First down, Second down, fumble, kick, football is back!
School is back in session, the leaves are changing, the weather is starting to get cooler, and those Friday football stadium lights are back on! Whether you cheer for a youth league, high school, or college program, here are some tips to help pump up your crowd to lead your team to victory this season!
Practices Before the Game:
Most football teams have prepared all summer for their season to start. Like the football team, preparation for games is especially important in order to cheer a successful game with your team. These practices should focus on not only the importance of knowing each sideline and cheer, but which ones to use in game situations. Divide the list of sidelines into four categories: Offense, Defense, Spirit, and Specialty. Specialty sidelines would include situations such as: kickoffs, first downs, “red zone” (within 20 yards of the opponent’s end zone), touchdowns, points after a touchdown, and timeouts. Create a “game plan” for your cheers, stunts, sidelines, and dances during these practices as well. Example: “We are…(school name)” sideline with 2 stunts, with the rest of the team doing motions for in between the first quarter. Also include what your game plan is for in between quarters, halftime, and what to do when a player is injured.
Cheering During the Game:
During a sporting event, the cheerleaders’ job is to pump up the crowd to support your team. Make sure everyone knows the rules of the game! This is important, not only so you’re yelling Defense at the right time, but also for your safety on the sidelines as well. Be ready with the next sideline, but also be prepared for game situations such as a fumble that could change your sideline from defense to offense! Start your sidelines after the whistle blows to end a play so you have your crowd’s full attention and won’t be distracting the players. Build stunts for time outs and quick sidelines, but never while the ball is in play! Use signs, poms, or even flags to encourage your crowd to yell with you. And, as always, remember that above all, it is your responsibility as a cheerleader to show good sportsmanship and support your team. Never use cheers that are derogatory to an opponent and cheerleaders should never “boo” with a crowd, change their boos to cheers!
Keeping Up the Energy During the Game:
Some football games seem like they could go on forever, especially when you’re standing in really hot or super cold weather. Hydrate before your game, at least 30 minutes before game time and keep it up between quarters and at halftime. Eat a light snack or meal about an hour before kickoff. Avoid food that is heavy, greasy, or too spicy. You will want to avoid sugar and caffeine as much as you can since both can cause a spike of energy, but followed quickly by a “crash” in energy. Keep yourself cool in the heat, and warm in the cold. Wear your warmups or bring a jacket if you know it is going to get chilly out. You will be really busy on the sideline cheering on your team, but it is still important for you to take short breaks between quarters and after your halftime to sit for a few minutes if you can.