The best way to have a great competition experience is to feel like you’ve performed at your absolute best. But performing at your very best doesn’t just involve wearing the best cheer uniform, nailing all of your stunts and having sharp motions during choreography; you also need to look and feel confident! New cheerleaders aren’t the only ones that experience nerves at competitions. Some cheerleaders‚ no mater how experienced‚ can’t help but feel butterflies in their stomach before taking the floor. It’s just like how many experienced actors still suffer from stage fright. While you can’t necessarily change this about you, you can act and look like you’re confident by following a few of our tips: Banish Nerves The first step is overcoming any nerves or stage fright you may have. Before you take the floor, it’s important you relax. Humming a slow song or visualizing a calm scene in your mind can help your mind slow down. If your stomach is feeling funny, eating a banana will get rid of any nausea but won’t make you feel full. If you have room, do a few stretches to relieve tension. Roll your shoulders, take deep breaths, and stretch your arms, backs, and legs. If you have a longer amount of time to prepare and settle, find a quiet place to meditate. Relax and concentrate on deep breathing. If you can, avoid caffeine and any energy drinks as they’ll make you extra jittery. Last but not least, rely on your friends for a laugh! Chatting with friends can distract you from worrying. Laughing also helps settle nerves. Build Team Confidence In order for everyone on your team to perform at his or her best, the whole team has to be confident and united! First, do some extra bonding with your squad. Play some team building activities a few days leading up to competitions. Or, have a team sleepover to get everyone excited. It can also work as a reminder that competitions are supposed to be fun! Create a few goals at the beginning of the competition season. As the season progresses, celebrate when you approach or surpass a goal! A great way to build confidence is to not focus on winning. If you look at competitions only as a win or lose situation, you’ll set yourself up for failure if you don’t always win first place. Instead, look at competitions as a way to increase your score. A goal should be to get a better score than you did last time, rather than wanting to beat a rival team. After each competition, take some time as a group to share one thing each teammate did well during the performance. It will help you maintain a positive attitude, rather than focus on placing blame if you don’t win.