, a hands-on test, and a practical field experience form. The process also focuses on three core subjects of cheerleading – tumbling, stunting, and tosses. The goal of being certified is to create a safer environment that is developed through being trained to show the proper progression of skills for the athletes. The price to be credentialed is $75 for stunts ($15 per level), $75 for tumbling ($15 per level), and $60 for tosses ($15 per level). The certification lasts for a total of three years; when the certification expires coaches then must get re-credentialed if they choose to continue coaching. The cost for being re-credentialed is $35 for each of the three subjects.
The Written Test: The written test is a series of questions separated into three sections – stunts, tumbling, and tosses. Each section is then divided up into questions by the various levels of cheerleading. To take the test, coaches are to read the rules according to levels and core subjects. They are then to take the test and fill out the answer sheet about the questions that correspond to the level rules.
The Hands-On Test: To take the hands-on test, coaches must contact regional directors to find a credentialing site in the area. The hands-on portion is a test that requires face-to-face communication with the USASF representative. This part of the credentialing process is a way for the USASF representative to ensure that the coach knows what they are talking about. It tests the knowledge of the coach and shows that they can verbally teach athletes the proper way to do any skill.
The Practical Field Experience Form: This is the newest part to the credentialing process. The practical field experience form needs to be signed by the gym owner in order to finish the credentialing process. The form is only required for levels three, four, and five. In order to be signed off, a coach must complete the minimum number of hours coaching at a lower level.
Another important part of the credentialing process is to be AACCA safety certified. There are two ways to get certified – an online course or an on-site course. The test has a video that coaches watch on safety rules and safe ways to spot and coach athletes. Once the video is completed, coaches then take a multiple-choice exam. This process is less intense than the USASF certification, but it is just as important. The safety of the athletes is a coach’s number one priority, so being AACCA certified just validates the correct ways to teach athletes and to keep a safe environment in the gym. The cost of AACCA certification is $75 per coach, and expires after four years.
After a gym and coaches are certified, the next to be certified is the athletes. The certification of athletes is not required unless the athlete is attending Worlds, however it is encouraged for all athletes to be certified. The process of credentialing athletes is not a long and extensive process, however it just ensures that athletes are not performing skills on their own that they are not ready to do yet. This certification is required year after year for athletes. There are two different types of credentialing, one is a membership for the athlete and the other is called the 5 Star Athlete Membership. The cost of athlete credentialing and re-credentialing is free for just the membership and is $25 for a 5 star membership. For both types of memberships, athletes are able to get certified by their coaches and then the applications are submitted to the USASF where they review the information and then send and identification card to the athlete.
Athlete Membership: The athlete membership only allows athletes to be eligible to participate in USASF sanctioned events that are held by various competition companies.
Five Star Athlete Membership: This membership ensures that athletes are eligible to participate in events hosted by the USASF and are eligible to participate at Worlds. It also gives athletes the opportunity to apply for college scholarships offered by the USASF. Along with those benefits, the Five Star Athlete Membership provides up to $1 million in catastrophic insurance for if an athlete gets hurt doing skills that he or she is certified to do.
Getting a gym, coaches, and athletes certified is beneficial to every all-star gym. It allows the gym owners and coaches to be proactive in the latest safety requirements and rules. The benefits of being safe definitely outweigh the disadvantages. If you are interest in getting USASF or AACCA certified visit http://www.usasf.net and http://www.aacca.org.