Cheerleading games can help strengthen a squad by providing trust building and enhanced skills. Whether the squad plays games as a regular part of practice or games are used at retreats and cheer camps, there are many different games squads can participate in.
Trust Building Cheerleading Games
Many squads like to start the year before the actual cheer season ever begins with a retreat or cheer camp. This time is typically used to nail new routines, learn stunts and for the girls to get to know one another and bond as a squad. Those who are flying need to trust that their spotters will catch them every time and those who are spotting need to learn to trust the flyer to stick to the same routine each and every time. Trust building can also help prevent emotional flare ups and misunderstandings between squad members, which can be distracting to say the least.
Probably one of the best trust building games is to have one person fall backwards and two people catch that person to keep them from hitting the ground. Be sure to supervise this game at all times, so no mishaps occur! It will hardly serve to build trust if a cheerleader is allowed to hit the ground. This is a fairly easy game to play at any time and requires no special equipment.
Separate squad members into teams of two. This works well if you match up members that may not know one another well or even have some underlying conflict. The game can really bond team members, which can help at competition time. Use a scarf or other scrap material and securely blindfold one team member. The other team member should then lead that person around, helping them navigate objects. This game works best in a room with a lot of furniture, such as an empty classroom, or outdoors where there are plants and even playground equipment to navigate.
Have you Ever?
Sometimes the biggest part of bonding a new squad is to simply get to know one another. This is one of those cheerleading games that can help team members get to know more about one another. This game is played similar to musical chairs. Each player starts with a chair with one person without a chair standing in the center of the chair circle. The person in the center of the circles asks a question that starts with "have you ever?" For example: Have you ever been to New York? Anyone who can answer yes to the question asked must get up and move to a new chair. The person in the center of the circle, who asked the question, also finds a chair. One person will be left standing and will now be the question asker.
Skill Building Cheer Games
Cheerleading games can also be used to help build certain skills that will help improve overall cheer ability. Games can be used to help squad members learn to jump higher, become more flexible or more graceful. There are so many options in this category, that the sky truly is the limit, but here are just a few:
Jump Rope Marathon
Jumping rope can build valuable skills that will help in actual cheerleading jumps by making them higher and giving cheerleaders the ability to throw stunts harder and thus complete cleaner, stronger back handsprings or tucks. Gather enough ropes for every member of the squad and have a jump off. Give a gift certificate or prize to the person who jumps the longest without stopping. Another option is to combine this game with a fundraiser, getting sponsors to donate money for every so many jumps the cheerleaders complete.
Leap Frog with a Stretch
Playing leap frog can actually be a great way to work on jumping skills. Instead of just hopping awkwardly over the other cheerleader's back, however, the cheerleader should try to jump over and do a strong cheer jump at the same time. Be careful when playing this game and play on soft surfaces and mats to avoid injury.
There are numerous teambuilding games and group activities at LoveToKnow Business that might also be helpful to cheerleaders in building trust and team spirit. There are also many different exercises that can help build endurance and flexibility for better cheering.