Spring semester has started, and sideline cheerleaders are happy to be back in uniform! And, although the weather will hopefully be warming outside soon, you are stoked about indoor cheering for basketball season. Being indoors, however, means that a few things have to be tweaked from football season–no matter if you’re still performing the same cheers, chants, and routines! Plus, basketball is literally a whole different ballgame from football, so there are some things that cheerleaders need to be aware of.

1. Cheering indoors means less room.
This is obvious: clearly, you don’t have designated sidelines in a gym like you did on the side of a football field. You line the sides of the court where you can, and try your best to get out of the way when your team comes in for a basket. You never know when a ball can go rogue and a player will jump to keep it inbounds, so make sure you maintain situational awareness at all times in order to avoid being landed on. Also, a basketball court only has tumbling room when games aren’t in session, so keep your tumbling to a minimum or for halftime performances only.

2. Basketball is fast-paced.
As stated above, cheering for basketball forces cheerleaders to be aware of their surroundings–things change quickly! Unlike the long football games (with downs, timeouts, and huddles), basketball keeps you on your toes! One minute, the ball is bouncing off the other team’s backboard, and then a rebound later, your team has points. If you don’t know anything about basketball, the one thing you need to know is that the game can change at any second. Because of its fast pace, cheerleaders need to keep to short, bite-sized cheers in order to keep up with the game. You can’t launch into a minute-long ‘defense’ cheer–your team might have the offense after five seconds! To stay on the safe side, cater your cheers to pump up the crowd, and stick to simple chants concerning game commentary.

3. The crowd can see your every move.
Cheering indoors means that you’re closer to your audience, and that puts you in the spotlight at all times. During football season, you could talk and laugh with your fellow teammates without the crowd noticing, hearing, or even caring. That time has ended, however. At basketball games, a good rule of thumb is to not say anything that could be taken out of context, and to pay attention to the game. If it’s at the end of a quarter, go ahead and stray from your spot or talk to your teammates! But, in between, just act like your coach is watching to not give your squad a bad rap.

4. You need new cheer shoes.
Sure, your cheer shoes could still be in decent condition after football season, but that’s probably because they are meant to be worn outdoors. Now that you’re stationed in a gym, you need indoor shoes in order to not ruin the ones you’ll be wearing next fall. Plus, basketball courts are usually waxed, which could cause injury to cheerleaders jumping and tumbling across them. Invest in some indoor cheer shoes for the season, and that way, you can still have your outdoor shoes on stand by for next fall.

What else should cheerleaders know about basketball season? Tell us your tips in the comments!