While cheerleading isn’t all about cheering, it’s still the biggest aspect. Cheerleading’s roots lie in cheering on the sidelines, encouraging the crowd’s spirits, and boosting the morale of football and other sports players. As squads prepare for the school year and the fall when football season will begin, cheerleaders new and experienced should familiarize themselves with the basics of cheers and chants. Before we can get into specific cheers and chants, we must know the purpose of them. As we all know, cheerleading started at a college as a way to support a football team that had a bad record. After several losses, a male student (and eventually a few friends) formed a cheer group in hopes of getting the crowd to rally and root for their losing team. In the end, it helped the crowd’s and football team’s morale. While many things in cheerleading have changed since then, the roots are still there and the seed is still firmly planted: cheerleading is about building spirit and showing support. This means that your cheers and chants should always reflect that. The lyrics, beat, and moves should be encouraging to your team and maybe even inspire a little friendly competition with the rival team (just don’t go overboard). What makes a good cheer? A catchy beat, short and fun phrases, and strong stunts and poses. When you’re cheering on the sidelines, your focus shouldn’t be on extreme tumbling. Keep it exciting, yet simple, with herkies, toe touches, scorpions, basket tosses, elevators, and other similar stunts and moves. Remember, it’s important to keep all of your movements sharp and succinct, even when you’re just bringing your arms into a high V. Let the focus be on your cheers and what you’re saying. By shouting, but also enunciating clearly, you can inspire the crowd to join you. That’s why your chants should include catchy lines that repeat often so the crowd can easily memorize and follow along. This is why “go fight win!” will never go out of style. Don’t worry if the crowd doesn’t immediately jump in and join you in cheering. Sometimes they need encouragement! One cheerleader on your squad can be in charge of the megaphone and can ask the crowd to cheer along while the rest of the squad is reciting the chant. While you don’t need a different cheer for every game, you should have several for different situations. For example, if your team is really behind in points, you don’t want to use the same cheer you would use if they were winning or if a player was benched. Have a few ready ahead of time so you’ll be prepared for any situation. What do you think makes a good cheer?