You've done everything right. You practiced, you built up your strength, stamina and flexibility and you've been eating healthy and getting plenty of rest. Your body is at its peak. Your motions are sharp, your jumps are high and your tumbling is terrific. So, why didn't you make the squad?
The question is not easy to answer, but consider the factors below and ask yourself if you lack any of these qualities.
- Attitude - Coaches can put a lot of weight on attitude. They think that skill can be taught, but a bad attitude is forever.
- Spirit - Demonstrate your spirit and your heart for cheerleading. Woo the judges with your enthusiasm. Make sure your cheers aren't just words, put your feelings behind them.
- Personality - Let your personality shine through. Be outgoing and friendly.
- Leadership - Did you show that you could take control of a situation? Were you the type of person others would want to follow? Initiate things and don't just follow along.
- Team Work - Were you a team player? When you spoke of accomplishments, was it "us" or "I" that came to your mind first?
- Helpfulness - Did you help others? Did you offer to assist someone that was struggling with a skill?
- Willingness to Try New Things - Volunteer to try new things. Ask yourself if you are willing to do something you've never done before?
- Versatility - The difference between a good cheerleader and a great cheerleader is that a great cheerleader is an all around person; she/he can do more than one thing on the squad. Did you focus on only one position? Did it come across like you could only do one thing like base, spot or fly? Or did you show you were versatile and could function in any position when needed?
It's not to say that if you possess the qualities above you will definitely make the cheerleading squad. But if two people have the same cheerleading skills and abilities, these qualities are what may or may not get you that coveted spot on the cheerleading team.
You'll also want to keep in mind the type of cheerleading squad it is. You should select your squad as carefully as they select you. The match should be a perfect fit.
- Are they strictly a competitive squad? If so, watch a few performances and see what stunts, tumbling and dance moves the majority of the squad members have mastered. This will give you some insight into what skills you'll need to make the team. If they are highly competitive, the chances are great that they will put a lot of stress on these abilities and skills.
- Are they a supportive squad? Do they cheer for other sports? This type of squad takes a combination of skill and personality. How well do you know the other sports? Do you know the scoring system, the time outs, and when it's offense or defense? Take some time to learn the basics of football, basketball or whatever sport you'll be cheering.
- Does the squad do a lot of spirit activities? Like pep rallies, sign making, skits and so on. These activities take imagination and creativity. If you're good at speaking in front of crowds, that's an added plus for this type of squad.
- What about fundraising? If the squad has to raise funds, then you can't be shy about approaching strangers and asking for money or donations.
- How often do they practice? Can you handle a rigorous practice routine? Do you have the stamina, the means of transportation to and from practices and most importantly, the time to be fully committed?
There's no one secret to making a cheerleading squad. It takes a combination of things to be selected and when you're being judged, it could all come down to one person's opinion. You can stack the deck in your favor though. Stress your strengths and try to diminish your weaknesses. Show you're an all around type of person and you will stand out in a crowd. After all, that's exactly what a cheerleader is.