Making cheerleading spirit signs is one of the more fun parts of being a cheerleader. It can be thrilling to watch an entire stadium stand up and shout the words on a cheerleading spirit sign in unison.
Temporary and Permanent Cheerleading Spirit Signs
Signs are used to help accomplish any squad's main goal: building up spirit for the fans and the players during games. However, some cheerleading spirit signs are temporary and only used for a particular game, while others are permanent parts of a cheerleader's toolkit, right up there with pom poms and a megaphone.
Field signs are very large banners made out of wide rolls of paper. They may be painted or decorated with large markers, and they usually have the team name along with either a spirit word or something about the team. For example, it might say "Super Team! BULLDOGS - #1 in the District!" Often these signs will also be decorated with the team colors or cartoon images of players or the school mascot.
The entire point of these signs is to have the team tear through them in a spectacular entrance onto the field. Seeing their favorite team come through the paper banner is a great way to instantly infuse a crowd with spirit.
Another temporary cheerleading sign is one created on the spot by the crowd during a halftime show. Getting representatives from groups - either different sections of the bleachers, different generations of fans or even different members of the school staff or other school teams - and having them create a sign on the spot while the crowds watch is an exciting way to spend a halftime. While the resulting signs aren't always the most durable or precise, they make up for it with the enthusiasm that goes into their creation.
Other types of cheerleading signs are the spirit signs that are used to help lead a crowd in chants and other activities. These signs are simple with only one or two words on them, and they are more durable than paper. In fact, they're usually made out of stiffened canvas, foamcore or several layers of cardboard. Squads can also opt to have signs like this professionally created, but that costs money and the squad misses out on the fun of creating them together.
Which kind of words would you put on permanent spirit signs? Obvious words are things like "GO", "FIGHT", "WIN." You can also use clever word and image combinations such as the letter D and a picture of a fence to encourage the crowd to yell "DEE-FENSE!" Team names and active, aggressive verbs like "SMASH" are also good. Another way to use permanent signs is to have two sets of the numbers 0-9 handy. That way, when a particular player scores, or needs encouragement (shooting free throws, for example) the cheer squad can combine "GO" with the number and have the crowd chanting "GO 42!".
Other Kinds of Signs
Not all spirit signs are created by the cheerleaders. Fans will often create their own signs to bring to the games and encourage the teams. While this should be encouraged, sometimes cheerleaders have to remind the fans that they need to be respectful and positive and family-friendly in their signage.
One technique for controlling the message is to give the fans a theme or a competition to create the "best sign" and offer a prize for the winner. If they know their signs are going to be examined in front of everyone, they may be less apt to put offensive language on them. The difficult part of this method is getting everyone in the school aware of and excited about the competition. Using school newspapers, posters and websites can help build momentum. It may be possible to have a local business offer a "prize" to the winner as well in return for a sponsorship deal. Having a friendly competition within the groups of fans can help get them even more invested in a game as they try to be the best fans ever!