Men’s Guide to Cheerleading – Welcome Yell Leaders

Kansas Cheerleading Flag Runner at KU Basketball Game in Lawrence, Kansas
Running the Kansas Basketball team out to the 16,300 screaming fans at Allen Fieldhouse is something you will never forget.

Gentlemen, if you’re reading this you have already joined or are thinking about joining in on what I view as the greatest sport or activity you could think of getting involved with. Ladies, if you are reading this, enjoy but also please forward onto any guys you know who already cheers or could possibly want to join your cheerleading team. Figured I could provide some best practices for the dudes out there.

Some people call us yell leaders, some call us other things, some mean and others nice. But at the end of the day I am a cheerleader, just like everyone else on my team. If you want to get more specific or formal about it, you can call me a male cheerleader. KU Cheer Yell Leaders before UCA Nationals 2010 - Kansas Cheerleaders

My name is Scott, and I have been a male cheerleader for many years now. I cheered in High School and in College (Univ. of Kansas), instructed for UCA, worked in Varsity Spirit Corporate Office/Marketing Department, and now coach a High School team with my wife. I get the pleasure of working in and around cheerleading on a daily basis. Needless to say, I really enjoy cheerleading.

Through my time as a cheerleader and a coach, I have noticed a rise in the number of Male Participants in the last several years which is awesome, but unfortunately I have seen many Male Cheerleaders not representing well for the entire group. This bothers me a bit, but moreover encourages me to get the word out there and to help these young men who want to enjoy the sport of cheerleading like I have. As a male cheerleader there are many things to remember and focus on while learning skills and safety, but most importantly it is to be a Gentleman. Being a gentleman will keep you grounded, keep you out of trouble, and always viewed in a positive manner.

Seeing as cheerleading is a female dominated sport, the chances of being around more girls than guys while cheering is highly likely. Regardless, if you are best friends with the girls around you or if they are complete strangers to you, you must act like a gentleman. Keep your language in check; girls don’t want to hear your dirty jokes or bodily functions. Some girls may say, “Oh it doesn’t bother me when you say things like that,” well news flash guys, IT DOES! Being aware of what you are doing at games, practices, competitions, and team outings is a simple thing you can do to promote the good qualities that we as male cheerleaders have and bring to each and every team we are on.

At these events, act like a gentlemen. Be a good sport, act appropriately, wear a shirt, be a member of the squad! Not the guy that is too cool to join in with the rest of the squad during activities or performing. You joined a team, be a part of it. Every day you are with that team you must treat every squad member with respect. Respect is key. Just because most of your teammates will be girls does not mean you can treat them as less than you or as objects of lust. Yes your girl teammates are cute and it might be distracting, but you are there as a member of the team, not just a friend who stopped by to say hi and flirt with the squad. Respect your coach. In many cases for guys, the coach of their squad hasn’t ever been a coach to guys and girls so they will not be used to addressing the team as a coed group or not know what to even have you do as a male cheerleader.

Cheerleading Stunts - Paper Doll Libs from Kansas Cheerleaders stunting in West Texas in 2010
Throwback: KU Cheer in El Paso, TX for a Sr. Bowl Game

Your coach may ask you to do a dance or skill that you feel uncomfortable performing; they might not even realize that it makes you feel that way. But tell them. They are probably just as confused about what you should do while cheering as you are. Give them some basis of what you feel comfortable with and they will be able to come up with some kind of compromise as to what you can do to improve the squad and help get the job done as an entire spirit squad. Remember, that is why you are on the squad, to help the team. Cheerleading isn’t a solo sport, it requires a team and teamwork to get crowd involved, hit routines, and accomplish goals.

Wrapping up Part 1 of a Man’s Guide to being a Cheerleader, remember to act as a Gentleman at all times while being a male cheerleader. It will carry you further than you think and will gain you respect as you go. Next time in Part 2, I will continue the Gentleman discussion with added views into practices, games, and competition as well as a discussion into getting the most out of being a cheerleader as a guy.

Questions? Need advice? Get at me on social media: Coach ScottyB

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