This is a question to which it seems everyone involved in cheerleading should know the answer. But oftentimes when asked this question, cheerleaders, parents, and coaches don’t know the answer. The most common guess is “because it looks good.” And although this is usually just a guess, that answer is actually correct.
Cheerleaders and dancers alike are coached to point their toes from the very beginning. One of the main reasons is because a pointed toe is far more aesthetically pleasing compared to a flexed foot. This is the most basic and surface-level of all of the reasons, but possibly the most important. It just looks better.
In addition to creating a pleasing visual image, a pointed toe helps to elongate the leg. A pointed toe brings a smooth and graceful end to the leg, whereas a flexed foot results in a sharp and abrupt end. Envision for instance a great toe touch. Now picture beautifully pointed toes. It seems that pointed toes may unknowingly make the jump appear to be higher and more graceful. Additionally with pointed toes, the focus remains on the jump as a whole. Now picture that very same jump, but with flexed feet. The direction of the feet seems to be pointing back to the cheerleader’s head. “Hmm… that’s weird… what are her feet pointing at?” Flexed feet in a jump can serve as a distraction, preventing the eye from focusing on the jump in its entirety.
Pointing your toes also makes it more difficult to bend your legs. So when performing jumps or flexibility skills while stunting, pointing your toes is very important. It will not eliminate the possibility of bent legs, but it creates a natural inclination to straighten one’s legs.
In the end, pointing your toes is about good technique and form. If you examine other sports that share some of the skills sets of cheerleading, like gymnastics, acrobatics, and dance, you will find that the same rules apply when it comes to pointing and flexing your feet.