Football cheerleaders have three main responsibilities on the sidelines… 1) Motivate the football team, 2) Keep the crowd entertained and 3) Lead the crowd in cheering on the football team. These tasks are accomplished much easier when there exists a basic grasp of core football concepts. Knowing what is happening on the field makes calling cheers and chants off the field a breeze. In football, things can change in an instant and as a cheerleader you need to be able to adapt quickly. Below you will find a list of core football terms and concepts that every cheerleader should know. Each term or concept is accompanied by an example of an appropriate chant for that specific situation.
Offense – When a football team is on offense they are in possession of the ball and are attempting to move down the field toward in the end zone in hopes of scoring.
Chant: We’ve got the ball so let’s go, let’s go.
We’ve got the ball, so let’s go! (Repeat 3X)
Defense – On defense the opposing team is in possession of the ball and it is now your goal to prevent the opposing team from moving down the field and scoring.
Chant: Take it away, Take it away
Defense, Take that ball away (Repeat 3X)
First and Ten – In football, you are given four attempts to go ten yards. Each attempt is called a “down”. Once you’ve moved ten yards, you are given four more attempts to move another ten yards. The first of the four attempts is called first and ten. If you’re team is unsuccessful in moving the ball ten yards during their four attempts the other team will gain possession of the ball.
Chant: First and Ten, Do It Again
First and Ten, Let’s Win! (Repeat 3X)
Fourth (any down) and inches – If you are on offense, this means your team only needs to advance the ball a few inches forward to either score or complete the down. If you are on defense this means if you can prevent the opposing team from moving forward a few inches you will gain possession of the ball. This is often called holding the line because you are attempting to prevent the team from passing a specific yard on the field.
Chant (Defense): Hold that line
You’ve got to hold that line. (REPEAT until play is finished… Get crowd involved)
Chant (Offense): Down, Down, Down the Field
Raise, Raise, Raise the Score
Down the field, Raise the score, Six points more! (Repeat 3x)
Pushing the Opposing Team Back – This phrase is used when a team is on defense and manages to tackle the other team behind the line of scrimmage. The line of scrimmage is where the play begins. When the offense is tackled behind the line of scrimmage it results in a loss of yards. This is called pushing the other team back.
Chant: Push em’ back, Push em’ back Yard by Yard
Push em’ back, Push em’ It won’t be hard. (Repeat 3x)
Interception – When an interception occurs the defense has just taken the ball away from the offense during a play. An interception is typically the result of a pass being thrown by an offensive player and caught by a defensive player.
Chant (Encouraging Interception): Steal It, Swipe It
That’s the way we like it! (Repeat 3x)
Chant (After your team has intercepted the ball): We’ve got the ball so let’s go, let’s go
We’ve got the ball, so LET’S GO! (Repeat 3X)
Touchdown – This is when a team has made it into the end zone and scored six points. Often referred to as a T.D.
Chant (Encouraging a Touchdown):
T-D, We want a Touchdown! (Repeat 3x)
Chant (After scoring): H-O-TT-O-G-O
The (mascot name) team is Hot to Go
Oh yes we’re hot to go! Oh yes, we’re hot to go! (Repeat 3x)
Chant (After the opposing team scores): That’s all right, That’s okay
We’re going to get them anyway! (Repeat 3x)
Fumble – If you are on offense and you lose the ball during a play, this is considered a fumble. The ball can be recovered by either team. If you are on offense, you want your team to recover the fumble.
Chant (if you are on defense and recover the fumbled ball): They dropped it,
We got it, Now let’s move that ball! (Repeat 3x).
There are many more terms and concepts involved in the game of football, but mastering these basic guidelines will help you’re team rule the sidelines.