Stomp chants are chants that rely heavily on stomping and clapping to produce a somewhat musical rhythm. The idea is that if you get an entire sections of bleachers stomping and clapping, the sound will be louder than simply cheering alone. These expressions of spirit are not completely devoid of words; the words are simply intertwined in a specific rhythm. That is to say that it's the rhythm that is most important in a stomp chant.
History of Stomp Chants in Cheerleading
The idea of stomping a chant is not new, and it is certainly not unique to cheerleading. It actually has its origins in Stepping, a form of percussive dancing made widely popular by African American fraternities and sororities and originated in the early 1900s. As they would step, they would chant about their knowledge (particularly in African American history), how they looked, their fraternity, etc. Stepping has been used to inspire urban youth, and it has made its way into cheerleading squads nationally. It has been made popular and showcased by movies such as School Daze and Stomp the Yard.
Elements of Stomp Chants
There are several elements that are brought together to create a good stomp chant.
In order for a group of cheerleaders to look (and sound) good while doing a stomp chant, they have to all be on the exact same beat at the exact same time. This takes a lot of practice. If you're squad is new to stepping, it's better to start off simply and add more complicated routines as you become accustomed to doing it. A simple rhythm would look something like this:
stomp x stomp stomp x stomp x stomp stomp x
The x notes when you should clap.
Most of the focus and "wow factor" is in the rhythm that you're stomping and not in the words you are saying. In order for the words to be heard above the stomping and clapping, they have to be short, overly annunciated and predictable. Some examples of simple phrases to say while you're stepping a cheer might be:
- Go, fight, win! GHS!! (''or the initials of your high school)
- We are the best: GHS!
- We will win!
- Vic-tor-ry, we will see!
- We are the best, forget the rest.
You'll notice that everything is simple with easy, mostly one-syllable words. In general, crowds do not cheer along with the cheerleaders that are stomping their cheers. However, you are likely to get some participants if you use words that are very easy. Don't worry if the crowd isn't cheering along. Crowds usually enjoy the syncopated rhythm of the stepping when it's done right. It's notable that many stomp cheers end with the letters or name of the school or organization that the cheerleaders are representing.
The temptation is to stick with simply clapping and stomping. However, you have to add some complexity to what you're doing to have effective stomp cheers and chants. Simple ways to add complexity without challenging even the most rhythmically awkward member of your squad include:
- Layering: This is where different parts of the group perform at different levels so that visually, your group is eye appealing.
- The Wave: Your group will perform the same movements as each member joins in one by one.
Don't think that you are limited to merely using your own hands and feet. You can hit your neighbor's hand as part of the rhythm or even have half your squad do a standing tuck or other tumbling maneuver as part of the rhythm. You could even have the entire squad do a standing tuck, but then remember that this would be a rest in the rhythm while you are flipping.
Examples of Cheerleaders Stepping and Resources for Stomp Chants
The best way to put together your own routines is to watch what others are doing. It's not unheard of for a high school team to mimic a college step team's routine, although you wouldn't want to copy their moves exactly. Something that's worthy to note about stomp chants is that they are a great way to incorporate the males on your team more.
Simple Chants to Practice
Let this high school squad teach you some simple stomp chants to try.
Stomp the Yard National Step Battle
This YouTube video is from a team that entered a "Stomp the Yard Competition".
Cheerleaders Stomp Cheer
These cheerleaders are using a stomp cheer without words to get the crowd excited.
So, if you're looking for a way to add more appeal to your cheers and chants, try adding some stomping and see just how much more you'll rev your audience.