The most difficult part of preparing for tryouts is figuring out what to focus on. Cheerleaders are told they need to know this and this and this and this. While it’s great to know as much as possible, you don’t want to run yourself thin and try to learn too much. If you don’t have a lot of time to prepare for tryouts (or want to focus on just a few skills), make sure you spend the time to perfect these five easily forgotten (and sometimes underestimated) skills before tryouts: Cheering loud and coherently. A lot of people underestimate the talent it takes to cheer loud while still being coherent. A loud, clear voice exudes confidence and is a characteristic of a cheerleader. As your voice gets louder and you speak quickly or in rhythm, your words can easily muffle. As you practice cheers, shout and enunciate your words so everything is easily comprehensible. Project your voice from your diaphragm, not your chest. Make sure you don’t scream and shriek. The easier it is for an audience to understand your cheers, the sooner they can join in! Knowing the cheer lingo. You don’t have to be an accomplished cheerleader or tumbler to make the team. However, it can really help if you know the cheerleading terminology for motions, stances, jumps, and stunts. Check out our free eBook, The Cheerleading Guide to Stances and Motions, to learn all the terms (and even how to do them step-by-step!). Looking like a cheerleader. What’s easiest way to convince a coach you can be a cheerleader? Look like one! Dressing the part plays a bigger role than many think when it comes to tryout decisions. It shows you’ve done your research, that you want to be a cheerleader, and that you’re professional and prepared. Wear form-fitting shorts and a tank or shirt. Keep your hair in a high ponytail and wear a bow in your team or school colors. Don’t forget clean, white shoes and white socks. Knowing why you want to be a cheerleader. So you want to be a cheerleader. Why? It’s important that you have a thought out response, as some coaches will ask interview questions to prospective cheerleaders. Don’t just say “because it looks cool” or “because I like the cheerleader’s uniform.” Think about the moment you decided you wanted to be a cheerleader and why. Did a spirited cheerleader inspire you? Do you want to spread school spirit? Have an answer ready in case you’re asked this. Having good balance. While we’ve frequently discussed the importance of flexibility and strength training, we haven’t focused on another key aspect: balance. No matter how flexible you are, a heel stretch or scorpion won’t look very good if you can’t balance on one foot. What’s great about balance is that it’s easy to practice on your own at home. Practice standing on one leg for as long as you can. Once you’ve mastered that, extend one leg either to the front or to the back to create an “L’ shape and hold the pose for 15 seconds. Keep working on improving your balance every day. What’s another cheer skill people forget to work on? What is your advice for tryouts? Share below!