Cheerleading is much more than a sport: it’s an art form that combines dance, gymnastics, and stunts. If your passion for cheerleading has you dreaming of how to start a cheer squad, you’ve come to the right place. These are our tips that can guide you through the process of starting a cheer gym or squad.
1. Decide On Your Focus
As you think about how to start your own cheer team, consider your goals. Are you hoping to take your squad to competitions? Will you have them cheer at games for youth sports teams? Perhaps you plan to offer simple cheerleading classes for training purposes.
Next, think about the age ranges you want to target. The youngest cheerleading teams are typically geared towards children five and under. From there, most cheer gyms will have students of all ages up to 18. Be sure to group them with other kids in the same age range or skill level, depending on your goals.
2. Find A Mentor
Starting a cheer gym is an exciting endeavor that takes a lot of hard work. You’ll need a clear view of the different roles you'll be taking on as the owner. Beyond coaching and choreographing, you’ll also have to be an entrepreneur, marketer, and more. Before starting out, make sure the full role is something you actually want to take on.
Find another local mentor to help guide you through the ins and outs of how to start a cheer squad. Look for someone with experience in the industry who can advise you in tough situations. Shadow them to get an idea of what their daily tasks look like and the other responsibilities they have beyond coaching.
3. Get The Proper Qualifications
One large part of how to start a cheer squad is complying with licensing and regulatory requirements. It’s important to be aware of the necessary permits and certificates you’ll need before you open your doors. There are typically local, county, state, and federal requirements to comply with. Figure out how much time you'll need to get set up and then plan accordingly.
Depending on where you live, there may be small business resources that include free legal counsel and other services. Be sure to call your local Chamber of Commerce as well. These resources will also be valuable as you work on your cheer gym business plan.
4. Create Your Cheer Gym Business Plan
If you’re already a part of a larger gym or studio, you can skip this section as you’ll already have these elements in place. For those learning how to make a cheerleading team from the ground up, your cheer gym business plan is essential. In its simplest form, it is a document that lays out your studio’s future goals and how you plan to achieve them.
At the very least, this document should include detailed information about:
- Your business structure for liability and tax filing purposes
- Financial projections, budgeting, and startup costs
- Your local market analysis
- The audience you’re targeting
- The services or products you're offering to your community
For more details on how to develop a thorough business plan, take a look at our guidance for dance studios.
5. Set Up Your Space
The space itself is a crucial part of starting a cheer gym. Whether you’re looking to buy or rent, you’ll need a large area with high ceilings, especially if you’ll be teaching advanced stunts.
You’ll also need to install the right flooring for safety. Common flooring materials include rubber, foam, and cork. Some gyms use carpet or vinyl, which are more affordable but less durable. Regardless of the level of your students, cheerleading safety mats will be another important purchase.
Need more tips for a safe practice? USA Cheer offers cheer safety & risk management online courses here.
6. Recruit Your Squad
Time to get the word out! To start, get your website up and running as soon as possible. This is going to be your prime source for gaining new students with location information, schedules, and more.
Beyond the website, your ongoing marketing tasks will include:
- Building your social media presence
- Growing your email list for future newsletters
- Gathering positive reviews on Google and social media
- Developing partnerships with local businesses and charities
As you continue to build a reputation for yourself and your cheer squad, your business will grow through referrals.
7. Plan A Clinic
Your cheer gym is ready and tryouts are right around the corner. Host a clinic to show off what you have to offer! Opening your doors to the public can help you build interest and set the tone for your business.
Break up the day into different sections to focus on techniques such as jumps, stunts, and tumbling. For those who are already convinced, a clinic can serve as the initial team building exercise you need to start off on the right foot. For anyone that still isn’t sure, your goal with this event is to draw them in.
8. Host Your Cheer Tryouts
The preparation phase is over and it’s finally time to host your cheer tryouts! Group students with similar levels of experience together for safer and more enjoyable practices. Tryouts can also help you create a highly skilled team to take to competitions.
Successful cheer tryouts are the key to creating your best and most dynamic squad. Check out our post on the best cheerleading tryout tips for coaches, including examples of score sheets and tryout flyers, as well as best practices for a successful event.
Remember, you want to go into this day with enthusiasm and excitement. Students will perform to the best of their abilities if you give them a warm and organized welcome.
9. Order Uniforms And Equipment
After your cheer teams are assembled, it’s time to take measurements for uniforms. Whether you’re taking your cheerleaders to competitions or the sidelines, a professional look is important. This will also be a big part of your branding, so choose wisely! Incorporate your colors and name in a bold way.
If you haven't already, also order any equipment and accessories your squads need.
10. Stay Organized
Most people do not start a cheer gym to focus on administrative tasks. They do it out of passion for cheerleading. Give yourself the opportunity to truly enjoy your cheer gym or squad by starting from a place of organization.
Studio Director's unique cheerleading management software can help you automate and streamline your key administrative tasks. Not only does high-quality software keep your business in order, it helps with marketing and provides additional value to your customers by allowing you to:
- Set up recurring or one-time online payments so customers can pay you as they like
- Handle online enrollment, as well as uniform management and competition registration with one solution
- Send automatic email newsletters, class schedules and other communications to new and existing students
Above all, Studio Director allows you to focus on your passion. Request your custom trial today to get started.