It’s that time of year again; time for high school cheerleading tryouts. Whether it’s your first year or your last, tryouts can be physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. Chances are you’re feeling a little anxiety about the whole process but, with adequate preparation, you can show up ready and channel those emotions into an incredible performance instead of feeling nervous. Take a look at our 7 great tricks to help you prepare for your high school cheerleading tryouts:
1. Get back in shape
High school cheerleading is a sport that requires a great deal of athleticism and endurance. Getting in shape shouldn’t start after you’ve made the team. Coaches will be looking to make sure that you’re up to the physical demand of the sport right from the get-go. So make sure you’ve started a workout routine in advance of tryouts. Choose something that includes both cardio (to increase endurance) and weight training (to tone and build the strength necessary for your stunts).
2. Practice, practice, practice
There are a lot of different skills you’ll need to know on the day of tryouts. The more you practice these skills, the more comfortable you’ll be with them. It might be tempting just to mark the more difficult skills during your practices but doing them all out will ensure that your body knows what to do and that all the skills become second nature for you.
EXPERT TIP: Most squads have open practices leading up to actual tryouts. This allows the coach to teach everyone the certain skills they will need that day. This is also a good time for the coach to evaluate how you work with others. Don’t seclude yourself from the group. Cheer is a team sport and you will have to make friends once you’re on the squad so go ahead and start early!
3. Get a partner
Cheer tryouts will require that you know and execute a number of different skills from tumblingto stunts to cheers. Chances are that you’ll be great at some of these skills and a little uncomfortable with others. A partner who can practice with you will be able to tell you what you’re doing wrong and help you correct it. Besides, practicing with someone else is much more fun than doing it by yourself!
EXPERT TIP: If you can, it’s best to find a partner who is great at the things you’re struggling with and vice versa. That way, the partnership is mutually beneficial.
4. Treat your body right
Taking care of your body prior to (and after) tryouts will help you perform better and decrease your chances of injury. As we’ve mentioned, cheerleading is a physically demanding sport so you want to prepare your body for the demand you’re putting it through. Make sure you’re eating enough protein and carbohydrates before and after practices and competitions, keeping your body well-hydrated and getting enough sleep.
These things don’t end after you’ve made the squad. You should pay close attention to your eating, drinking and sleeping habits throughout your cheer career in order to minimize your chances of injury.
5. Pay attention to your attitude
You’ve spent a ton of time working on your stunts and chants but don’t forget to work on your confidence and attitude too! A huge part of being a cheerleader is being confident and amping up the crowd. Make sure you practice smiling during your routines and cheering in an upbeat, loud voice. The coaches will be on the lookout for cheerleaders who not only succeed at the necessary skills but also bring a positive attitude to tryouts.
6. Come prepared
On the day of tryouts make sure you show up prepared:
- Wear your hair pulled off your face
- Wear athletic, fitted clothing so coaches can see your motions and body positions well
- Remove any jewelery or accessories that could be dangerous while tumbling and stunting
- Warm up and stretch
- Bring extra water
7. Don’t beat yourself up
Chances are you’ll probably make a mistake or two the day of tryouts. No one is perfect! If you bobble a dance a tumbling pass or miss a dance step, don’t get upset. Just keep going and keep that big smile on your face. Coaches will notice that your attitude stayed positive even when you made a mistake.
As long as you take the time and necessary steps to prepare both your mind and your body, there’s no reason you can’t ace your cheer tryouts.
These tips are a great starting point for getting your body ready for the challenges that come with cheerleading but there are many more things you must do to keep your body in performance-ready shape and help prevent injuries. Check out our FREE Staying on the Field: 7 Tips to Preventing Injuries eBook and take your training one step further!