P.E.P. is Important: Tips for a Successful Cheerleading Tryout

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As the school year winds down and the competition season concludes everything seems to rewind and begin again with tryouts. Preparation is key in making the tryout process as successful and as stress-free as possible.  Cheerleading tryouts can be a great experience and a very fun time of the year if you always remember to incorporate P.E.P!

Practice & Preparation – The old adage “practice makes perfect” could have been written specifically for cheerleading tryouts because it applies 100%! Practice WILL make the difference between making the team and not. Ideally, practice should begin before the week of tryouts. Take it upon yourself to begin preparing well before the actual tryout date in order to make the best first impression. Being in good shape and physically ready to learn the tryout material can help you make a good impression on potential teammates and coaches by demonstrating that if you are chosen, you are ready to begin work immediately.

Once you have learned the tryout material pair up with another person trying out and practice together. Practicing with someone else will help ensure you have learned the material correctly, and it is especially helpful if you are having trouble remembering all of the material. The more you repeat the material, the more you begin to establish muscle memory and cement the material in your head. So repeat, repeat, and repeat again.

The final tip for practice is practice full out. It may feel silly, but practice smiling and doing facials from the beginning. This will make smiling and facials effortless during tryouts. Also, practice in the mirror. As you practice in the mirror, edit your motions. Make sure you are hitting all of your motions hard and that your motion placement is correct. You should never have broken wrists* or thumbs sticking out of fists.

Evaluation – It is very important to know that your evaluation truly begins during the tryout clinics. Coaches want to see how quickly you pick up material, how you work with others, and what type of attitude you display in public. Keeping this in mind will help you to make a good impression. Don’t fret if you aren’t able to pick up material quickly. Just remember: practice, practice, practice. Demonstrating that you are willing to go home and practice until you get it is just as valuable! Coaches love cheerleaders with good work ethics.

On the day of tryouts there are several things outside of your actual tryout that are critical to success. First, you need to arrive early. Running late is an absolute no-no! By arriving early you give yourself time to shake off any nerves and even practice a little before your time to shine. Also, remember you are putting forth the best YOU possible. This means come looking the part. You should be provided with instructions about your appearance during your tryout clinics, if you are not, be sure to ask. Generally, your hair should be out of your face, usually in a ponytail. It never hurts to display a little spirit with a hair bow in your team’s colors (Check out the awesome selection of hair bows here!) Natural makeup is usually best, unless otherwise instructed. Make sure you wear clothing that fits appropriately. This means that your clothing looks good, it is not too tight or too loose and it will also not inhibit you from performing or the judges from seeing your movement.

During your tryout it is important to project your voice. Let them hear you and don’t be afraid to show your spirit. Also, be sure that if your tryout is conducted in a group, that you are not watching the others in your group. Judges and coaches want to see that you are confident in yourself and in your movements. The final two tips are probably the most important … Keep going no matter what and keep smiling no matter what.

Performance – So your time has come… put your best foot forward! Treat your tryout like a performance. Shed the nerves and live in the moment; perform for the judges. Show them your confidence and your skill. This is your opportunity to show off all of your hard work and dedication. If you make a mistake, keep going. Demonstrating that you can continue without being phased by an error is a huge plus. You don’t want to make a mistake on purpose to make this point, but just know that in most cases one mistake will not make or break you. Finally, have fun. Judges and coaches want to see someone who enjoys cheerleading and, most importantly, someone who will represent their school or program well. One last thing to be sure to display during your tryout is your sportsmanship! Don’t be afraid to cheer for others and congratulate them on a job well done.

*Broken Wrists is a term used to describe when your wrists are bent in a fashion that prevents a straight plane from being created. Example: When you hit a “T” motion a perfectly straight line should be made from your knuckles to your shoulders.


Get your tryout gear from the Cheerleading Company! Must haves include:

Soffe Shorts

Cheer Socks

Hair Accessories

Cheer Shoes

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