Want to be a Cheerleader? – Trying Out for the First Time

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Are you a cheerleading newbie? Or maybe you’ve been cheering for a while and just need a refresher course in Tryouts 101? If you’re nervous about tryouts, check out these ten terrific tips for tryouts

1. The most important element of your appearance is your attitude. Smile genuinely — the judges can spot a plastered-on smile a mile away. Relax, be yourself, and have fun out there. Be confident and carry yourself with poise. Also, be attentive to the judges’ requests and make eye contact as much as possible.

2. Make smart clothing choices. Find out if there is a requirement for attire and make sure you follow it. Wear clothes that fit. Baggy clothes look sloppy, and you don’t want to be constantly adjusting for an outfit that is too tight. Also, you don’t want your clothes to detract in any way from your skills. Wear your hair in a ponytail or any other neat way of pulling your hair away from your face. Tuck your shirt in no matter how much better you think it is to leave it un-tucked. Make sure to attach your tryout number to a visible spot on your outfit if not already assigned a spot.

3. Get your beauty sleep. The night before the tryouts, get a good night’s sleep. You don’t want to look exhausted!

4. During the tryout, take your time. Don’t rush. Don’t think about the whole tryout at once; take one element at a time. Don’t worry about trying to remember the cheer while you are doing your toe-touch. Take deep breaths and remind yourself that you can do it!

5. If you mess up, keep going. Don’t giggle, get frustrated or angry. Everyone makes mistakes, and how well you handle it will reflect on your ability to deal with setbacks.

6. Be loud, but don’t scream. Enunciate each word loudly and clearly. Avoid woo-hoo-ing for your entrance. Instead, opt for a “Go Lions!”

7. During the clinic, try to make new friends, especially if you’re new on the team. Work hard and take advantage of the expertise of others trying out or running the clinic. Be open to trying new things. The best cheerleaders are versatile; they can be a base, a top, or a spotter. You never know, the coach may be evaluating your attitude and how well you work with others. Pair up with someone to work with throughout tryout week. They will be able to critique on your motions and skills, they’ll provide you with encouragement, and having a friend will make tryout day a little less scary!

8. Practice cheers/dances in front of a mirror when you get home to make sure your motion placement is correct. Clean up your jumps and tumbling skills. Point your toes, stick your landing. A sloppy toe-touch or back handspring is going to cost you points. If you’re going to do it, do it well.

9. Different schools have different score sheets. Talk with the coach before tryouts. Find out how the score sheet is weighted. Some squads don’t put a lot of importance on jumps or tumbling. Don’t waste hours perfecting your herkie and forget about the cheer when the cheer is worth 30 more points than jumps.

10. Don’t try anything you aren’t comfortable doing. You can get hurt! If you’re unsure of your ability to do a back handspring at tryouts, don’t do it. Stick to what you are confident with, and you will do well. The judges are looking for confidence as well as ability. 


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