As a cheerleading coach during tryout season, the pressure is on you to build the perfect squad. You’re not only looking for a team that is loud and spirited, can keep a beat, do a cartwheel and is eager to learn, but also meshes well together. With so much competition for a couple of spots on the team, how do you narrow it down to the right future team members? Look For Cheer-Capable The first thing to think about before even choosing your team is, what level will your team be performing at? Will they be performing dance routines only? Are they a team that tumbles and stunts? Do you go to competition? Once you narrow this down, it will be a lot easier to make clear and concise decisions on who to choose. If you are a “cheer and dance” only team, you’ll want to look for future team members that can perform accurate kicks and jumps with pointed toes, can keep a beat to the learned choreography and are not afraid to be loud. Remember that screaming does not mean loud! They need to be yelling from their diaphragm and their words need to be clear, not slurred. If you have a team that involves stunting and tumbling, you’ll also need to look for team members who can perform entry level tumbling. Can they perform a simple back hand spring? Can they do the splits? Personality Trumps All One thing that coaches tend to not think about when choosing a team is the individual’s personality. When choosing your future cheerleading team, you want to look for individuals who have a positive attitude. Do they smile? What is their attitude towards other team mates? Do they give positive feed back when girls are performing and constructive feed back when someone makes a mistake? Choosing someone who can perform everything perfect but has a sour attitude is a recipe for disaster with team mate fusion. Another important personality attribute to look for when choosing an individual is their eagerness to learn. Are they always paying attention in choreography or would they rather chit-chat with their friends? When they make a mistake, do they power through it and keep going or do they throw the towel in and throw a fit? You don’t want someone on the team who doesn’t stay focused. This could result in serious injury during stunting. Having people on the team who are eager to learn makes your job as a coach much easier and is contagious for the rest of the team! We’ve got spirit, how ’bout you? Finally, the most important thing to look for in a future cheer team is spirit. This is the entire definition of being a cheerleader! When they show up for tryouts, are they sporting practice wear in team colors? When they perform, do they look like they’re having fun? Do they perform with that extra pop in their step? Think of spirit as having a love and passion for cheerleading! You want people on the team who have a passion for cheerleading and who are excited to show up to practice every day. Technicality, personality and spirit are the three most important attributes to look for when building your cheerleading team. If you can find individuals who have these down, you have the potential of the perfect team! We want to hear from you! What do you look for when building a team?