How to Use An 8 Count Sheet

If you are a choreographer, cheerleader, or cheer coach, there is no doubt you know how to count to 8. Almost all cheerleading and dance routines are choreographed to 8 counts. However, something you may not realize is how to properly document your routine’s 8 counts for music producers and coaches. The easiest way to do this is by filling out an 8 count sheet! This document maps out the specific skills and choreography of a cheer routine and matches it to your 8 count cheer music mix.

Whether you are a coach planning for your next routine or an athlete recording the counts for your teams, 8 count sheets are a very important part of the creative process. Sheets may be used as a guide while teaching the choreography or as a resource to look back at throughout the season and perfect the routine. There are several important questions you should ask yourself before you begin to fill them out. Are you planning to have custom cheer music created? Are you downloading a premade cheer music mix from a company such as Either way, a well-made 8 count sheet will successfully make your moves on the floor pop!

A well-crafted and accurate 8 count sheet means your music will fit perfectly and highlight the skills of your routine! It’s is important to ensure your music mix and sound effects are in sync and impactful. Today we’re going to walk you through the top 8 (of course!) things you should know about filling out an 8 count sheet and why it matters for your cheer music mix. Before we get started, be sure to download our fillable 8 count sheet HERE.

1. Take good notes!

Whether you have custom music produced or are using a premade cheer mix in developing a cheer routine, be sure to take solid notes and details. Keep an organized list of key moments such as stunt transitions, tumbling, or dance moves in each section and exactly when in the count they take place. These will come in handy when filling out your 8 count sheet.

2. Practice!

Practice without music using only 8 counts with your team. Set up a tripod and record each routine in full and watch later, slowing the speed down to ensure its accuracy with each motion, clap, jump, and stunt. It is like your team is making a TikTok at practice!

3. Write it down!

Once you have your routine down, use the 8 Count Sheet, and start adding in your routine notes. You’ll notice that the sheet consists of several rows of different count sections, and this is why taking all of those notes back in step 1 was so essential!

4. Overshare!

Remember, all 8 counts are not created equal — the more information you can share, the better. As you fill in each row, be as specific as possible so that no matter who is reading the sheet — coaches or music producers — they can understand routine and how to the music will complement the skills.

5. Complete the sheet!

Don’t forget to fill out the sections. You’ll notice that there are boxes on the left-hand side of the to list the routine’s segments/sections. Make sure you fill these in so that your music producer knows precisely where the music needs to match the routine.

6. Keep everything organized!

Your 8 count sheet should be a detailed and organized list of your routine. It helps both coaches and music producers to understand where the “hits” are in your choreography and what the “hit” is – note these key moments on the sheet as motions, tumbling, baskets, or stunts.

7. Double check!

You do not want a mistake on your 8 count sheet to ruin that big moment in your routine. You also do not want to change your routine because there was a mistake on the page. Once the sheet is completed, run your routine with the team several times to make sure that every load, transition, and dismount is written down correctly.

8. Use it!

Once you have the 8 count sheet filled out, use it to guide your practice. Follow the counts and notes you’ve input in practice with your cheer squad. Are you hitting everything accordingly? Have the counts gotten off somewhere? Did each transition and segment line up with what you wrote down on the sheet? Make tweaks as needed to ensure there are no mistakes. Then submit the sheet to your music producer!

We know how important the 8 count is to cheerleading. It’s the foundation of your entire routine and the amazing cheer music for your performance! If you are new to filling these out, we hope these tips helped, and know that once you get this process down, you’ll be counting to 8 in your sleep!

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