A couple of Saucy's peeps have asked lately for some info regarding cheer tryouts for their daughters, their nieces, their friends. Perhaps it's a good time to summarize the key points Saucy thinks that hopeful cheerleaders should be aware of before they hit the gym for tryouts.
It's that time of year, after all. She hopes this helps you!
Tip Number One: Attitude above all else
As a very old coach, Saucy can pretty much sniff out a bad attitude a mile away. Arriving late and unprepared (more about how to prepare later), copping a 'tude or not giving one hundred percent in the tryout situation tells a coach pretty much what they need to know about an athlete. So... be on time (early is best). Be prepared to give everything a good solid try. Don't whine or complain. Don't roll your eyes (instant strike through your name) and don't offer excuses. Try your best and if you screw up, try again. That stuff is golden for a coach.
Tip Number Two: Be a student of the sport
You can hit YouTube and a ton of cheerleading web sites that have tutorials and tons of information regarding tryouts. You can even follow some training organizations like the NCA (National Cheerleaders Association), UCA (Universal Cheer Association) and even some uniform supply companies (Omni Cheer and Varsity) on Facebook and they often post interesting links to their sites and blogs that provide pre-season and training information. On YouTube, there are lots of sample tryout cheers and routines you can look at. The better idea you have about what you might be faced with, the better prepared you will be.
Tip Number Three: Talk to the coach
It never hurts to make contact with the coach prior to the tryouts. Let her know you are interested... ask questions (especially how you might improve your chances) and be enthusiastic, polite and confident. Treat it like a job interview. If you are a good student, say so. If you are involved in other activities, let the coach know that also. He or she will appreciate knowing that you have varied interests but will also want to be aware of any conflicts in your schedule.
Tip Number Four: Start conditioning and stretching as soon as possible
You should stretch your muscles twice a day (after a bath or shower is ideal, when your muscles are already warmed up). Some of Saucy's most flexible team members have their nighttime bath and stretch for a full half hour while watching their favourite TV show. If you have good flexibility, you have a better chance of mastering skills like jumps and poses much quicker. You'll also go through the tryouts with less pain. Now would also be a good time to hit your school's weight room or fitness club. Go with a friend, especially if you are planning on trying out together.
Tip Number Five: Don't try anything new or crazy, especially without proper supervision
Now is NOT the time to try a stunt or a jump on your own, without instruction or proper spotting. Wearing a cast to tryouts would pretty much exclude you from participating!
Tip Number Six: Ditch the piercings, the crazy hair colour, and heavy makeup
Do NOT show up at tryouts with any of the above looks. It's best to arrive looking clean-cut and natural. Besides, jewelry wearing is verboden in competitive cheer so you will have to take it out when you get there anyway. Pull your hair up in a ponytail if it is long enough but at the very least make sure it is off your face.
Tip Number Seven: Wear appropriate gear
You don't have to go out and buy anything new... just a clean tee shirt and shorts will work. Yoga wear, if it isn't too revealing is also acceptable. Your school-issued gym strip will work too but whatever you choose it should not show bra straps, the top of your underpants, or have anything written on it that a teacher, coach or "old person" will find offensive. Trust Saucy, the last kid to be put on the list is the kid with a tee shirt that says something dirty. Ditto for logos for liquor companies or stuff like that. The cleanest, lightest running shoe you can get your hands on is also good.
Tip Number Eight: Smile, and then smile some more
It sounds simple but it's the hardest thing to do when you feel like everyone's watching you and you are under pressure. But it comes down to this: a smile can hide imperfections. A good coach also knows you might screw up when you're learning something new... but not having to yell at you all year about remembering to smile is great. You can master the skill to perfection later, but if you're smiling along the way, you look confident and fun to work with.
Tip Number Nine: Be a positive influence and role model
Yes, it's sort of a competition to get on the team, but if you look like you're willing to help the other girls at tryouts, you're sending a message to the coach that you are a team player and you can work well with others. Avoid drama. If there are girls fighting at tryouts... head the other direction. Also, help set things up and put things away. That's what the team members have to do, so you may as well learn now and lead by example. It won't go unnoticed.
Tip Number Ten: If you don't make it, try and try again
Saucy will almost 100% of the time take a kid who tries out again a second time after being turned away. It shows her that not only do they really want to be there, they're also the kind of kid who will work to achieve their goal. When Saucy has taken those kids, they've been awesome cheerleaders because they really appreciate the opportunity and more than likely, they spent the year that they weren't on the team doing things to improve their chances at the next tryout, like attending camps and watching YouTube videos. Dance lessons and gymnastics lessons also help, if you have the money. Don't forget to thank the coach for the opportunity of trying out and ask him or her what you might need to work on for next year. Chances are, they'll make a mental note of your mature attitude and if you put in the effort, you'll be on the team this time next year.