How to Start a Cheerleading Squad
Starting a cheerleading squad takes a lot of hard work, but the rewards you can reap from being a part of a well-organized team will make the effort well worth it.
In cheerleading, your teammates will become like a second family to you and the memories you make will last you a lifetime. Squad members share the excitement of victories and the disappointment of defeats. They sweat together, laugh together, plan together and perhaps even cry together. As a squad develops, they find themselves thinking and reacting as one. There is nothing to compare to the bond between members of a cheerleading squad. That’s not to say that there won’t be conflicts, but if the squad is built on a strong foundation (much like a stunt), overcoming difficulties will just make the team stronger. So, where do you begin?
Steps to Start a Cheerleading Squad
- Name your squad.
- Choose your squad colors.
- Decide what team, if any you’ll cheer for.
- Decide if you’ll be a competitive squad.
- Find a place to practice. Consider the height, the floor and the times it will be accessible to you.
- Decide on how you’ll finance the squad—individuals, fundraising, sponsors.
- Decide on the organizational structure of the squad—captains, co-captains, secretary, treasurer, etc.
- Who will coach the squad?
- What age groups will the squad cover.
- How many members will you have?
- How will you travel to and from events?
- Check on insurance for the squad.
- Who will handle legal and financial issues (legal agreements, medical releases, nonprofit status, fees, etc.)?
- Advertise with flyers and signs. Put them up at malls, schools, and around town.
- Contact the local paper and radio station to see if they will run a short story or announcement.
- Tell everyone you know about the new squad and ask them to pass on the information.
- Have all your paperwork copied and pass it out to everyone trying out. Make sure you have the proper signatures where necessary (parents/guardians and cheerleaders).
- Medical releases including emergency contact information and health insurance information
- Contact information
- Practice rules
- Financial Responsibility
- Duties and responsibilities of members
- Emergency plan
- Select a time and date for tryouts.
- Decide on how many judges you’ll have.
- Select fair people to judge and be sure they have no personal interest in the selection.
- It’s a good idea to hold a mini-clinic before tryouts to give everyone a chance to learn the material.
- Keep a notebook with all your paperwork (listed above) in it.
- Keep a scrapbook.
- Keep records of orders, such as uniforms, etc.
- Make a list of cheers and stunts.
- Make a calendar.
- Delegate responsibilities and involve parents.
- Set up a calling committee if you have a lot of members.
- Enlist help with fundraising.
- Arrange transportation.
- Plan squad bonding activities.
As you can see, there’s more to cheerleading than just putting on a uniform and cheering. If you’re willing to make the commitment it takes to start a squad, most cheerleaders and coaches will tell you “there’s nothing better than being a cheerleader!”