Between school and homework, Cecily Hobbs can be found in the gym- backflipping, cartwheeling, and tumbling off alarmingly tall human pyramids. Along with her cheerleading team, the Unity Allstars, Cecily returned from Dallas, Texas earlier this month having come 4th place in the NCA cheerleading competition.


In between her busy schedule, I asked her some questions to demystify the often misunderstood, demanding sport of cheerleading:


What is cheerleading?

"Cheerleading consists of four aspects: stunting (which is lifting people up), tumbling (which is the gymnastics aspect), jumps, and dance. Each team will prepare a two and a half minute routine including all of these aspects- competing for the highest score. The score is awarded by judges based on technique and difficulty."


What's your opinion on the media representation and common view of cheerleading?

"Obviously there's a lot of incorrect information and stereotypes surrounding cheerleading. Cheerleading is a sport and so requires a significant amount of effort- people often overlook how much work goes into it. It's not just pom-poms, 'dumb blondes', and high school drama. Whilst many of these shows are brilliant entertainment, they're not an accurate representation of the sport; that's like watching Jaws and saying you know all about competitive swimming."


How do you balance competitive cheerleading with all your schoolwork?

"Luckily, all my training is late in the evening- I try to complete my work in lunch or as soon as I get home. Competitions usually occur over a weekend, so I really have to organise my time and stay on top of my work."


What's your favourite thing about cheerleading?

"I love the team aspect of the sport- we all work together to produce a routine. My team, the Unity Allstars, have such a great work ethic towards our shared goal and it creates a brilliant atmosphere in training and competitions. I also love stunting (where I get lifted up into the air) because that's great fun!"


On that note, what are your favourite cheerleading moves?

"There's a move called a 'basket' where people throw you up into the air and you spin and twist- that's good fun. Also, I like pyramids which is one pyramidal structure of people and then everyone flips."


Would you recommend people to get into cheerleading? If so, how should they go about this?

"Definitely- I would definitely recommend cheerleading! It's such a fun, and satisfying sport with an amazing team atmosphere- as I've mentioned. To begin cheerleading, there are lots of different levels clubs will offer training at. The best way to go about starting is joining a lower level and working your way up."


Despite such recent international success, the training for Cecily is not over yet as she leaves for Florida, USA in April to compete in the World Championships of Cheerleading. Representing both Unity Allstars and team England, the competition is incredibly prestigious and promises to be a fantastic event (-before she returns to sit end of year exams!). Best of luck to Cecily!