Your little cheerleader has been getting fit for months to be ready for tryouts, and couldn’t be more supportive of their endeavors. Since you’re not a cheer coach, you’re probably thinking that all you need to do is pick up your son or daughter a little bit later than usual from school on tryout day and whatever happens, happens. False! Cheer parents need to be just as ready for tryouts as cheerleaders and coaches do. They are as invested in the sport as anyone else–maybe even more so! Cheer parents may not have to up their fitness game, but they definitely have to anticipate the mental and emotional strain that’s coming their way, whether their cheerleader makes the team or not! So, if you have a child trying out to be a cheerleader, here are four things that you need to have in order to be equally prepared when the day comes.

The mental capacity to hear and talk about cheer from this day forward.
Best case scenario, your child makes the team. Your life just drastically changed and you don’t even know it yet because it comes later: the long-winded descriptions of motions and stunts, ups and downs of being part of a team, the extra curricular and volunteering efforts of the squad, the cheer lifestyle that your child will soon adopt–all of it will be discussed daily. It would be smart to memorize the names of everyone on the team and match the names to faces as soon as you can since you will be hearing about these people every day. Take it a step further and make sure to learn the names of their parents, too! And the cheer industry itself! Cheer parents love to get involved, so study up on cheerleading basics in order to communicate with them effectively. The more you know about cheerleading, the better off you will be.

A flexible schedule.
The cheer coach holding tryouts may try to instigate a last minute meeting with new cheerleaders and their parents, or other unexpected changes may occur. The tryout date may be postponed due to unforeseen elements, like weather, illness, or other school functions. Be sure to not overload your agenda around the week of tryouts, just in case! This is extremely important if your child depends on you for transportation, and if this is the case, remember that you will be their chauffeur for the entire season if they make the team. Therefore, ask yourself realistic and necessary questions. Do you have time for that? Do you have someone to help out if something prevents you from getting your future cheerleader to practices, games, camp, or community events? Cheerleading is no small commitment, so be aware of how busy you will be as a cheer parent!

A budget.
Again, let’s assume your child makes the team. You immediately have to pay a team fee and invest in practice wear, shoes, uniforms, accessories, bags, bows, and even camp in a few months! All of that adds up fast! There’s not much you can do to avoid paying team or camp fees, but there are ways around spending top-dollar on cheer gear. If you map out your monetary budget ahead of time and compare retailers to get a lowest price guarantee on cheer essentials, you’ll be able to expense for all the costs involved in cheerleading without overextending your wallet.

A shoulder to cry on. Your child has worked hard to become a cheerleader… and then they get denied at tryouts. Cue the waterworks, and get ready to be your child’s cheerleader for a while. Your child might feel like a failure, and it’s your job to tell them how they shouldn’t think that way. They did their best and there’s always next year! And, don’t think that you’re off the hook if your child makes the team; the emotions embedded in achieving their goal might overflow out of the tryout gym and into your car afterwards! No matter the outcome, it would be smart to stock up on tissues.

What else do cheer parents need to have to be ready for tryouts? Is there something that didn’t make the list? Tell us in the comments below.