Back to school means back to spreading school spirit, and the best way to do that is by holding a pep rally. Pep rallies are a great tool to involve the entire school and get everyone excited for the big game. Cheerleaders are responsible for much of the planning and presentation, so use this info to put some pep in your pep rally!

Freshmen, seniors, the band, dance team, math teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, your principal … you get the idea. Invite EVERYONE to get involved in your pep rally! Pep rallies are designed to create enthusiasm for your school, so the more people that are on board, the more spirit you’ll ignite.

Each pep rally should have its own fun theme. Pick a theme that everyone can dress up for or use a popular song, movie or TV show as inspiration. Try “Cream the Other Team” and have a whipped cream eating contest or “Blast from the Past” and assign each class to dress up in a different decade. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and get creative. The possibilities are endless!

Pep rallies are normally held before a big game, such as Homecoming or a playoff game, but we encourage you to have as many as your school will allow! While many people associate pep rallies with football, consider having them for other sports teams like wrestling or track.

During the fall or spring, you can hold your pep rally outside. Outdoor fields or stadiums make a great location, just make sure that you have a backup plan in case there is bad weather. If you are planning a pep rally in the winter, the school gymnasium is probably your best option.

The purpose of a pep rally is to encourage school spirit and provide students, faculty, sports teams and others the chance to honor and celebrate their team in preparation for the upcoming game or event. A good pep rally should inform everyone about the event, generate excitement for it, honor the team’s accomplishments, create school unity and demonstrate good sportsmanship.

Step 1: Choose an event, date, theme and location. Survey the students and teachers to find out what events they want to celebrate and what themes they like. Make sure you get approval from your school administrators and give yourself at least two weeks before the rally to plan everything.

Step 2: Create an agenda. Common activities at a pep rally include: fight song, introductions, announcements/acknowledgements, music/band cadences, cheers, performances, crowd participation, games/competitions and skits. Make an outline of your events (keeping your theme in mind) and figure out how long the pep rally will be. You should also select which music and band songs will be played.

Step 3: Make an announcement to your school. If there are competitions or a Spirit Week leading up to the rally, tell students and teachers to sign up and get involved. Announce it with the morning news in the days leading up to the event. And, of course, get the word out on social media through your school’s Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts!

Step 4: Decorate! Make signs and posters to hang up in the hallways, homerooms, gymnasium and cafeteria. Use bright, bold colors and incorporate your theme. You might also want to make a banner for the team to run through as they enter or noisemakers to hand out to the students.

Step 5: Practice the cheers, dances, skits and anything else you’ll be performing at the pep rally. It doesn’t need to be as a serious as a game or competition, so add in some fun moves or music to go with your theme.

Step 6: On the day of the pep rally, set up the gym or field by pulling out bleachers, checking the sound system and arranging your props.

Step 7: Have fun! You put a lot of work into this, so now it’s time to enjoy it. If you planned and organized ahead of time, you can relax and join in on the fun with the students and team you’re rallying! The only thing left to do is energize your school with that contagious school spirit that cheerleaders are known for.

Step 8: Don’t forget to help clean up afterwards and thank everyone involved.

Step 9: Now that you’ve put some pep in your pep rally, take it to field for the big game! Good luck!

Tips & Tricks:

  • Enter with upbeat, recognizable, clean music to get everyone excited about being there.
  • Teach a fun and easy Class Yell. Give away a prize, like a large spirit stick, to the loudest class.
  • Play 2-3 games that are easy and to fun to watch being played. Use athletes vs. teachers or a variety of students that represent each grade. Have prizes for the winners; gift cards to concessions at homes games or free school spirit apparel are great choices.
  • Keep things moving. Make sure there is not a lot of time spent talking or explaining things. Your pep rally should be short and only incorporate curriculum that will engage all attendees.
  • Don’t use this time to introduce every sports team and each individual player. Rather, you should introduce the head coach, and that person can bring out their entire team together.
  • Play your fight song and ask the students to participate the next time by yelling the parts you want everyone to join in on. Encourage them to get really loud at games during those parts.