So if you’re reading this I hope you’ve already been preparing for the big weekend of what are the most terrifying, exciting, and nerve wracking few days of your life! Deciding to be a college cheerleader is a big decision and can impact your entire college career. Cheering in college has been one of the best experiences of my life, and my time as a University of Central Florida cheerleader was the best three years of my life. I’ve met friends that I’ll have for forever, I competed at UCA Nationals (and beat my former alma mater may I add) and even traveled across the pond to Ireland! I also got to be a role model and an ambassador to my University which is one of the most gratifying and fulfilling things you can do as a college student!
College cheer has changed SO much in the last couple of years that I went through, and it’s becoming more and more competitive. My first little piece of advice is to decide whether you want to cheer at an NCA school, or a UCA school. I always saw the difference in them as NCA being more “all-star cheer” background and UCA is more “high school cheer” background. Both have a competitive aspect, both normally cheer at some sort of school sporting event, but they way they perform is a bit different. I was more of a high school cheerleader, pumping up a crowd at football games and cheering on the team down the court at basketball games. Hence how I ended up at a UCA school! Then you need to decide if you feel that all-girl is where you want to be or a co-ed team is for you. Both are totally awesome, but you just need to decipher what fits you the best!
So lets get into the tips you should know before college tryouts. Honestly, I knew nothing of how serious cheering was in college, and I ended up making the team at the University of Kentucky! (Okay I was 80 pounds and could kind of stunt and barely tumble so I made it some how!) But here are some tips and tricks you SHOULD think about, unlike I did, when trying out for a college cheer team.
Had I known some of these things I might have been an even better cheerleader. But once you’re on the team it’s pretty great to have a huge family of people to help teach and guide you along the way.
With that said if you do make the team, CONGRATU-EFFING-LATIONS to you!!! It’s such an exciting journey and the road ahead of you is filled with the most fun experiences of your life. However, after you make the team doesn’t mean all the hard work stops…it actually only begins!
Before you get back out to your summer practices, and to camp and reporting week, you still need to keep up all those other steps I talked about before! Remember, you’re a rookie to the team so you still need to prove to everyone else that you deserve that spot. Eat the right foods, keep your body well nourished and well hydrated. Keep doing your conditioning exercises unless they give you a workout packet which some schools will. Keep tumbling, practice your cheers, chants and band dances, and make sure you know them well! You don’t want to look like the idiot that didn’t practice their cheers at summer practices. There’s always that freshman that comes in and doesn’t know a thing which in turn makes the whole team suffer. Don’t be that girl! At UCF we used to go to the pool for one day and everyone has to line up across the edge of the pool. They call out cheers or band dances at random and if you mess up you jump in the pool! Everyone does them until everyone is PERFECT. Once again, don’t be that girl!
It's so important to keep up all the hard work you put in to tryouts, afterwards as well. Keep up an outstanding impression! But of course, not everyone is going to make the team. Which comes to the ugly side of college cheer tryouts. Story time....
I was a UK cheerleader for my first year of college. I made great memories, learned SO much as far as cheer, and really built some great relationships. Tryouts came for the second year, yes in college cheer you have to try out every year, and it was going to be a tough one for me. I worked my butt off and knew I had something to prove but unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. I didn't make the team....AND THAT'S OKAY! I just remember I didn’t cry, I didn’t say much, I just felt…..relieved. Not everything is meant to be, and I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. I collected myself, did exactly the steps I talked about previously, and found myself at the BEST, in my opinion, university in the country. I kept practicing my skills, I reached out to team members and introduced myself to the coaches, as well as working out and eating right. I was fortunate enough that there was a spot for me on the team and after my first week of practices I was an official UCF Cheer Team member!
Now not every story is like mine, but here’s what’s important. If you don’t make the cheer team, or any team for that matter, it’s not the end of the world. A very brilliant cheer coach once told me when I was beating myself up about my skills, “At the end of the day, it’s just cheerleading.” You’re going to get a degree, you’re going to make friends, you’re going to have the time of your life in college so don’t sweat it. It’s about how you pick yourself up after the fact. You can always try out at another university or better yet try again the next year! Take that time to practice and build up your skills. There’s nothing coaches love more than seeing a come back story of someone who just didn’t quite fit the mold at first, and comes back to wow them!
So there you have it. The tips I wish I would have known before hand, what to do after you make the team, and how to move on if you don’t. The most important part is to have fun and enjoy every second of it. A cheerleader is an ambassador to a school, and the photo behind the logo at every university. You represent the pride and dare I say it, spirit, each university’s students hold in their hearts. So remember to practice, prepare, do your homework, and cherish every part of it!
If this post helped you out with your cheer tryouts let me know! If you really liked it then give it a thumbs up or share it with your friends! I want to hear your try out stories or questions you might have. And look through some of my photos below to see some of my own cheer memories! Send me an email or find me on social media! As always thanks for reading, and stay tuned for me!
*Most photos below are courtesy of Chris "Picture Chris" Schubert (https://www.facebook.com/PictureChris)*