So you've made the amazing decision to join a cheer or dance team, that's so awesome! There is so many great things for you to learn. However, from personal experience I know that trying out at school, gym, or studio can be quite nerve-racking, so here are some of my tips and hacks for doing your best and preparing for the day!
***A quick and brief message before we get into the tips:***
Remember that joining a cheer or dance team is a great and fun thing, but it also comes with a lot of dedication, commitment, and of course; finances. Be sure to talk to your parent about what joining your squad and team entails. With all of that PSA out of the way, lets get into it! (:
The single most important thing to remember is that even if you have a hard time with your routine, tumbling, tricks, etc.; the best thing you can do is smile wide and have a great attitude. Many coaches will agree that they would rather have a amateur cheerleader/dancer with a great attitude than a pro with a poor attitude! So keep it happy and full of smiles!
If you have a cheer/dance buddy that is willing to help teach you; take full advantage of it! A really great thing that I recommend you
do is take cheer, dance, and tumbling classes at a gym! There should be plenty of gyms and studios available wherever you are and it is a sure great way to ensure that you learn all the skills you need to join your team.
In conjunction with the last tip, the internet is a great way for you to even further your skills! Look up video tutorials on just about anything cheer/dance related and you can have many of your questions answered! I wouldn't substitute this altogether with actually going to a studio or gym though, there is a big key difference between seeing someone do something and looking at it through a computer or phone screen and actually BEING there and practicing with a skilled coach.
In order to be a proper cheerleader or dancer, it is important for you to dress the part. More likely than not, the school or studio will leave information on a guideline of what to wear, so be sure to follow that! The better you present yourself, the better impression you will make on the coaches and judges! Overall a rule of thumb is to wear clothes that are form-fitting and not too tight or too baggy. Wear the school/gym colors for bonus points (unless you are specifically told to wear a certain color). Clean your cheer/dance shoes prior to tryouts if they are dirty. Tie your hair back neatly and away from your face, the classic hairstyle is a high ponytail, but be sure to slick it back with hair gel and/or hairspray! I personally wear a light face of makeup to keep me looking fresh and awake, and I recommend you do the same if you are comfortable with wearing makeup. When you receive your tryout number, make sure to pin it at a visible and appropriate spot. I personally like to pin my number on the left side of my chest, similar to where my hand goes during the pledge of allegiance, or on my left or right hip at the top of my shorts.
Once you have learned what motions, chants, tumbling passes, etc. that you need to do for the day of tryouts, PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE! Do your cheers/dances in front of a mirror at home to make sure your motions are correct and in the right place. Go to thatgym and perfect your jumps and tumbling skills. Point your toes! It's a simple but crucial saying that you are going to hear again and again. Remember that sloppy toe-touches or back handsprings will unfortunately cost you points off your total score, so be sure to do everything well and to your best abilities.
Know that how you will be scored is going to vary from team to team. If you can, try to ask your coaches BEFORE the day of tryouts to figure out what you will be scored on and figure out how many points you will receive for various jumps or tumbling passes.
With that in mind, make sure you feel 100% comfortable with every jump and tumbling pass you plan to do. Trust your gut instinct, if you don't feel positive about your capabilities to do it; then simply don't do it. Even if you make the team after doing that backflip, it won't matter if you hurt yourself in the process and can't perform.
When the actual tryout day approaches, get a good night's rest and eat a filling and nutritious breakfast!
Smile big and walk confidently as you enter the tryouts, stretch well and remember that you are being observed the second you step out of the car to the second you step back in it!
Take your time as you are doing your tryouts! Try to see it from the judges standpoint, it looks much better if you see someone trying out who is confidently taking her time and smiling as she goes through each procedure versus a girl who is rushing through the motions and looks like she is just trying to get it over with!
If you happen to mess up in the middle of trying out, don’t worry -just keep going and be sharp and do your motions confidently! Refrain from giggling or getting upset. My cheer coaches at my school always told me that they would rather have a girl who accidently did the wrong motions, but did it sharply and confidently than a girl who did every motion correctly but did it weak and sloppy.
Be loud and proud as you walk in! Many schools and studios require you to make a big entrance and start off with a cheer or chant.
Enunciate every word loudly and clearly, but don't scream. When in doubt, just say cheer on your mascot or colors, and try to avoid woo-ing.
Try to make friends before, during, and after tryouts. This will especially help if your brand new and don't know anyone. If you make the team, then chances are you'll be seeing the same faces, so try and get to know everyone at tryouts so you feel comfortable and at ease at your first practice!
Even though tryouts might seem like a scary time, it is important to remember that you should always be having fun. No matter what happens with the results, remember that you did your absolute best and had fun in the process!
Okie dokie, those are all of my tips and steps to remember for having a great experience at your tryouts. I want to wish you good luck and I hope you kick butt and make the team!
Yay! You're going to competition!
That's awesome, and I wish you the best of luck throughout the entire process. Here are some things I've learned and just some overall advice I want to give you (:
Remember that you have already practiced over and over to perfect your routine so just relax and perform exactly how you practice. But at the same time be sure to give that extra bit of sass and facials and sharpness for the judges!
SAve your energy
Know that difficult pass/trick/dance portion that takes up a lot of your energy and save your energy for that part so that you stay energized afterwards! For example whenever I had a junior hip hop team, there was a specific part of the dance where I did a flipflop twist and then a kip up and then I had to lift a girl up in a group trick.
During practice I would notice that this part of the routine always left me worn out and tired, so because of that I always tried to remember to take deep breaths and save my energy right before that performance.
Performance nerves are a totally normal and human thing to experience! I honestly can't even count how many times I've performed and competed, and I still to this day get nervous right before performing. There are a few rituals that I do with my team before competing that always get me in a good and relaxed mindset. The first thing we all do is a group prayer. We touch feet in a circle and hold hands (right over left) and our head coach or captain will lead us in a big prayer. Then we usually still have 1-2 minutes of waiting to perform so what I will do is pray by myself in a whisper. These steps are crucial for me since I am religious, but if you are not; then you do not have to do them. Any time I would be in line behind the curtains waiting to perform and a teammate told me they were nervous, I always say "Me too, I get nervous every competition, but it always goes away once my feet touch the matt or when the music starts." And it is completely true! You are going to do just fine (:
Know that competitions are a fun and happy thing, remember this when you are scoping out the competition and possibly getting nervous. Remember this great quote that I love:
Enjoy the experience of competition, because you learn so much about yourself and your teammates!
Make sure that you keep up the smiles, facials, spirit once you finish your performance! You are still on stage and the judges are still looking at you!
Make sure you take off any of that chipped neon polish, you need clean and short fingernails for competition!
Even though it might be incredibly tempting, DO NOT go swimming the night before or day of competition! Save this for afterwards. Swimming counts as a workout and when you swim, you use all sorts of muscles that you have never even used before. Trust me when I say that this can leave you sore and worn out and that is the last thing you want before a competition
In every single one of my experiences, it is always FREEZING so be sure to at least bring a light jacket! I even would pack a pillow and fleece blanket for the early morning hair and makeup
Make sure you have EVERYTHING that you need plus more, chances are that your coaches have left you with a checklist and packing list, but if not; here are a couple of items you may want to pack! Keep in mind that every team varies, so some might require you to bring false lashes, makeup, etc. And some other teams will be providing those items for you. Also the items will vary if it is a one or two day competition! Regardless, it's better to be safe than sorry. Enjoy!
These are some of my top things to remember before your competition as well as my complete guide on what to pack, I hope you enjoy. Good luck on your competition and I hope you kick butt!