Cheer tryouts are exhilarating. Even for seasoned cheerleaders, it’s an exciting and stressful experience. If you’re new to cheer or wondering whether or not you should tryout this year, absorb the information in this article before talking yourself out of what could be a life changing opportunity.
Any cheerleader will tell you that some of her best years were the ones she spent with her cheer squad. The friends you make, the confidence you build and the discipline you develop will all shape you into a well-rounded person. Whether you go on to a leader or a pivotal team player, you will take your cheer experiences with you through the rest of your life!
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Too often girls on the fence of joining cheer get stuck in this simple paradox of not feeling confident, athletic and/or flexible enough to do cheer. However, the best way to get good at cheer, is to cheer! If you know you want to do something, there’s no sense in putting it off.
Remember, trying out this year (even if you don’t make the team) will get you that much more ready for future tryouts!
From grade school on up, cheerleading tryouts can vary greatly from the summer before the initial start of fall sports (football cheer) to as early as January. Each school district will have its own process in terms of mandatory meetings, clinics, camps and tryout dates and times. In order to ensure you’re eligibility to tryout for your local squad, reach out to your local school district or cheer director for all necessary dates and times to ensure you have plenty of time to prepare!
If you don’t want to show up in cheer apparel, you’ll want to bring a backpack or gym bag to carry your essentials as well as appropriate cheer wear. You will definitely want a water or other refreshing drink to stay hydrated and keep your throat clear and ready to cheer.
For cheer tryouts, it’s best to wear form fitting shorts and tees/tanks and a sports bra to give you the best range of motion and flexibility. You will also want to be wearing cheer specific shoes to give yourself the best traction for your performance.
Carefully read over all provided information or check with the organizers to ensure adherence with all color requirements (ex: black shorts, white shirt, white cheer shoes, hair in ponytail, etc.)
While you don’t need to be a flexible yoga master, it does help to be flexible when it comes to cheerleading. If you can’t do the splits yet, you should use something like this door strap to help stretch out your legs.
And you’re going to be doing a lot of tumbling. A LOT. Landing on your ankle the wrong way, or twisting it a little, can take you out of the running for your squad. Build the strength in your ankles and wrist with this nifty tool. It will help make them stronger and less susceptible to injury.
At all levels, there are steps you can take to prepare for a successful tryout. When you only get one shot, you can never be too prepared. Depending on the level of competition, you will likely want to start preparing your mind and body months in advance. The more confident you are in your strength, flexibility and routine, the better you will perform. Always make sure to stretch before a tryout, hydrate to keep your body and throat ready to cheer and relax to come off happy and confident.
At this level, unless you know you are in a competitive cheer group, it’s best to focus on easy cheerleading motions, performing each movement cleanly and executing confident and exuberant cheers.
Remember to always smile and that the judges don’t know your routine, so if you mess up, they likely won’t notice if you just keep going!
It’s time to take your preparation and commitment up a notch! If you are serious about cheer, you’ll want to start stretching, exercising and eating right months before a tryout (if not full-time). You also need to nail your routines. Always smile through missteps, but put in the advance work to easily memorize cheer routines to avoid costly mistakes.
Another tip is to take notes. What separates the great from the good isn’t physical attributes, it’s the extra work they put in to studying the art of cheer. Treating cheer like a class is the best way to perfect your movements, your spirit and each individual performance.
Work on your spirit entrance. Coming into your tryout confidently with spirit will avoid a dreaded awkward entrance and help you hit the ground running for your tryout. Make an amazing first impression and don’t stop impressing by practicing your cheer tryout entrance.
Solidify your performance by perfecting your cheering. What to focus on to perfect your cheering:
– For college tryouts, it’s all about nuance. All college cheerleaders will likely have a similar physical and technical skill set, so it comes down to the little details that separate the girls that do or don’t make the cut. This doesn’t mean it’s not important to take the basic steps to prepare yourself as best as possible. Start stretching, exercising, eating healthy and memorizing the routine(s) months in advance.
Other steps you can take include:
All cheer tryouts are different, so gathering all of the necessary information early will help eliminate any barriers to a great performance.
The typical cheer tryout will be held in the evening when coaches and judges are available. To avoid any potential weather issues, most tryouts are held indoors at a school gymnasium, but others may occur on a track or field. Getting to know the surface with which you’ll be trying out on will inform you where you should be practicing your routine.
Tryouts are judged typically by the cheer coach. Other judges can include team captains, assistant coaches, athletic directors and others involved in the cheer program.
Tryouts can take a few hours and parents are not always aloud to attend, so it’s best to be prepared to be dropped off and picked up within a 1-3 hour time window.
You may be taken to a separate room to audition or you may be performing in front of all aspiring cheerleaders.
Tryouts can be intimidating, but utilizing this information and taking the right steps to prepare for cheer tryouts will give you everything you need to successfully make the cheer squad with no experience.
Willis is the founder and inventor of Stunt Stand. When he was a collegiate cheerleader, he noticed that some of his teammates were practicing with unsafe methods. Since then, he has been passionately working to help the cheer industry by creating products that help athletes train effectively and safely.