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Pep Talk - Keep Up the Spirit - Spirit and Pep Rally Ideas

Donna McKay - National Federation Spirit Coach of the Year 2006
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Cheer coaches are always looking for new ideas to increase school spirit and pep rallies are the perfect way to accomplish this.  A successfully organized pep rally will contain lots of action and a dynamic emcee that will keep the pep rally moving quickly. When you add in good speakers, skits and crowd involving activities, you have the recipe for a successful pep rally.

The school song is an upbeat way to begin and end any rally. It gets people on their feet and involved immediately. Cheerleaders can add spirit words and motions to fun songs such as “Dr. Who,” “The Twist,” “Chicken Dance,” and “We Will Rock You.”  Cheer/dance performances, since they don’t involve the crowd, should be kept short.

To keep the crowd interested, a maximum number of people should be involved in every pep rally. This means that all in-season coaches and activity advisors be asked to speak; not just the football coaches. To help promote school unity, it’s a good idea to select a cross section of the student population plus faculty/coaches to participate in pep rally competitions.  

Designating a theme for the pep rally is another way to add participation and  increase involvement. It’s important to choose an easy theme, so a majority of students can partake.  Some fun ideas for easy themes are:

Beach Day
Students wear flowered shirts, shorts, sandals and leis. Music by the Beach Boys can be played at the rally and between classes (if possible). And a limbo contest (with music) could be a good crowd involving activity.

Pajama Day
Students can wear pajamas, slippers, bathrobes, and carry stuffed animals. An egg race between groups wearing the eye masks can be used at the rally. Place eggs on the floor and tell the participants they have to walk across the gym without stepping on them. Then, when the eye masks are on the participants, pick the eggs up. As the participants walk across the floor, someone cracks an egg now and then so participants think eggs are still on the floor.

Tie Dye Day
Students wear tie-dyed clothing and Sixties music is played at the rally and between classes. The Hula Hoop contest (see below) can be used for a crowd involving activity.

Most of the following  ideas allow for participation by various groups and different team sizes.

Airplane Toss
Have a table with paper and pencils available outside the pep rally. As students enter the rally, have them write their name on a piece of paper and fold it into an airplane. Near the end of the rally, a trash can is put in the middle of the floor. Students try to throw their airplanes into the trash can. If a plane lands in the can, that student wins a prize.

Bubble Gum Contest
Each head coach lines up in front of a table that has whipped cream pies sitting on it (the floor is protected with plastic). Every pie has a piece of bubble gum buried deep within the cream. A garbage bag, with a hole cut out for the head, is slipped over the coaches’ heads and upper bodies.  The first coach to find the gum and blow a bubble wins.

Hula-Hoop Contest
Each team (at least ten peole) stands in a circle holding hands. A hula-hoop is hanging between two of the people on a team. The team must pass the hula-hoop around their circle without letting go of their hands. This means people must contort their bodies through the hula-hoops.

Pep rallies are a great place to fire up the fans. And by involving a cross-section of students in pep rallies, you will make more fans feel connected to the school. When cheerleaders are doing their job; people are having fun and it's easy to have enthusiastic fans. Teach your squad how to show their spirit.  Visit the Cheer Coach & Advisor Web site for more pep and spirit  ideas

Donna McKay has coached high school cheerleading for twenty years. She was formerly a two-term president of the Iowa Cheerleading Coaches’ Association and is currently the association’s secretary and ethics director. Donna was  the 2006 National Federation Spirit Coach of the Year and  an Outstanding Achievement Honoree by AC in 2004. She is co-author of the recently released book, Complete Cheerleading, and judges cheerleading competitions nationwide. Donna is a former member of the National Federation Spirit Rules Committee and the National Spirit Group Advisory Board. She holds an MSE degree in Educational Administration and teaches at Mason City High School.

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