Cheerleaders Find New Aid in Quest for Perfect Cheers

SURPRISE, AZ—Cheerleaders are known for coming up with creative ways of keeping sports fans in the game. According to a mother and son writing team, however, the very best cheerleaders are not only clever with words and rhythms, but are also real fans of the sports they cheer.

By talking with current and former cheerleaders, the pair has found that an understanding of sports fundamentals helps cheerleaders make the best possible sport-specific cheers. “[That knowledge] also makes the job of cheerleading more fun and the games more enjoyable for the cheerleaders themselves, since they get what’s going on,” says Carol Cavanaugh, the co-author of the Cheer ‘Em On Sports Guide, which she wrote with her son, Clay Cavanaugh.

“We’ve all been to games where the cheers are passionate, but a bit vague. Like when a cheer team goes with, ‘D-fense. D-fense,’” says Clay. “It’s not a bad thing,” he continues, “But if you’ve ever heard a cheer team change their cheer based on exactly what’s happening in the game, it grabs your attention. The best example is when I actually heard a really cleverly worded cheer at a football game rooting the team on to get a safety. That’s not something you hear every day,” he laughs.

The pair says that a good reception of the book by the cheerleading community would mean a lot to them since helping cheerleaders is one of the big reasons they wrote the book. Its purpose is to teach the basics of six sports that tend to have cheerleaders involved (baseball, basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, and wrestling). The Cavanaughs claim to be able to teach each of these sports in less than 30 minutes.

For more information on the Cheer ‘Em On Sports Guide and a downloadable excerpt, please visit the book’s official Web site at The book is available at