There is something that needs to be said about the confidence, discipline, and courage it takes to try out for a school cheerleading team. These athletes gather their skills and apply them all in one setting and hope that they performed well enough to impress those that were grading them. Being on the side of the candidate, here's a little insight on what happens. You prep all week before. You learn the material, practice that material until you are practically doing it in your dreams. The words of the cheers and chants replace those of your favorite songs or the ones that play on the radio far too often. Your thighs are red with hand prints from cleaning as tightly as you can. Your voice is raspy because you’re trying to yell from your diaphragm so mom stops picking on you. You know it is out of love so you bear with her and yell a little bit louder because it’ll just make you a better cheerleader in the long run. The night before you lay out your things and try to get a good night’s rest! School that day could not be any longer. The classes seem to drag on and every moment closer is a moment that you get more antsy and more nerves start to find their way in. When that happens, this is my suggestions to you!
For me, I went through all of the clinic material that I didn’t know very well in my head. Whether it was my tumbling pass, what exactly I was going to say for my spiriting, or when I needed to remember to breathe so that I didn’t choke up on my words during the cheer. I would start from the moment I walked into the tryout and play it in my head all the way to the end because I knew that if I could see it, then I could do it! That is my biggest tip to you when trying out because your mind HAS TO know that you are capable of your skills to assure your body of the same thing when your nerves kick in!
When you are standing outside waiting to go in and show your skills, find the person that you were paired with and go through the chant only a handful of times! You do NOT need to overwhelm yourself because I know that YOU know it better than you think that you do! Then while you wait, whether you’re first, somewhere in the middle, or last, find the person you have the best time with and find silly things to talk and laugh about to ease your minds. Find anything other than cheer to occupy your minds!
Then lastly, when your number is called, take a deep breath. Tighten your hair, fix your bow and your number, and tell yourself OUT LOUD the one thing that you need to hear! “You know your stuff!” “You have these skills solid!” “I’m going to show them how badly I want this!” Then do EVERYTHING with the most confidence that you can because the judges don’t know your material. The only way that they will know that you mess up is if your face shows it. So chin up and if you mess up, then mess up with confidence and keep going!
We, here at Sideline Spirit, have so much faith in your abilities! So go out there, have fun, and prove to yourself that you can do this!
Written by: Autumn-Rose Gregory