How to Start a Cheerleading Team in 10 Steps

Sierra Swigert
starting a cheerleading team
starting a cheerleading team
With the number of cheerleading participants exceeding 3 million each year, it’s evident that the popularity of the sport will continue to rise. This increase in participation levels creates a need in communities for additional programming. 
Creating a cheerleading team can provide opportunities for youth athletes to learn new skills, build self-confidence, and develop meaningful relationships. 
Whether you're a school administrator looking to start a cheerleading program for your sports teams, or a parent interested in forming a recreational cheerleading squad, the process of starting a team can be both exciting and challenging.
In this post, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to create your own cheerleading team that inspires and empowers young athletes.

How to start a cheerleading team, step by step

  1. Determine the type of squad you’ll be
  2. Decide on a name, logo, and colors
  3. Create a bank account for your team’s funds
  4. Find a facility to practice in
  5. Host tryouts
  6. Get uniforms and equipment
  7. Get a sports management software
  8. Find competitions to join
  9. Start fundraising
  10. Seek local sponsors

1. Determine the type of squad you’ll be

When you think of a cheerleading team, your mind probably goes to sideline cheerleading at football or basketball games. Although this is a popular option, it’s not the only type of cheerleading that exists. 
Choosing your squad type is the initial step to creating your team, as each type has its own style, level of athleticism and focus. 
a breakdown of costs to start a cheer team
  • Recreational cheerleading is a non-competitive type of cheerleading that focuses on learning basic skills and having fun. These cheerleaders perform at community or sporting events, and everyone is able to participate since there isn’t a certain skill level required.
  • All-star cheerleading is focused more on stunts, tumbling and choreographed routines. These squads have tryouts and compete on a local, regional or national level. Practices are used to prepare for competitions, and participation can be costly. Athletes with a background in gymnastics are more likely to participate in this type of program since it’s at a higher skill level.
  • School cheerleading is for athletes within a certain school district and is available for middle and high schoolers. High school has a Junior Varsity (JV) and a Varsity team where athletes must participate in tryouts. They cheer for their school teams during the year and have few competitions. The focus is on learning cheers, chants and basic stunts for sideline cheering and half-time shows.

2. Decide on a name, logo, and colors

Now that you’ve chosen the type of cheerleading squad you’ll have, it’s time to create your team’s brand. Your brand will consist of your team’s name, logo and colors. 
a new cheerleading team on the field at a game
Photo by Ashley Williams for Pexels
Deciding on a name can be fun and exciting, but it’s important to choose a name that reflects your team’s mission statement and values. 
Let’s look at two examples:
  • If you're starting a team for your local middle school, you may want to name the squad “Mini {Insert Mascot’s Name}” so that it aligns with existing branding. 
  • If you’re a new all-star team then your name might include descriptive words such as “Xtreme”, “Pros” or “Legacy”.
When choosing a name, consider its uniqueness. Since you’ll have your own website, you’ll want it to appear first in search engine results. If your team’s name is commonly used, then you might have trouble with prospects finding your website.
Your next step is to determine your colors and design a logo. When choosing your colors, consider how easy it will be to source uniforms and equipment. For example, there might not be a lot of options if your main color is a specific shade of blue, so we’d recommend sticking to a primary color for this first choice! 
a logo for a cheerleading team
Creating a sports logo is a great way to build credibility for a new team and you can use it on your uniforms, additional apparel, signage and social media.
Not a graphic designer? Not a problem - you can always use a logo generator like PlaceIt to get started creating a logo online!
logos for a cheerleading team

3. Create a bank account for your team’s funds

The cost to participate in your cheerleading squad will vary depending on what type of team you form. Regardless of the cost to participate, create a bank account specifically for the team's funds.
Once you’ve chosen a bank, gather the necessary documentation. Most branches will require your team’s tax identification number (TIN) or Employer Identification Number (EIN). You can get your assigned number by registering as a business with the IRS.
After you get a bank account, determine who can have access. Authorized users could include your: 
  • Treasurer
  • Head coach
  • Board President
  • Fundraising chair
Keeping your account secure will be important as people change positions. 

4. Find a facility to practice in

Having a designated area for practices will help build credibility with parents, keep athletes focused and minimize confusion. Since you’re just getting started, you might not have an area on hand.
The quickest way to source a facility is to ask local cheer programs. There might be a designated spot that is open to all cheerleading programs once the proper documentation has been submitted. 
If you’re a new team in the area, contact local recreational facilities to inquire about their rental prices. Consider their hours of access, rental costs and what’s included in the fee (ie., tumbling mats). 
Once you have found a few potential facilities, be sure to visit them in person to ensure that they meet your team's needs in terms of space, safety, and equipment.

5. Host tryouts

Even if your squad is open to everyone, still consider hosting tryouts. They encourage friendly competition, allow cheerleading coaches to understand everyone’s skill level and help sort squad members into teams.
To host tryouts, you’ll first need to provide every athlete with a routine. Most tryout routines will include a chant, cheer and dance choreography. Depending on your age level and squad you might include stunts, jumps and tumbling. Each judge should have a score sheet so that you can evaluate each cheerleader on the same scale.
The chant and cheer can be performed individually or as a small group and will help gauge their voice projection, sharpness of moves, enthusiasm and rhythm. 
Common tryouts will have an individual chant and small group cheer to make it easier for coaches to grade teamwork. The dance will include jumps, such as toe touches, and allow coaches to further evaluate rhythm, coordination and flexibility.

