Where Do Cheerleaders Stand At Basketball Games?

Editorial credit: Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock.com

Cheerleaders bring positive energy and spirit to a basketball game and encourage the fans in the bleachers to support their team. They are an important part of a sporting event, but unlike the players, they’re not always on the center court. So, where do cheerleaders stand at a basketball game?

Cheerleaders at basketball games stand where they are most visible to the spectators. Twelve cheerleaders are permitted to stand on the sidelines between the free throw lines or behind the end line during play. Standing behind the free throw lane and under the basketball net is prohibited.

Basketball is a high-intensity and fast-paced sport. Cheering is vital for team morale, but standing in the wrong place could lead to interference in the play and injury to players and cheerleaders. So, knowing where to be stationed on the court during a basketball game is essential.

Where Should Cheerleaders Stand At Basketball Games?

The primary role of the cheerleader is to maintain a positive and competitive atmosphere for the fans and players throughout the game. For this purpose, cheerleaders need to take up a position that allows them to have a clear view of the court and the scoreboard while being visible to most of the crowd.

Only 12 cheerleaders are allowed to be courtside during the basketball game, provided there is sufficient space for them as set out by basketball and cheer association regulations. But where are cheerleaders allowed to stand during the game?

The main areas designated for cheerleaders are on the sidelines between the free throw lines and behind the end lines at the base of the playing area. They must remain outside the court’s perimeter during the game, especially when the ball is in play.

Cheerleading When Standing On The Sidelines

The sidelines are the zone where substitute basketball team players, coaching staff, and other team members sit. Cheerleaders can stand in this area, provided there is enough room.

The sidelines run the length of the playing surface, which is 96 feet. The area where cheerleaders can stand is only between the free throw line on either side. This measurement leaves a remaining space of approximately 60 feet. There must be an 8-foot gap from the perimeter to the bleachers for cheerleaders to perform safely.   

Cheerleaders can stand on either side of the court in this area while keeping clear of the playing area during a game to avoid any incidences which could cause the game to stop. Cheerleaders remain out of harm’s way in this position, but the players can still hear their cheers.

Coaching staff, referees, scorers, and medical personnel may congest the sidelines. Some arenas are smaller than others, so it is essential to designate alternative areas for cheerleaders to stand during the game. This space is usually behind the basket on the other side of the court, behind the end line.

Cheerleading While Standing Behind The End Line

It’s common for cheerleaders to stand behind the baskets on the shorter side of the court, divided by the baseline. The area is out of bounds for players with the ball making it an ideal place for the cheerleaders to stand.

The back of the arena to the restraining line, 6 feet behind the end line, is an area that provides adequate space to accommodate cheerleaders. The squad avoids interfering with or distracting the players in this area.

At the end of a quarter, during time-outs of longer than 30 seconds, and during halftime, cheerleaders are allowed to perform cheers on the center court to engage the crowd and raise the spirit of the arena. So, where are cheerleaders permitted to stand during the various stages of a basketball game?

Where Are The Cheerleaders Before The Start Of A Game?

As the clocks count down to the start of the game, cheerleaders may move through the stands to say hello and engage with the fans. This interaction creates an environment to begin a rhythmic clap of support for the team from the crowd and creates a competitive, enthusiastic atmosphere.

Once the squad has heightened the crowd’s energy, they move into position and form a tunnel to welcome the players onto the court. They stand facing each other, a distance wide enough for the players to pass between them. They often wave pom poms in the teams’ colors and cheer as the players run onto the court with shouts from the warmed-up crowd.

Shortly before the whistle goes and the game begins, the cheerleaders position themselves behind the perimeter of the basketball court in the designated areas and face the crowd, ready to cheer. By building a rapport with the supporters and being visible before the game even begins, the fans feel more comfortable cheering along during the game.

Editorial credit: Vitalii Vitleo / Shutterstock.com

Are Cheerleaders Allowed On The Court During Halftime?

Halftime is the cheerleaders’ moment to shine and show off their skills. This 15-minute intermission allows more than 12 cheerleaders to perform choreographed sequences on the court. During the performance, the cheerleaders stand facing all directions in the arena to engage and entertain the crowd.

Performed on the hard surface of the basketball court, the squad may choose to stand on cheerleading mats to decrease the chances of injury when executing a full dance drill that may include jumps, tumbling, and stunting.

Cheerleaders can stand on the court and cheer between quarters and for time-outs between 1 and 2 minutes in length. The squad must return to the bleachers when game officials instruct, but does it also apply to the stoppages during the quarter breaks?

Where Can Cheerleaders Perform Between Quarters?

There is a break each quarter for 2 minutes and 10 seconds when cheerleaders can stand and perform in the designated area, a space between the bleachers and the court perimeter. Cheerleaders can perform limited cheers and stunts on the court during allotted times but must return to standing positions on the sidelines when instructed.

Cheerleaders are assigned to keep the fans involved in the game and encourage their team during play. When not on the court performing, they can lead motivating cheers and clapping from the sidelines to keep fans involved in the game. 


Cheerleaders stand where they are visible to supporters in the bleachers and where the players on the court can hear their cheers. Where they stand depends on what is happening in the game and the guidelines set by state cheer regulations. Cheerleaders create a competitive and friendly environment for everyone attending the event, and the basketball experience would not be the same without them.


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