Got school spirit? The cheerleading squad's the perfect place for you. Here's how to make the team.
Step 1: Start getting in shape – cheering is a real sport. If you want to make the squad you'll have to condition your body for a full season of jumping, tumbling, and running. Begin your training at least four months ahead of tryouts by doing cardio, stretching, and working your core three to four times a week.
TIP: Strengthening your core builds your abs and your diaphragm muscle, which is essential for shouting cheers.
Step 2: Cheering requires flexibility, hand-eye coordination, and a strong foundation in gymnastics. Cheerleaders who can tumble have an advantage. In the months leading up to tryouts, take gymnastic classes along with a combination of yoga, ballet, or dance classes. These activities will help prepare you.
Step 3: Introduce yourself to the squad coach. Not only will this make a positive impression, but you'll also learn the exact requirements for tryouts, as well as answer any general questions you have about the squad.
Step 4: Befriend as many current and former cheerleaders as you can. No one will give you better advice about practicing, technique, and how to impress the coach and squad leaders.
Step 5: Start practicing basic cheer moves and routines. Find routines online or rent or buy cheerleading DVDs to learn the basics. To familiarize yourself with your school's cheer style and difficulty level, ask the squad coach to borrow old game footage and study the routines from last season.
TIP: Besides practicing in front of a full-length mirror, record yourself with a video camera so you can identify and fix mistakes.
Step 6: On the day of tryouts, wear comfortable exercise clothes, pull your hair up and out of your face, eat a small, high-carbohydrate meal two hours prior to tryouts, and put on your brightest smile.
TIP: Wear your school colors.
Step 7: Hit the floor and give it your all. Be prepared for anything, especially learning a new routine on the spot. If you make a mistake or take a fall during your tryout, don't give up – keep smiling and pick up where you left off.
FACT: According to one study, 83 percent of cheerleaders carry at least a B average in school.