Just because you’re a newbie trying out for cheer doesn’t mean you have to look like a newbie! When you tryout, it’s important to look as professional and knowledgeable as an experienced cheerleader. You don’t necessarily have to know advanced stunts and tumbling; instead, you should be prepared and look great performing what you do know! Here are a few common mistakes cheerleaders make at tryouts. Learn them and avoid them! Then, go out there and show the coach what you’ve got. Not arriving early. Show up to tryouts early. Give yourself plenty of time to stretch, practice, and relax. It’s better to arrive too early than late! Trying to be perfect. You don’t have to be a tumbling master to make the cheer squad. In fact, you may only know how to do a cartwheel. Rather than trying to learn advanced stunts, and possibly hurt yourself or fall during tryouts, work on what you already know and perfect your current skills. Showing the coach your flexibility will have a greater affect than attempting a wobbly back walkover without pointed toes or straight legs. Skipping meetings. Even if the coach doesn’t say they’re mandatory, consider them mandatory if you want to make the squad. Coaches will often host meetings, clinics, or workshops before the actual tryout. Even if you think you’re well prepared, attend every meeting if possible. These clinics and workshops will most likely shed light on what the coach is looking for during tryouts. This will help you know what to concentrate working on and to put on the back burner. Never performing in font of an audience. Even if the audience is just your mom and pet dog, performing a cheer in front of people is a lot different than performing alone in front of a mirror. If you don’t practice in front of people, you may freeze up during tryouts. Practicing in front of someone will also help you learn how to swiftly recover if you mess up. Stopping after a mistake. During tryouts, the worst thing you can do is show that you messed up. No matter how little or big the mistake, act like it never happened. First, there’s a good chance the coach didn’t notice if it was something small, like a forgotten word to a cheer. Second, even if the coach did, you’ll only draw more attention to the mistake if you stop, make a face, or apologize. Keep smiling and keep pushing through the end! Not asking for a second chance. If you really feel you messed up a stunt, cheer, or tumble, ask the coach if you can try it again. While not all coaches will allow this, it can’t hurt asking. If the coach says no, simply move on. If he or she does allow you a do-over, take a deep breath, relax, focus, and move on. Taking the floor without spirit. A good cheerleader doesn’t just act spirited; she is spirited! Don’t start performing when the music comes on or your routine begins. Smile the moment you hit the stage. Enter the room or stage with an energetic cheer or enthusiastic chant. It will get the coach pumped up before you even start! Being afraid to ask a question. During the tryout, if a judge or coach asks something of you that you don’t understand or didn’t fully hear, ask him or her to clarify or repeat the question. The worst thing you can do is assume what was said and then do something incorrectly. Freaking out if you’re asked to repeat a stunt. Let’s say the judge or coach asks you to do a herkie or a toe touch. You do one and you’re certain you nailed it. But then, you’re asked, “can you do that again?” A common mistake is to freak out and assume you’ve done it incorrectly or insufficiently. That isn’t true. The coach may have missed something the first time, wants to see it again, or just want to check your consistency. Forgetting to be LOUD. A mistake some new cheerleaders make is not being loud enough while cheering. Don’t be afraid to yell. A coach would rather you be too loud than too quiet. You have to appear confident; shyness and a quiet cheer won’t cut it. Another mistake that’s easy to make when shouting or yelling is not enunciating. Even if you’re loud, the coach won’t know what you’re saying if you mumble the words. Keep each word sharp and distinct. What are your tryout tips? What mistakes should new cheerleaders avoid?