What Does Hit Zero In Cheerleading Mean?

What does Hit Zero in cheerleading mean, and why do people seem so happy to earn it even when they didn’t win the championship? 

Let me tell you this: In cheerleading, hitting and winning are equally crucial, and hitting is something you can control. 

Don’t you want to go for something so grand and attainable at the same time?

What Does Hit Zero In Cheerleading Mean?

When a team hits zero, it means their performance has been technically perfect. If I have to put a description of this kind of performance, I will use the word “precise”. All movements should be done without any flaws such as off-position or tripping.

Achieving Hit Zero means the team has successfully showcased their routine and left no room for the judges to deduct their scores. 

It doesn’t mean their performance is the best in the entire competition, but it means they have achieved perfection within their capability.

I would say Hit Zero in cheerleading means “You have done your very best” in every sense of the word, and not a consolation compliment.

Check more: 12 Famous Cheerleaders Who Have Been Instrumental For Sports

4 Components Of Hitting Zero

So how do you know if a performance is perfect when you are not a professional or a judge? 

You can break a routine down into four aspects and give them the check box as you go over the moves included!


Stunt in Cheerleading

All the tossing, lifting, and supporting you see in a cheer routine can be categorized as stunts. They can only be executed with coordination, trust in your partners, and impeccable timing.

Stunts are a wide variety, though you can divide them into a few smaller groups:

  • Basic

Also known as the foundational stunts, moves like sitting on shoulders or standing on thighs are what you must master before thinking about more elaborate moves. 

They look simple, yet the requirements for balance and trust are present.

  • Intermediate

Standing on hands with a leg extended is a good example of the intermediate level. Aside from connection with your teammates and personal skills, you will need some elegance here too, so the routine will be more pleasant to look at.

  • Advanced

Tumbling, spinning, soaring, and more are usually the tricks that get the audience hooked. Many people believe this part is what turned cheerleading into a sport.

Successful stunts mean all of these moves have to be done without any mistakes, hence everyone has to complete their parts and set the stone step for the next criteria.

Read more: How Much Do NFL Cheerleaders Make A Year?


Many teams lose points while tumbling because backflips or round-offs have such a high risk of going wrong. Depending on how the cheerleaders start the move, you can classify it into standing, running, and special.

While stunts include moves that most cheerleaders have to practice and showcase, tumbling has the potential of influencing the score tremendously and breaking the tie as much as it can backfire.


A good part of the electrifying in a cheerleading routine comes from the jumps, such as herkie and toe touches.

The cheerleaders must be able to maintain great posture and synchronize with one another. Any sloppy or wrongly timed steps could lead to a score deduction.

Dance and Choreography

The choreography must be executed in synchronization so no error can affect the final score. However, an ambitious team will also want their routine to be creative and capable of engaging the audience.

The choreographers can incorporate any dance styles they deem fit, from hip-hop to jazz, and the pom-pom should be utilized too. 

For good choreography, formations and transitions have to be smooth and visually appealing.

When you have got the moves done flawlessly, the dance will be the last piece of the puzzle, separating great and average performances based on their artistic potential.

The Scoring System In Cheerleading

If you are not familiar with cheerleading techniques, let’s take a look at how the score is given for insight.

The judges will consider the four mentioned elements and evaluate each team based on the precision and difficulty of the moves. If the cheerleaders are not in sync, stumble while moving, or fall over, the points will be deducted accordingly.

While there is only one champion in a contest, the number of teams hitting zero is not limited at all. Instead of a consolation gift for participants, the acknowledgment of Hit Zero means something big.

Cheer score sheet

How Hard Is It To Hit Zero In Cheerleading? 

We only need to fulfill those four criteria to get a Hit Zero, though the road to success takes longer than you might think.

Practice is certainly an indispensable part of everything, and cheerleading is no exception. The essential part about Hit Zero is that no mistake should be committed, so every member of the team needs to hone their skills to perfection and eliminate possible mishaps.

Even if you have refined skills, communication and teamwork are must-have. Each member has a position in the routine and they need to comply with what they are assigned. Should any problem arise during the training, the team must ensure everyone understands the idea and stays on the boat together.

Last but not least, confidence is no less important than skills when you are aiming for a perfect score. Affirmations between the team members and visualizations will help the cheerleaders overcome their nervousness before showtime.

And even with every box checked, nothing guarantees you will obtain a zero-deduction routine. Take the basketball players, for example! 

They must have practiced the toss a thousand times, but the probability of missing the official toss is still there. The same goes for cheerleaders.

What Might Happen When A Cheer Team Hits Zero? 

Without a doubt, you will get a confidence boost after achieving something as huge as a Hit Zero. The anxiety and the self-consciousness will be all gone, replaced with the pride and relief of accomplishing a tough mission.

Although a Hit Zero doesn’t secure a championship in grand contests because all the formidable teams might have impressive routines ready, your team will still be praised and acknowledged. 

In the long run, this achievement will set a high bar for the team to beat.

Truthfully speaking, everyone wants to win if they are entering a contest and cheerleading is quite a competitive sport nowadays. 

Nonetheless, fans sometimes don’t mind if the team they support loses, but it is another story if the team can’t even provide a decent performance. 

Therefore, Hit Zero might be important to sustain the fanbase as well.


Hit Zero in cheerleading has been, and always will be, a great achievement for all cheerleaders and teams. 

For most professionals, hitting is even more important than winning because it means the judges have acknowledged the efforts they put into their techniques and routines. Teams with Hit Zero will also receive awards for this outstanding success. 

If your cheerleader tells you they hit zero, you know to give them the compliments they deserve!

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