You’ve been staring at them since your parents made you go to your first and numerous following, Friday nights at the High School Football game. You learned the words. You moved in your seat to the created rhythm. You screamed as loud as you ever have for a t-shirt from them. You chanted De-Fense with everyone sitting around you, as they lead you in cheer. Now, you’re trying to figure out how to make your schools cheerleading team.
What do I need to do? When do I need to start preparing? Where can I practice? Who can help me get better? How will I deal with the pressure? Why are the judges gonna think I’m better than my peers?
First, you must know what type of team you will be trying out for. Most athletes will think of the basic questions…Is it an all girl team or coed? What kind of skills are the coaches looking for? When are tryouts? To give yourself an edge, go a little deeper and ask:
- What positions are the coaches looking to fill? Using Football as an example, leather helmets vs today’s technology to prevent concussions is a clear picture of the evolution of modern sports. Similarly in cheerleading, the traditional kicks and poms are seen far less frequent than highly athletic and acrobatic maneuvers. And just like other sports, there are rolls and positions, even a bench, on a cheer squad.
- When should I start working on the needed skill sets? This ultimately depends on your goals, and to what type of cheer team you are auditioning for. This is also is dependent on how you personally learn new things. For most, the basic motions and dance moves can be learned and practiced over a few days. While the advanced jumps and tumbling skills take more time, months to years, to develop. A basic tumbling skill, like a Back Handspring, can be taught to a cheerleader who currently possess the basic skills of a Handstand and a Bridge, in about 24 hours of training.
Just like AAU Basketball, and travel baseball teams have made school sports harder to make the team, school cheerleading has gotten more competitive as well. With passionate athletes, committing to training year round, school cheerleading has been elevated with the skills and performance, but you won’t see many “no cut” policies still existing. So how do you set yourself up for success?
- Find a local professional coach and organization to learn new and improve on your current skillset. If you are lucky enough to live by an All Star Cheer gym, or competitive organization, use the resources you have and get there! From classes to private lessons, they will be able to safely facilitate your progressions.
- Be an athlete! Be sure to have an established level of fitness and regular work out routine. Although the skills may look easy, the needed core strength and flexibility needed to perform the needed skills is more than most expect.
Make yourself stand out, but in the best ways possible. In a sport where uniformity is expected, you can still separate yourself from the competition.
- Be a master at your skills. It’s not just about being able to perform a skill safely, but to execute it with a level of mastery that let’s it “show off”. This a performance sport, so how you do something will determine how your performance is viewed. With an emphasis on uniformity, having strong technique will go along way with the judges. This isn’t a hip hop dance team, were a flip is a flip, how the skill is performed matters!
- Have the needed skills, and have ones that others don’t. Although the tumbling skills are now seen more often on the sidelines, it doesn’t mean they’re any easier to perform. More importantly, to train them safely, it takes time for them to develop. Be sure to set realistic goals, and know what the current best version of you looks like.
- Look the part! It’s not a beauty contest, but you do need to be put together and look like you’re trying to be a cheerleader. School cheerleaders end up being an ambassador for their schools, so the image they show is important. From clinics and workshops, to tryouts and camp, show you are ready for a performance sport.
WE wish you the best of luck and hope you have a happy Tryout Season!
Are you a HighSchool Cheer Coach in the Tallmadge or Brecksville area looking for practice or tumbling space? World Elite offers camps, floor space, choreography and more. Contact Tim@worldelitewe.com for more information.