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How to Make it on Varsity Cheerleading

By Kay Ireland

Some high schools have two cheer squads: junior and varsity. Junior squads are meant for athletes that are in ninth and tenth grade, while the varsity squad is reserved for upperclassmen, occasionally allowing younger girls to join the squad if they are very talented. Whether you're an upperclassman or you want to show the coach that your skills are as honed as the older girls, making the varsity cheerleading squad will require extensive practice and raw talent.

Enroll in extracurricular activities that help to support your cheerleading skills in advance of the tryouts. Spending the summer in a gymnastics gym or taking a tumbling or dance class can give you the upper hand when it comes time for tryouts. You'll have a higher skill level, cleaner execution and stay in shape so you're ready for the various skills and choreography showcased in the tryouts.

Ask the coach when the tryouts will be and keep on top of the tryout schedule. Since making the varsity team is so exclusive, the tryout schedule can be aggressive, with several days of practices before tryouts. Ensure that you attend all days of the tryout, since you'll be learning different components of cheers and may also be trying out in different phases and heats.

Practice the vital components of the tryout on your own. You'll need to perform basic stunts and steps to be able to keep up with the other varsity hopefuls. The coach can tell you what the squad expects of those who tryout. You'll need to know certain gymnastics components before you even qualify to try out for varsity. Ensure that you have the basics practiced, remembering that precise basics often show better than sloppy tricks and stunts.

Learn the choreography and routines that you will be judged upon during the remainder of tryouts. Varsity choreography will likely be more difficult than that of the junior squad, so pay attention and take notes if possible. You may learn the steps and cheers in heats or groups, so you may find it helpful to observe other heats in order to memorize the cheers.

Show enthusiasm for the process. While cheerleaders are known for their athleticism, they're also known for their attitude and enthusiasm for cheering. Even if you aren't the most talented gymnast, dancer or tumbler, a high degree of enthusiasm can make up for a lack of skill in some cases. By showing respect for the process, showing your excitement and executing skillful auditions, you'll have a better chance at making varsity.

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