Cheer Pressure (Japanese: プラスルとマイナン！応援の道！？Prasle and Minun! Road Assistance!?) is the 52nd episode of the Advanced Generation series, and the 326th episode of the Pokémon anime. It was first broadcast in Japan on November 20, 2003 and in the United States on November 6, 2004.
Ash meets an old friend: Thatcher from Mt. Lighthouse! He's a member of a pep squad school that cheers at Pokémon battles, led by a man named Sheridan.
A disguised Team Rocket offers Sheridan money to cheer for their Pokémon battles. To test the effectiveness of the cheering, Brock and Ash offer to battle against Team Rocket.
Brock's Forretress knocks out James' Cacnea, who is secretly revived using Helping Hand. Sheridan wears a mask containing a small microphone that he uses to give directions to Pokémon hidden inside the pep squad's giant drums.
After Cacnea wins, it's Ash and Pikachu versus Jessie and Seviper. Jessie doesn't pay attention to the battle, and Seviper is quickly taken down. Sheridan issues commands to revive Seviper repeatedly.
Max sneaks nearby and knocks the drums over, revealing the Pokémon concealed inside. Sheridan runs off, and Ash manages to encourage Pikachu to victory.
Team Rocket then reveal themselves, but Pikachu is too weak to fight them off. Plusle and Minun revive Pikachu, whose Thunder attack starts a thunderstorm. A bolt of lightning hits Team Rocket's balloon, sending them blasting off.
The members of the pep squad decide to go home, Thatcher continues his Pokémon journey, while Ash and friends continue to Lavaridge Town.
As Ash and his friends continue their journey, May admires her first ContestRibbon. Excited at reaching the next town, Ash accidentally takes the wrong path. He stumbles across a group of people. Among them, Thatcher and his Plusle and Minun. He tells Ash and the others that he joined a pep squad that believes in the power of cheering. The leader of the pep squad, Sheridan, invites Ash and friends to join him in a battle to show the power of cheering. They readily accept the challenge.
The first match pits Brock against James, who is in disguise. Brock sends out Forretress to battle Cacnea. Once it appeared that Cacnea had fallen, Sheridan and the others began cheering. Unbeknownst to the group, Sheridan whispers "Helping Hand" into a microphone. Out of nowhere, Cacnea regains health and defeats Forretress. Ash and May are dumbfounded, but Max thinks something is wrong. The next match is Ash against Jessie, also in disguise. While she begins thinking of how to attack Pikachu, the Electric mouse begins attacking her Seviper. Angered, Jessie demands Sheridan begin to cheer, but he silences her, requesting patience. As soon as Seviper appears to have lost all energy, the cheering starts. Once again, Sheridan whispers Aromatherapy into a microphone. A Roselia and Vileplume are shown to be inside one of the drums. Both unleash their attacks.
Now convinced that something is seriously wrong, Max decides to investigate. He overhears Sheridan whispering "Helping Hand", and Max realizes that he is giving Pokémon directions for attacking. Meanwhile, Seviper has now regained health and is attacking Pikachu. Just as Pikachu is about to lose, Max shoves the drums over, revealing the Roselia, Vileplume, Makuhita, and Shroomish that were inside. Sheridan is stunned that his scheme has been revealed. After Thatcher and the other pep squad members demand a refund, Sheridan takes off running, and Team Rocket attempt to steal Pikachu. However, their plan fails and an explosion blasts them off. Although he is left disappointed, Thatcher tells Ash that he really admires his work with Pikachu. He promises to work hard and start from scratch to eventually become as great a Trainer as Ash someday, inspiring some of his fellow squad members to do the same. The group bids farewell to Thatcher and heads off on their next adventure.