The Cheerleaders job, as we pointed out in a previous post, is “to lead and motivate crowds at a sporting event.” If a crowd starts to get unruly and starts yelling inappropriate comments at Referees, Coaches or the other team and its fans, cheerleaders to try to contain or control the situation so it does not get out of hand.
I teach my teams to be aware of the crowd environment and cheer accordingly. If the crowd is high energy then we need to focus on cheers that will keep them yelling with us. We do cheers and chants that the crowd will participate in. If they are yelling with us, they are not yelling anything inappropriate. All of our cheers and chants cheer for our team, not against the other team. We do not do B-E-A-T cheers or cheers that have negative connotation towards the other team. Our cheers focus on win, score, defense and pumping up the team.
Sometimes the crowd yells things directly at the Referees or they make negative comments about the other team in general. When this happens, I have my team start chants that are loud and will hopefully get the crowd yelling with them. Cheers that contain lots of stomping and repeating back are a good choice. I try to get them to be louder than the one or two fans that are causing the problem. This will keep the referees from hearing the offending fans. It also shows the Referees that we are making an effort to keep our fans at bay and not supporting the problem.
The last tool that my teams have to corralling the fans is their timeout and quarter break performances. At our school, the crowd prefers the dancing, stunting and tumbling to cheers and chants. Almost all of our timeouts include these pieces. My cheerleaders are trained to take the floor immediately after the buzzer rings for the quarter break or as soon as the Referee makes the call for the full time out. If they are rallying onto the floor and making noise, the crowd has less opportunity to make negative comments in the down time of a game. We remove the opportunity for the offending crowd member to have an audience.
As a coach, I also have a responsibility to crowd control. I am the one sitting in the stands by the cheerleaders and I am usually aware of what the crowds are saying. Being at the school for as long as I have, many of the students and parents know me so I can usually make eye contact or go talk to the person that is a problem. If I don’t know a student or don’t feel comfortable talking to them I usually bring it to the attention of the administrator or in our case a school police officer.