Being a Cheerleader – Etiquette

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By: Heather Seely

Congratulations! You made the team. As your school’s most visible athlete, you now have a unique and noble role within your community and school. But, before you put on the uniform, make sure you understand the etiquette and standards cheerleaders are expected to uphold.


  • When you decided to cheer you signed on to be an ambassador to your school. Keep your appearance clean, friendly, and approachable.
  • Keep makeup light, remove jewelry, and hide any visible tattoos.


  • Arrive early! Cheerleaders should be at the game at least thirty minutes prior to kick off (or the time designated by your coach). Warm up all important skills before the game begins.
  • Come performance ready! If you’re supposed to show up in uniform, that includes shoes, socks, bows, etc.

National Anthem

  • During the national anthem, stand in proper lines. Keep your hands at your waist, behind you back, or right hand over your heart.
  • Stand still and silent until the final note is sung.

Team/Player Introduction

  • Your job is to get the crowd on their feet. No matter how you celebrate the entrance of the team, remember that the focus should remain on the team/players, not on the cheerleaders.
  • Remember, we cheer for our own team during introductions — not against the other team.


  • Maintain good manners. Cheerleaders serve as the welcoming committee for the visiting school and their fans. Think of the visiting team as guests at an event you are hosting.
  • Keep your cheers positive, and directed at your own team. Rooting for the other team’s failure shows poor sportsmanship.
  • Want to take your hospitality to the next level? Bring a cooler of water bottles over to the visiting team’s cheerleaders before the game. Your captains can also invite the visiting team to light snacks at halftime.

Sideline Smarts

  • Keep cheers and stunts simple and easy to follow. Leave complicated competition stunts where they belong — on the competition floor.
  • Carry out a touchdown tradition after every score.
  • Regardless of the score, cheerleaders happily encourage their team until the bitter end.
  • Steer clear of “boos.” Instead, counter them; use a traditional chant to change the crowd’s focus.
  • Throughout the game, keep sideline conversation minimal.

Injured Player

  • Take a knee and stay quiet until the player (of either team) has left the field.
  • For a prolonged injury, you may gather as a group. But, keep your focus on the player.
  • Clap as the athlete walks off.

Know Your Role

As your school’s most visible athletes, your primary role is to build a sense of community and school spirit both on and off the playing field. Whether cheering at games, running a pep rally, organizing alumni functions, hosting visitors, or killing it at competition, always conduct yourself in a manner that brings enthusiasm to your school and unity to your community.

Heather Seely was a UCA instructor from 1990-1993. She cheered for two years at George Mason University and finished 2nd in the nation in Division 1 at the College Cheerleading National Championship. On behalf of UCA, she has judged Chile’s and Japan’s National Championships, administered coaches’ training for over 200 Japanese coaches, was the Key Note speaker at the TSSAA coaches convention, authored the UCA seminar on “How to Build a Successful Cheer Program,” and co-authored the book, Coaching Youth Cheerleading.She is going into her ninth year as the Varsity Cheer Coach at Briarcrest Christian High School in Memphis,TN. She resides in Collierville, Tennessee with her husband and four children.

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