An integral part of any pep rally, ball game or cheerleading practice is wrapped up in the cheers, chants and songs that are used.
When to Use Cheers, Chants, and Songs
Knowing when to use a cheer, when to use a chant and when to use a song can be confusing even to veteran cheerleaders. Below are some rules of thumb to help you decide, but ultimately your squad captains and cheer coach will have final say.
A chant is much shorter than a cheer. A chant tends to be two to four lines repeated over and over. A chant is quick and makes a point. Examples of chants include:
- Knock 'em down. Turn it around. C'mon defense work.
- Hornets got the buzz. We ain't full of fuzz. Swish! Two points. Swish! Two points.
- Mary had a little lamb, but Eagles got that basketball (or football) jam.
Chants are easy to make up and your squad will likely learn dozens of cheers. Chants tend to focus on either offensive or defensive moves. The best times to use a chant include:
- While on the sideline during plays.
- To encourage your team to be defensive, take the ball back or make a basket or goal.
- During short time outs and quick breaks that call for something from the cheerleaders but might not allow enough time for a full-blown cheer.
Remember too that chants tend to be easy to remember, so encourage the audience to get involved as well. You can do this by having one cheerleader motion them to join in, with cards or by placing a few students in the stands to encourage other fans to chant along.
Cheers tend to be longer than your typical one or two line chant. Cheers serve a specific purpose as fillers that get the crowd revved up. For example, you'll often see longer cheers before a game starts or at halftime and quarter breaks.
The words and movements that go along with cheers tend to be more complicated and longer and you'll also often see a pyramid or other stunts during cheers. An example of a cheer might go something like this:
It's time to fight. It's time to yell. Look out (other team name), we'll step on your tail (works best if other team's mascot has a tail). Go fight win!
It's time to win. It's time for victory. Hey there, Eagles, you better hurry. Go fight win!
We got skills. We got game. Guess what, Eagles, you lame. Go fight win!
There are many ready-made cheers to which you can put your own motions and movements or add your own twists, or you can make up your own. Again, the best time to use a cheer is during longer breaks, such as halftime and quarter breaks or before a game starts.
Songs are quite different than either cheers or chants. You're likely to see songs at pep rallies and at halftime shows. A song might be as simple as getting the crowd to sing along with the school fight song or as complex as a compilation of songs used to rev the crowd up, such as "We Will Rock You", "Whoomp, There it Is" and "Get Ready for This". In addition, some schools use tried and true songs that have a military feel, such as:
- We are the Eagles, the mighty mighty Eagles.
- We don't know, but we've been told. Eagles team is might bold.
With the military style chant song, you can make up just about any words you'd like, which can create a unique focus for your song. The most common use of songs is for halftime dances, however, or the school fight song at the beginning of a game.
With so many cheers, chants and songs from which to choose, just the selection of which ones to use will likely keep your squad pretty busy. Listen to your coaches and cheerleaders with more experience and you are certain to find the perfect mix for your school's sporting events.