Cheerleading chants are practiced and executed by cheerleaders at all levels, from youth recreational sports to professional football and basketball. They often follow rhythmic patterns and are used to inspire players and fans. They can be accompanied by dances or movements, performed in pyramids or while dancing, and often featuring spelling or rhyming.
Found at a game, a rally, or a cheerleading practice, the most typical cheerleading chants can be something as simple as the spelling of a word, such as a player or a team name. Simple cheerleading chants can follow this pattern: “Give me a T! Give me an E! Give me an A! Give me an M! Go Team!” These kind of chants can be called by one cheerleader, accompanied by lettered signs, or done alone in front of a crowd, in a call-and-response manner.
More complex cheerleading chants follow patterns and rhythms, and can be set like rhyming couplets. As opposed to a simple “Go, Team, Win!” chant, more complex cheers can sound something like: “Pride and spirit/ Go team, let’s hear it! / Better than before / Because we want it more!” These cheerleading chants are usually not performed with stunts, and can feature the cheerleaders in a line, waving pom-poms, clapping hands, or moving into formations.
Other cheerleading chants may have nothing to do with the team or the game, and serve as a source of extra adrenaline for fans, players, and cheerleaders alike. These chants can be silly or fun, and are usually performed with rowdy dances or playful cheers. One example is: “You are good and I’m not faking/ I won’t turn you into bacon/ Give me a p-i-g/ What’s that spell? Piggy!”
Cheerleading chants can take the form of a school song or cheer, such as “Fight on, ole’ East High School/ Fight on with steam!/ Fight on, fight on, cheer our high school team!” They can feature points of school or team pride, or can playfully insult or jest a despised rival. They can be a simple urge to get rowdy, and some cheerleading chants do not even feature real words, such as a simple “Rah, rah rah!”
Cheerleading chants such as these are usually reserved for half times, breaks, and time outs during a competition. They can be performed on the sideline of a football game or out of bounds on a basketball court during action, or on the field of play to encourage fans during boring time outs. They are used by young girls or boys in eight or 10 year old recreational teams, learned and practiced by high school cheerleaders, and carried out competitively by collegiate-level cheerleaders. Even the most famous cheerleading team in the world, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, employ cheerleading chants at games and appearances.