Performing elementary basketball cheers is a great way to share the fun of America's favorite indoor sport even before high school. The excitement of the basketball players on the court can be echoed by the fifth and sixth graders (and even younger) cheering from the sidelines.
What Makes Elementary Basketball Cheers Different?
Elementary schoolers have a few things that need to be taken into account when trying to come up with basketball cheers for their teams. It's not as easy as simply going onto the web and grabbing cheer routines that are done in the upper levels of cheerleading.
Keep the Cheerleaders Safe
Unless they have a lot of gymnastic training, stunts should be kept simple and to a minimum - such as on-the-floor pyramids, or pinwheels for floor cheers. Choreography, on the other hand, doesn't necessarily need to be simpler - sometimes many of the members already have some experience in ballet and jazz. The squad's coach should be aware of the movement experience of all the members, and remember that part of the inclusive nature of elementary cheerleading is making sure that everyone gets to participate.
Here are some examples of easy stunts and moves that could be done by any elementary school cheer squad on a basketball court:
- Lunge - An easy way to stike a dramatic pose, the left leg bends at 90 degrees while the right is kept straight. This can also be done with the other leg and used as part of a "floor pyramid" pose on either end.
- High V and Low V - The V is simply arms straight and pointed either up or down at 45 degree angles from the shoulders.
- T and Broken T - Extending the arms straight out from the shoulders, either fully straight or bent at the elbows, makes this a snappy transition move for the arms going up or down.
- Touchdown and Low Touchdown- While these are used more in football, the exuberant stretching of the arms in the air overhead is a great way to celebrate a basket.
- Daggers - This move involves elbows bent and close to the sides with fists (or poms) held up with the pinkies towards the audience.
When these simple moves are put into a sequence, they become combinations, and that's what helps build the movement vocabulary of a cheer squad. Once the basics are learned, simply combining them (for example, a broken T on one arm and a full T on the other makes the "bow and arrow" pose) can be the work of the elementary cheerleaders at practice. String several moves together along with words such as those found in the examples below, and you've got yourself the basics of elementary basketball cheers.
Strategizing Basketball Cheers
Elementary basketball cheers come in several different categories. Some are based around the team, some around the players and some just around the general excitement of the crowd. An example of a good pre-game "general" basketball cheer would be as follows:
One, (clap), two, (clap), three, (clap), Let's go!
This cheer can be repeated as the squad marches into the gym and along the court sidelines. While it is really simple, it's also easy for the crowd to pick up.
Nothing will make players work harder for their team than hearing their friends in the stands, led by the elementary basketball cheer squad, urging them on with something like this:
Batman, Superman, they ain't squat!
Big, Bad (insert player's name), is who we got!
That kind of cheer can be easily altered with any player's name, or even putting in other "super" types (Buffy or Hannah Montana for a girl's team, perhaps?).
The third type would be focused on the basketball team, and usually involves the name of the team or (more likely for an elementary team) the name of the school. Luckily, it's pretty easy to come up with rhymes and chants with that focus.
Steal the ball, shoot for three!
We're the best you'll ever see!
Winners, that is what we'll be!
Lincoln Elementary! (End this kind of chant with a lot of spirit moves and cheers).
Accentuate the Positive
Basketball cheers for elementary schoolers should definitely focus on the positive, rather than trying to cut down the other team:Shoot for two! Shoot for two! (Arms and poms in Y shape)
Show us all what you can do! (Swing arms around in large circle, end with poms punching forward)
Watch you score, hear us shout! (Shake poms left on "score", right on "shout")
That's what b-ball's all about! (Shake poms center, ending with a big spirit-jump)
One of the most fun activities that the cheerleaders can have is making up their own cheers for their team. Using original cheers that are modeled after cheers on the Internet or watched at other games is a part of building a cheer squad's identity. Not only that, it's educational!
Every move, every word should be sharp and full of spirit, and drilled over and over again in practice until it is second nature. That's when the smiles really become authentic, because instead of worrying about their routines, the cheerleaders are having a great time leading the crowd at their weekly basketball game.