You’ve recently come to a decision–you want to be a cheerleader! You couldn’t be happier with your new goal and the team you’re looking to join is going to be holding tryouts soon. Now what? Obviously, it’s time to get fit, learn some basic cheer stances and motions, and get into the peppy mentality of a cheerleader-in-training. You may have seen the movie Bring It On and think that cheerleading tryouts are all about popularity, but that’s not the case at all. There’s so much more athleticism enveloped in the sport than that movie alludes to. So, in order to not go into tryouts blind, there are three key things that new cheerleaders need to get acquainted with ahead of time.

  1. The right practice wear. When it comes to cheerleading, there is a lot of gear involved and it makes sense to not invest in everything before you even make the team. But you do have to wear the right kind of outfit for tryouts! There are specific qualities of cheer gear that stands out when compared to regular practice wear. First, the tanks and tees are tighter, since loose clothing can cause major mess-ups in tumbling and stunting. Even if you don’t know what those words mean yet, try doing a cartwheel in a flowy tank top; it doesn’t work (or look) too well. Second, you’ll need a sports bra to perform smooth jumps, tucks, and other cheer movements. The last thing you want to do is be uncomfortable while you’re trying to make a team. Finally, mesh or knit shorts allow a full range of motion for kicks, running, tumbling, and more. Cheerleaders also need the right shoes for all of these things too, but you can buy those later after you’ve successfully scored your spot on the squad.

  2. A good fitness foundation. You don’t have to be in the best shape of your life to make a cheer team, but a solid fitness base and moderate flexibility will really set you apart from other new cheerleaders at tryouts. You also have to keep in mind that returning cheerleaders have to go through the same tryout process that you do, so might as well aim to be at their level! Once you make the team, you will learn how to break down the chants and routines for the season, so don’t stress that you aren’t an expert at cheerleading yet. However, make your motions sharp when you practice them, try to up your cardio and strength training at home or at a gym months before the tryout date, and start stretching regularly–both big and small muscle groups–so that you can be limber when you’re under the spotlight.

  3. A positive attitude. This may seem like common sense, but smiling during tryouts is the number one way for your coach to see that you possess the potential to be a great cheerleader. The minute you walk into tryouts, the coach will know that you’re a new face, and will most likely assume that you have little cheer knowledge since you haven’t been on their team before. If you’re nervous, be up front about your inexperience: tell the coach that you’re just getting into cheerleading–but you’re very excited to start! Be enthusiastic and energetic. By acting like a good sport, the tryout coach will be more apt to take a chance on you since you seem like a team player. The more you come across willing to learn, the more your future coach can see you as someone they’d like to teach. So, put some pep in your step, and get yourself to those tryouts! 

Are you a new cheerleader thinking about tryouts? What things helped you make the team? Share your story with us in the comments below!