It's one thing to be physically prepared for tryoutsand that's something you've hopefully been taking care of alreadybut it's easy to overlook mental preparation. No matter how much work you've put in getting your jumps and stunts ready for tryouts, you need the mental strength and clarity to perform them well when the time comes. That's why mental preparation is so important! Here are six ways to mentally prepare for tryouts:

  1. Act new. Treat it like it's your first year trying out, even if it's your fourth. This will keep you wanting to work hard and please the judges instead of just rolling in knowing you have nothing to worry about and don't have to put forth much effort. Take tryouts seriously even if you're the star of the team. A major part of your role as a team leader is to set an example for your teammates.

  2. Have a positive attitude. Remember, judges are looking for the whole package. What's the point in having an incredibly skilled cheerleader if she or he isn't a team player and doesn't work well with others? Coaches need team members who put the team first and radiate a positive attitude, trying to encourage each other rather than outshine each other.

  3. Shift your perspective. Don't think of tryouts as a time when experts are judging you, watching carefully for mistakes, to see if they want you on the team. Think of tryouts as an opportunity. This is your chance to show what you can contribute to the team. Going in saying, "Hey, this is what I have to offer you," rather than, "Please, please, please let me make the team!" will minimize nerves and put you in the mindset you need to perform well at tryouts and be a successful cheerleader in the long run!

  4. Build relationships. Talk to the coaches, current team members, and potential team members before tryouts if you can! Maybe there are open gyms, clinics, or practices you can attend. If not, there will most likely be an informational meeting at least. Introduce yourself, strike up a conversation, and be friendly. Not only will this show that you are cheerleader material, it will also make tryouts easier and more fun seeing familiar faces!

  5. Don't compare. Your focus should be on your performance and yours alone. Talk and be friendly, but don't worry about other athletes' performances. Cheer each other on, but avoid comparisons. After all, you are not the one judging the performances so your thoughts on the matter don't count anyway. Just radiate positivity toward other performances and it will carry into yours as well. You can't sit there wishing bad things on people then expect to take the floor with confidence and positivity. It just doesn't work that way. Be positive about yourself and others during the whole experience (and beyond!).

  6. Be smart. When it comes to preparing your tryout performance, don't attempt a skill you haven't mastered yet. Sure, you might hit, but there's also a good chance you won't. Go into tryouts knowing you are going to hit because you've done it a million times. Confidence comes from hours of practice, not an attitude you just decide to invoke for the day.
Follow those six steps, and you'll be ready to tackle tryouts!

What helps you mentally prepare for tryouts?