If this isn’t your first year coaching cheerleading, then you’ve probably had some ideas here and there for next season as they came to mind. With tryouts around the corner in the spring, it’s time to put those ideas into action and really determine what’s possible for your team. The whole point of cheerleading is to take the sport to the next level, so getting the right team in place to do so is paramount. In order to make the most out of tryouts without compromising on your future team goals, there are some things you need to be ready.


Judges. There are a lot of elements that go into tryouts, but the main thing is a second eye. Do you have an assistant coach, a team captain, or a prime team parent that can assist you in hosting the tryouts? Let them know what your plans for next year may be at this point in time and what they can keep in mind as they watch. Remind them not to judge too harshly on new cheerleaders–you never know what they may be capable of! Make sure to create judging forms so that your judges will not only take accurate and helpful notes, but also every cheerleader gets judged fairly and in the same fashion.

A gym.
Competitive coaches usually have this one set in stone already, but for sideline cheer coaches or coaches who share a practice space, you have to make sure that you can secure a gym ahead of time. Since it’s most likely on a weekend morning, try to coordinate with the basketball coach to use the school gym, or try an open track field if the weather is nice. The last thing you want to do is postpone tryouts due to an unexpected time confliction with another team. Once everything is squared away and you have a green light for a tryout space, double-check with a school janitor or gym caretaker that you will have the lights on and doors unlocked the day of! This minor detail can cost you, so do your due diligence to have everything go smoothly.


A pre-tryout meeting. Potential cheerleaders and their parents are most likely unaware of exactly how much time goes into cheering. Attempt to lessen the number of team dropouts by getting all of the information out on the table and by answering any questions in a group setting. This significantly cuts down on individual questions you get by cheer parents, which gives you more time to focus on team growth next year! Frequently asked questions include how much does cheerleading cost? What is the prospective schedule like? When is practice? What about traveling? How much commitment do the parents have to put forth? Make everything crystal clear, and have informed applicants show up on tryout day.


A compromising attitude. With so many thoughts to juggle in your head while you try to pull off successful tryouts, it’s tough to remember that you’re not going to have the same team as the year before. Seniors are leaving sideline teams, some of your main cheerleaders are aging out of your competitive teams, and you will have to piece together a whole new team dynamic. Connecting the dots won’t be easy, but it can be done with a little compromise. Your goals for next season don’t have to be thrown in the trash, just amended a little to what you have to work with. And once you figure out who goes where, you will realize how strong your new team is going to be!


What else do coaches need for tryouts? What helped you during this process? Tell us your tips in the comments below.