Monday, November 7, 2016

Ten Tips for Tryouts

Ten things the Cheer Coaches REALLY want to see.
Cheerleading is not a sport that you can just jump right into and be great.  It takes some time to learn the techniques and nuances.  Each coach and each program are different.  Use these tips to get to know the coach and program and to understand what will be expected of you.  

Take all the opportunities offered to you.
Coaches offer parent meetings, information meetings, and open gym time for you to be the best cheerleader you can be.  They do it so that you can be prepared for what is expected of you and have a great experience.  Take advantage of it.  While most of the coaches love working with their teams, it can be frustrating when only one or two students is participating.  Those that do participate will have the shown dedication that others did not.  Coaches will have the opportunity to get to know the participants that attend and they will have a better chance of making the team.

Ask questions.
When you attend a meeting or an open gym, ask questions.  The coaches would rather you ask and show an interest in what you are doing then have you wander lost.  If you are unsure of a rule, where to be, what to wear, how a skill is done, anything.  Really, they don’t mind the questions.

Know what is expected of you at Tryouts. 
This shouldn’t be a problem if you have read the handouts and asked questions at the meetings and open gyms.  If you are expected to dress a certain way, show up at a certain time or hand in paperwork on a certain day – do it.  Coaches have things they need to do to stay on track and keep the program running smooth.  If you forget your paperwork it means the coach cant do their job.  If you are late to tryouts or practice, you are holding up the rest of the team or you are missing out.  Coaches do not want to have to repeat announcements or instructions to people that were not prepared.

Dress for the part.
Cheerleaders are a highly visible group at any school.  Typically, they are seen at games, assemblies, open house, parent night, orientation, the list goes on.  Coaches do not what their team to be messy or look like they just rolled out of bed.  Before any tryout practice, make yourself look ‘game ready.’  
  • Hair - do your hair how the coach prefers. Make sure that it is brushed and not just thrown up lazy style.
  • Wear a little makeup – just a little.  Mascara, eye shadow, and lip-gloss are fine.  Coaches want you to look like your ready to participate.
  • Neat and clean clothing – wear clothes that fit.  Your clothes should not be baggy.  It is distracting and unsafe when stunting and tumbling.  You also want to skip clothes that are too tight.  You need to look comfortable and be able to move freely.
Be on time.
This should be simple, but very important!  If you are supposed to be at practice at 3pm, be there.  Coaches probably want to start on time so that they can get the most out of practice.  Being late means that you are missing what the coach needs you to know or warm-up.  If you do have to be late, let the coach know. Call or send a text (if that is allowed). DO NOT tell your friend to tell the coach that you will be late.  It is not your friend’s job to be your messenger.

Good attitude, Help each other and be a role model.
This is probably one of the most important things coaches want to see.  Cheerleading is not easy for someone that is just starting out.  There is a lot to remember and they know that.  They want you to give it your best shot each practice and be positive.  If you don’t get it the first time, it will come.  If you see someone struggling, help him or her.  Work through it together.  Coaches want to see you off to the side helping and encouraging each other so when they ask you to perform something you don’t stare blankly at them.  If you are a returner, be a role model.  They know that you already know some of the material, don’t take that time to chat with your friends.  Chances are you could use the work too. 

Know the material.
You are taught material during tryouts that will be a sample of what you will do during the season.  You need to practice this material.  Don’t just expect that the time you spent at practice is sufficient to how well you know it.  You need to go home and practice.  You're going to get judged on how well you know the material and the progress you made from the first day to the last day.  Improvement will help in making the team.  Yes, returners are judged harder than newbies.  They are expected to know the basics so their mastery of the new cheers or dances should be better.

Cheerleaders are athletes.  They need stamina, conditioning, flexibility and timing.  High school coaches do not typically have weight requirements, but no one wants to see an unfit girl jumping up and down in a short skirt.  I do not mean that to be disrespectful, but you need to be healthy.  On my team, I do not care so much what your body image is.  I have tall, short, thin, heavy, strong, weak, etc.  However, all the girls on my team can display the athleticism and perform the requirements needed to be a cheerleader. 

Handle the Results with Grace.
Tryouts are stressful.  Coaches know that.  Do your best to stay calm and keep the nerves down.  The more you practice, the less nervous you will be.  When it comes time for the team announcement you need to handle it with respect and pride.  If you made the team, do not immediately call all your friends and brag or gloat.  You may have some friends that didn’t make it.  If you were not chosen for the team, there was a reason, and it was probably a good one.  Don’t get mad, don’t yell at the coach don’t blast negativity on your social media.  If you can, find out what you need to work on and try again next time.

Being a cheerleader is time-consuming and hard work.  It requires a lot of time in the gym and on the field.  You are not going to have much time for friends and hanging out.  Time management is key.  Make sure that you know what is expected of you so that you can make the commitment and stick to it.  Go to the open gyms to see if cheerleading is something that you like enough to give up half your summer for and most Friday nights.

These things WILL make the difference between cheering from the sidelines and cheering from the bleachers.  Coaches are not scary they just have high expectations.  They are willing to work with you, but they are trying to build a successful program.  Also, remember that cheerleading is an extra curricular activity, you are not required to participate and they don’t have to put you on the team.  They are going to choose participants that fit into their program, not going to change the program and expectations for you.

I hope this incite helps you at your tryouts.

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