Legal Aspects Every Cheer Coach Should Know4 min to read


By Steve Pawlyk

Published September 18, 2023

Being a cheer coach is not just about teaching stunts, choreographing routines, and winning competitions. It also involves navigating the complex landscape of legal responsibilities that come with the role. Understanding the legal aspects of cheer coaching can protect you, your athletes, and your cheer program from unnecessary complications. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the legal facets every cheer coach should be aware of, including liability, safety standards, and intellectual property rights concerning cheer music.


Liability and Negligence

Duty of Care

As a cheer coach, you have a “duty of care” to ensure the well-being of your athletes. This means taking reasonable measures to prevent injuries and accidents. Failure to do so could result in a negligence claim against you or your cheerleading program.

Protecting Yourself

Here’s how to safeguard against liability:

  • Training: Ensure you have the necessary certifications, including First Aid and CPR.
  • Equipment: Regularly inspect and maintain all equipment.
  • Documentation: Keep detailed records of all practices, routines, and safety measures.


Investing in liability insurance can offer an additional layer of protection. It may cover legal fees and damages should you face a lawsuit.

Safety Standards


In the United States, the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators (AACCA) sets safety guidelines. Being well-versed in these standards is crucial.

Gym Safety

  • Ensure that the practice area is free of hazards.
  • Make sure athletes are wearing appropriate attire and safety gear.

Stunt Safety

  • Always spot athletes during stunts.
  • Do not attempt stunts that are beyond the skill level of your athletes.
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Parental Consent and Waivers

Before an athlete participates in any cheerleading activity, it’s essential to obtain written consent from their parents or guardians.

What Should a Waiver Include?

  • A clear explanation of the risks involved in cheerleading.
  • A clause stating that the parent/guardian understands these risks.

Emergency Contact Information

Always have up-to-date emergency contact information for each athlete.

Transportation Laws

Driver Qualifications

Ensure that anyone responsible for transporting athletes has a valid driver’s license and has passed a background check.

Vehicle Safety

Regularly inspect vehicles to ensure they meet safety standards.

Intellectual Property and Music Licensing

Copyright Laws

When using music for routines, be aware of copyright laws. Using copyrighted music without permission can result in legal repercussions.

Customized Cheer Music

One way to avoid copyright issues is by using customized cheer music from reputable sources like IPP Music.


Social Media and Privacy

Personal Information

Be cautious when sharing personal information of athletes on social media platforms.

Photos and Videos

Always obtain consent before posting images or videos of your athletes online.

Anti-Discrimination Laws

Equal Opportunity

Federal laws prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, religion, or disability. Make sure your cheer program is inclusive and complies with these laws.

Harassment and Bullying

Create a zero-tolerance policy for harassment and bullying and ensure it is strictly enforced.

Understanding the legal aspects of cheer coaching is essential for the smooth operation of your cheer program and the well-being of your athletes. By being proactive and educated in these areas, you can focus on what you love—coaching and inspiring your team to hit zero and win competitions.


Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes and is not legal advice. Always consult with a legal professional for advice on your specific situation.

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