Cheerleading is about far more than bouncing up and down waving poms poms while spelling out your team’s name. Cheerleaders need to be fit, strong, agile, enthusiastic and above all confident in their ability to put on a good show.
Cheerleaders need to be flexible and ideally should have the suppleness close to that of a gymnast. Make sure you work on your flexibility by stretching daily. You could even do this when watching TV, so it need not take up too much of your time or interfere with your daily routine.
A good cheerleader will be smiling even when their team loses. No matter how badly your team is performing or how difficult the stunt is you are performing, remember to smile. Practice your cheers and routines in a full length mirror so you can keep a check on your facial expressions.
Chant on the move
You’ve got to make the most of your pipes if you’re going to be a great cheerleader. It’s no good being a great mover if you don’t belt out your cheers. Practice your cheering while performing your routines – it’s more difficult than you think. Just ask Beyoncé.
Record and playback
Have a friend video you performing your cheerleading skills. This will enable you to have a look at your skills and see what areas need improving. You can then make the necessary fixes and record yourself again. This is good way of allowing you to see your own improvement and will keep you motivated.
Tight and snap
Keep your motions tight, and snap them into place. A good cheerleader's moves are always tight and rigid, not loose and flailing. When you clap, your arms should be in front of your face (around nose height) and should not go past your shoulders on the release.
Talk the talk
Cheerleading has a vocabulary of its own so it’s best that you get up to scratch with all the terms for all the moves as soon as possible. You’ll make a good impression on your coach and fellow cheerleaders if you know your buckets from your basket toss and your cupie from your cradle catch.
Prepare for public performance
If you’ve never performed in public then it’s time to start now. Start off by performing your moves in front of friends and family so that you get used to people watching you. By the time you arrive for your first training session you should be a little more accustomed to public performance.
Don’t do anything you are not comfortable with. Of course be prepared to give things a try, but don’t be forced into doing anything that you haven’t done yet or you consider too risky for your level of experience. A good coach will not expect you to do anything they don’t think you are capable of pulling off.
Cheerleading can be a dangerous sport so make sure that all the necessary paperwork is in place. You will be expected to complete a signed waivers and a permission form (depending on your age) before being allowed to participate. Also, there should be some form of insurance in place to cover you in the event of an unfortunate injury.
Remember, cheerleading is first and foremost meant to be fun. Yes, there are competitions that you may go on to compete in and expectations within your cheerleading group may be high, but always make sure that if you make a mistake, you just pick up the next move. Always keep going.