6. Get uniforms and equipment

Now that you’ve established your brand and chosen your team members, you’ll need to order uniforms and equipment. Having matching uniforms is important to show team unity, provide credibility and give each athlete a sense of belonging. 
The cheerleading uniform style can vary based on age and squad type, but there are components that every uniform should have. Yours will need to include a skirt, briefs and a top. The top may have two separate pieces, which would include a sleeveless shell and a liner. Other items to consider are matching pom-poms, socks, tennis shoes and bows.
You can easily order uniforms on
cheerleading uniforms available for online ordering
Before you place your order, make sure measurements have been taken to ensure the proper fit for each cheerleader. Most retailers will provide you with a measuring chart since certain brands can run bigger or smaller.

7. Get a sports management software

Communicating with parents, posting practice schedules and registering cheerleaders can be hard work, so it’s important to have one place where you can manage all of these moving parts. Having dedicated sports management software is a great way to start because it will be tailored to your needs.
Jersey Watch is an all-in-one sports management tool built for youth and community sports organizations. You can build a website for your cheerleading team, register participants, manage payments, communicate with parents, and run background checks on coaches. All of these features are easily accessible on a fast and user-friendly platform.
a website builder for cheerleading programs with online registration and schedules

8. Find competitions to join

One way to motivate your squad is to join local cheerleading competitions. Participating will build confidence in your cheerleaders, introduce them to local teams and allow your team to showcase their hard work. Since your team is new, it will also increase your brand awareness with other coaches, judges and prospective team members
Typical cheerleading competitions consist of a two-and-a half minute routine that includes a chant, cheer and dance. Your team is assigned to a division and will be judged based on technique, difficulty, creativity and showmanship. The team with the highest score will win and be awarded with a trophy, medal or ribbon.
💡PRO TIP: Add competitions to your team calendar online. That way, parents and supporters can stay updated on future competitions and events. 
a cheerleading fundraising schedule

9. Start fundraising

Keeping costs low is an important way to maximize the number of cheerleaders who can participate. Fundraising provides an opportunity for your team to raise money to attend more competitions, buy new uniforms or even decrease individual registration fees.
There are an unlimited number of fundraising ideas for your team to choose from. You could opt for a tried-and-true fundraiser such as a car wash or you could try an online fundraiser where you only need wifi and a computer to get started. Regardless of your youth sports fundraiser choice, you’ll want to spread the word within your community to increase the likelihood of making money.

10. Seek local sponsors

Sponsorships are different from fundraisers in that they’re mutually beneficial to both your team and the person or business sponsoring you. They also require more time and effort because you have to build relationships within your community. 
To get started, create a list of potential sponsors in your area and then develop a sponsorship proposal. Within your proposal, have a package of dedicated tiers that clearly outline the varying levels of investment. 
You’ll then want to reach out to your potential sponsors and set up a meeting to discuss the opportunity. Depending on the sponsor, you may need to first craft a compelling email with basic information about your team and the benefits of becoming a sponsor.
Remember to be patient and persistent in your outreach, and always be professional and courteous in your communications.

Tips for starting a cheer squad

Once you’ve become an established cheerleading team, you’ll want to have continuing improvement plans. We have a few tips that you should follow to see long term success with your program.

Get the proper qualifications

Having the proper qualifications can save you from issues down the road. Here are a few types of qualifications that all cheerleading teams should have:
  • Background checks: Every adult coming in contact with your cheerleaders should have a completed criminal background check. This will ensure that you’re keeping your athletes safety top of mind
  • Participation Waivers: Each athlete should have signed sports waiver forms on file for each season. These waivers could include injury liability, medical authorization and photo and video release
  • Safety Training: Proper safety training, such as a CPR certification, is important for all cheer coaches and volunteers. At a minimum, everyone should be certified in first aid treatment
  • Certifications and Permits: Depending on the facility you’re training in, you may be required to have your own insurance or additional permits. Make sure you’re up to date on your local laws

Make a cheerleading business plan 

Your business plan is a document that lays out your organization’s goals and plans for the future. Components of a business plan can include a mission statement, services offered, financial projections and future growth plans.
During this time, you’ll also want to create your team’s budget since you’ll be evaluating the health of your finances and making future projections. You can use our sports budget template to get started!
Your business plan should be updated regularly to reflect changes in the market, industry, or operations. A well-written business plan can help you secure funding, attract new cheerleaders and guide your business decisions.

Plan a cheerleading camp

Creating a local cheerleading camp is a great way to establish trust, increase revenue and build brand momentum. Many programs put on a one-to two day clinic where cheerleaders learn new moves, participate in team-building exercises and practice for their final performance.
It’s also a great opportunity for more advanced team members to work on their leadership skills by mentoring younger cheerleaders. You can collect registration fees from each participant to purchase t-shirts, lunch and prizes. 

Stay organized

Staying organized is critical to your team’s success. Being organized as a cheer team consists of consistent communication with parents, posting easily accessible information to your website and having timely registration windows. 
Using software like Jersey Watch provides you with the tools to succeed as a youth sports program. Our platform allows you to manage your team’s website, registration and communication all from one area.

Start your cheer squad today

Starting a cheerleading team can be a great experience for everyone involved. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can create a safe and supportive environment for cheerleaders to learn new skills, build confidence, and develop lifelong friendships. Our team at Jersey Watch can provide you with the tools to get started today!
Jersey Watch is the Fastest Way to Manage Your Sports Organization