Preparing to perform at games and competitions is one of the most important things you do as a cheerleader. After all, every cheerleader knows that good routines take a lot of practice and hard work. So by now you know exactly what you need to do to hit your routine. However, it’s still important to know what NOT to do. Take a look at these five common performance mistakes to avoid and leave your advice in the comments:

  1. Forgetting to pack something. Packing your bag for games and competitions might not seem like that big of a deal, but having all your cheer essentials is important. Plus, knowing you are prepared and have everything you will (or even might) need gives you peace of mind. The last thing you need before a performance is extra nerves or to be thrown off by not having an item you need.

  2. Mishandling nerves. It is normal and OK to be nervous before a big game or competition. The butterflies and adrenaline rush are part of what makes cheerleading so fun! Being too nervous can impact your performance and your experience though. Good nerves come primarily from excitement and anticipation. Bad nerves come from doubt and negative thoughts. The best way to manage your nerves is to repeat positive things to yourself and your teammates—and, of course, to train hard at practices so you’ll feel ready and confident when it’s time to take the floor.

  3. Trying to go it alone. Lean on each other. Look out for each other. Pump each other up. If you are nervous or worried or even just overwhelmed, talk to your teammates or coach. Chances are they are experiencing the same thing or have before. Even if you’re not struggling with nerves, talk with your teammates and encourage each other rather than sitting by yourself as you wait. This will get you all on the same page and ready to rock your routine. 

  4. Neglecting the details. From makeup to cheer facials, the little things ad up! Don’t focus so much on the big things, like landing your stunts, that you forget about the smaller, but still important, aspects of performing, like smiling at the fans or judges.

  5. Skipping the performance review. De-brief after your performance, whether it’s a quick meeting right after or a longer discussion at your next practice. Discuss what went well and what you can improve. Celebrate the successes and develop a plan for strengthening the weaker parts of the performance. Then you can practice hard before the next one!

What other common performance mistakes should cheerleaders avoid?