At a certain point in your cheerleading career, you will most likely encounter a routine that you just can’t seem to wrap your head around. Going full out isn’t cutting it and no matter what you try to do to prepare for practice, you can’t seem to shake this mental block from allowing you to master the mat. Before you get too down on yourself, understand that this is a common problem for all cheerleaders and that there are some mind tricks to finally crack that choreography giving you such a challenge. Get plenty of sleep. Have you ever noticed that the whole world is more challenging when you’re overtired? Everything you try to do might backfire and be more frustrating because you’re stuck in a haze. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body doesn’t have the right amount of energy required to get you through a normal cheer practice and your mind won’t be able to focus on anything, least of all problem-solving tactics! To avoid total grogginess, try to get a full eight hours of sleep the night before your next practice in order to wake up well-rested and ready to tackle that tough choreography with a refreshed outlook. Not only will you be able to see your routine in new light with a good night’s sleep, but your mood will be elevated as well! Talk about the secret to success! Literally break it down. Write out your routine, step by step, on paper or try to explain it, motion by motion, to a non-cheerleader friend or parent. Trying to put words to your actions might trigger your brain to think of the solution to what’s been holding you back from mastering the moves. Or maybe you just need to hear yourself say what happens in the routine to figure out why it’s not working for you. If a sudden light bulb goes on over your head and you are able to return to the mat with renewed confidence to conquer the choreography, remember that this break down analysis is all you need to do in the future. Observe others doing it. Your coach is probably well aware that something is not clicking in your mind concerning the choreography, so ask your coach if you could sit one out to watch how your teammates do it. Maybe it’s one small, subtle motion that you’re overlooking, so make sure you pay attention to details as you observe! Also, ask your teammates how they are approach the routine; perhaps they see something you don’t. If all else fails, ask your coach if you can schedule some one-on-one time with them in order to get their full thoughts on the matter. Perhaps the routine is not fitting your squad for matters outside of your capabilities, for instance, your team does not possess enough core strength to do the stunts that your coach is asking of you. If that’s the case, then there’s nothing more that you can do and your coach may want to consider changing the routine accordingly. How do you break down your hard choreography? Have you triumphed over a tough routine? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.