Cheerleaders wouldn't be quite as cheerful without their trademark smiles. Facials are an important part of any competition routine or game night. Sometimes we feel a little silly making faces at the crowd, but big grins make a big difference in how audiences perceive our routines.

Plenty of articles have been written about how smiling improves our moods. That goes double for cheering! A crowd of spectators can't get hyped if the squad is full of sour faces. It's a cheerleader's responsibility to keep the mood as upbeat as possible, to get the crowd energized, andof courseto have fun.

Exaggerate everything from your cheer makeup to your facial muscles themselves. Bright lipstick and sparkly eye shadow draw attention to your mouth and eyes. Wild bows show off fun school spirit while cheer curls ensure that your hair bounces without getting frizzy or falling flat. A little head bob goes a long way when exaggerating your cheer smiles.

Some cheerleaders will mouth vowels for bigger smiles. Think about the shape your mouth makes when you say "A," "E," or "I" alouda camera-ready smile! Practice in front of the mirror, and embrace the giggles when you see your wide eyes and smiles; facials are all about having fun, after all. Hold each vowel for at least a beat or two of music, and try tilting your head and popping your shoulders every time or every other time you switch facials. Give every smile your own little flair.

Once you've competed a few times, vowel facials come more easily, but when you're still getting used to them, or if your cheeks feel sore, try to let your "resting" face still be a smile. Maybe it's not as energized, but at least you've got a cheerful expression!

Be sure that even people sitting in the very last row of the bleachers can see when you smile, wink, and bob your head. Cheer facials may be over-the-top, but flash your biggest smile and you're sure to see the crowd return the favor.