Cheerleading Tryouts: How to Make the Squad
Top tips to making the cheerleading squad including tryouts, co-ed, jumps, stunts, clapping, cheer/dance, and attire.
So you want to be a cheerleader? I am going to teach you about the essential skills and mannerisms of a successful candidate and squadmate.
I was a cheerleader for 7 years, junior high, high school and traveling competition dance and cheer squads. I also took my first lessons form a former collegiate and Oakland Raiders cheerleader. These lessons cost $50/hour, one hour per week, for 6 weeks. I had tried out for 2 squads before I had lessons. I was denied the first time and second time I got on the B squad. After my lessons, I made the A squad every tryout after that. (At 3 different schools and 2 competition squads) Here is what Julie, the Raiderette, taught me:
Your smile is your best weapon. Be enthusiastic and smile during your entire tryout routine. Simply said, “Smile! Smile! Smile!”
A proper cheerleading clap for a chant or cheer is a closed clap, under your chin and between your shoulders. Don’t be that girl that claps in front of her face or level with her elbows. The coaches want to see uniform, stiff claps. Be careful not to let your hands stray in between clapping. If you are not clapping or cheering, but your hands in fists and place them on your hips.
Spirit fingers can be obnoxious. Use them sparingly. Use spirit arms and motions instead. To see great use of spirit arms and hand motions, get a hold of a televised collegiate cheerleading competition. ESPN2 has them on often during the spring and summer months. The movie, “Bring It On” has some good spirit arms ideas but be careful, they are a little “cheesy”.
If you are a tumbler, you have a really good shot of getting on any junior high or high school team. Tumblers are in high demand. Also, I should note, Tumbling is a round-off back handspring or standing back (or any combination) Cartwheels and round-offs don’t qualify as “tumbling” in cheerleading. Find more about tumbling in “Parts of a Cheerleading Squad”.
Basic jumps include: the toe- touch, herkie and pike. We will talk about the most important jump, the toe- touch.
Toe – Touch
Just as the name implies, jump up and reach for your toes on either side of your body. Like a sit down middle- split in the air. Most of us know how to do this. An effective a pretty toe-touch is high off the ground, straight (level) and legs land together at the end. These take practice and flexibility. Work on them. They are required.