Thursday, October 22, 2015

College Cheer Tryout Suggestions

   I would just like to take this time to offer some first-hand advice for your first college cheer tryout. When I tried out, I had trouble finding what I was looking for as far as what to expect. I have been a cheerleader for about 8 years now (I think that makes me officially...old) and a cheerleader at The University of Texas at Arlington for 3 years. There are 3 things I think are important to understand about your first college tryout.

                    1) Be both open and inviting

    This may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how much your body language and typical behaviors can be misinterpreted by a new team. You are being judged on more than your skills, and the ideal "rookie" (or new member) is willing to try new things and accept constructive criticism. Even if you have vast experience with a skill, things are done differently in college and you need to be able to cordially accept constructive criticism from older teammates.
    And don't let being intimidated by someone allow you to put them on a pedestal. Remember that everyone is the way that they are for a reason. Everyone is fighting a battle that you may not understand, but that they have struggled through and grown because of. Your veterans have been in your shoes, and have seen many come and go through the team. The way they treat you comes from their experience and their perspective. But their opinion of you is not yet determined, and they may be skeptical of your loyalty or work ethic initially. Don't take this personally. You can prove to be a great teammate by being willing and able.
    College cheerleading involves new aspects that aren't even legal in all-star or high school. You will be asked to try something that terrifies you, and it's okay to be scared. However, if you refuse, you will not receive positive feedback from your team. Ask questions, as many as you need to understand. And be honest about your fears, and your veterans will talk you through them. Be open, willing and honest.

                    2) Push and encourage everyone else on the team

    This is a team sport, and even more so, this is more about the general success of the team than your own. College cheerleading revolves around encouragement from within and a spirit that comes from the heart. That's what wins national championships. Even if someone isn't your favorite teammate, a kind word during practice can change their whole day. You will be surprised when these same people remind you later on how much it helped them, and later on they will repay the favor when it comes to the routine.
    And you need friends on your team. Don't reject and put down your teammates, plain and simple. You never know who you will need on your side later on. And remember, dead mat hurts your body. It just does. And until college cheerleading adopts spring floors, we will all hurt equally and awfully. Try not to downplay others injuries when they complain. Imagine yourself in their shoes, and remain cordial.
    Yell for someone when you see them in need, and they will return the favor.

                    3) Wear spandex

    This is something that was not explained to me before I tried out, and I showed up in Soffee shorts. No, nobody is going to make fun of you publicly, but you will stand out. Nike pros are the most comfortable in my opinion, but any will work. (I recommend black, if you tumble, and if you know why)
    If you don't feel comfortable, by all means, wear what you want. I like to wear spandex workout pants to practice, when I don't have to do some form of thigh stand in a pyramid. But I'd wait to do this until you're certain your coach accepts wearing pants to practice. Just know that the college cheerleaders at every tryout I've been at wear spandex to tryouts and practice.

I hope that this helps someone, somewhere. 
Thanks for the read. 
Good luck at your tryout!

-Shelby Z Currie

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