Just because you made the team last year doesn’t mean you have a guaranteed spot for next season, and that is why returning cheerleaders always need to keep their A-game up every time tryouts roll around. You may be trying out for the same team, but you never know what your coach has in mind for next year, and keep in mind that the possibility of new cheerleaders may shake up last year’s team dynamic completely. So, instead of stressing over being replaced or making the cut, have a solid game plan with these three things that returning cheerleaders need for tryouts.

1. Humility.
Like we said, new cheerleaders may show up to tryouts with a sparkling attitude and untapped potential. Your coach might see their ambition and want to go in a whole different direction with chants and cheers, you never know! The thing to remember is that cheerleading is a team sport, and everyone has to work together in order to be the best. So, even if you think you are on the top of your game, walk into tryouts with a humble outlook and accept that changes are most likely going to happen from the year before. Don’t feel bad about this–change is exciting! New cheerleaders on the team won’t take away your spotlight; they will probably make you shine even more

2. A solid fitness foundation.
To make the team again, you have to take full advantage of getting fit during the sideline offseason. Now, don’t get me wrong, cheerleaders never really have an official ‘offseason’, especially for competitive cheerleaders who have to go full out all winter long to be competition ready. But, winter break or the beginning of your second school semester is the perfect time to catch up on your fitness regimen. Try to push yourself a little harder each day in order to be in the best shape that you can be for tryouts. There are several unique workouts that focus on getting fit for cheerleading, but key fitness areas to work on is building up your cardio levels and strength training while working on your stretches. It’s important to be limber as a cheerleader, so make sure you stretch even your small muscle groups, too! A healthy diet, a lot of rest, and drinking a lot of water also are good ideas to coincide with exercise, because these things boost your workouts exponentially when you do them.

3. An open mind.
This goes along with humility–make sure your mind is open to new ideas! You might have been a flyer last year, but now your coach thinks you will fare better as a base. Or perhaps you were one of the primary tumblers on your team, but now there is a new cheerleader tried out this year who tumbles a bit tighter. Who knows? The thought of moving around to a different position might be a bummer at first, but once the new season starts, your new spot or stunt group will grow on you. Just watch: at the end of next year, when tryouts roll back around, you probably will be so thankful that the change happened because it was so much fun! The sport of cheerleading teaches its participants how to be successful and confident individuals, but only if they learn how to adapt to change accordingly. So, arrive at tryouts with your head high and your bow higher, knowing that any change for next year is only going to make your team more awesome!

What other things should returning cheerleaders have for tryouts? What second-year differences did you encounter as a cheerleader? Tell us your story in the comments below!