Tryouts are an important part of cheerleading, whether you're affiliated with a school or coach in a league. They allow you to group students with similar levels of experience together for safer and more enjoyable practices. They can also help you create a highly skilled team to take to competitions. Successful cheer tryouts are the key to creating your best and most dynamic squad. These are the best cheerleading tryout tips for coaches, including examples of score sheets and tryout flyers, as well as best practices for a successful event.
1. Get Organized
As a coach, you want students, other staff, and parents to trust your abilities from the start. Organization is essential for this. Start the season right with a well-organized tryout schedule and set of expectations.
On that note, choose a date that is at least a month or two away to give yourself plenty of time to prepare. You shouldn’t be scrambling to put together your tryouts at the last minute.
Instead, as you start planning, ask yourself a few simple questions:
- What is the purpose of these cheer tryouts? Are you adding to an existing team or starting from scratch?
- How many days will you need to host tryouts? How long will each day run?
- Where will you hold your cheer tryouts?
- Who is your target audience: parents or students? Where can you find these people best?
Jot down your answers to focus your efforts. This will help you go into your planning process with a clear vision.
2. Advertise With A Cheer Tryouts Flyer
It's time to get the word out about your event. A simple, but informative cheer tryouts flyer is one of the best ways to do this.
Not savvy with graphic design? Resources like Canva provide cheer templates that make it easy. All you have to do is enter the details for your specific tryouts. Be sure to provide the date, time, and location. You may also want to include details about what cheerleaders should wear or bring. Include an email address or website for prospective cheerleaders and their parents to find more details or ask questions.
Once you’ve completed the flyer, start posting it wherever you can around town! Put it in various places around your studio if you have one, as well as local schools and partner intramural sports leagues. Search for community bulletin boards in coffee shops and other small businesses.
3. Share Information With Parents And Students
Cheerleading is a highly competitive sport that takes a lot of time and dedication. It’s important to communicate this to students and parents ahead of time.
A welcome packet (either hosted online or available at your studio) is one of the best ways to answer frequently asked questions and address any concerns. Take this opportunity to provide information about the financial aspect of joining your cheerleading squad. Include the costs of tuition, uniforms, and travel arrangements for competitions. Be up front about the time commitment as well. How often do you plan to practice? What type of policy will you enforce for attendance?
In some cases, hosting a causal informational meeting for parents can be helpful. This will allow them to ask questions and adequately prepare if their child is selected to join your team.
4. Register Your Applicants
Include a registration form in your welcome packet. Gather important details, such as emergency contact information and communication preferences. You should also ask for information regarding medical conditions or allergies.
Also include a liability waiver that communicates the physical risks associated with cheerleading, in order to release your group from liability for injuries. This can protect your business from expensive legal matters. Keep one with complete signatures on file for each student.
5. Create An Easy Routine For Applicants
Most cheer tryouts involve a simple routine that applicants must learn and perform. Depending on the type of squad you want to create, this may include choreography set to music or a short cheer. Create a meeting in person or a video online to share this routine.
You may also wish to provide time during each tryout for prospective cheerleaders to perform stunts, jumps, and tumbling. For stunts, you should have the students practice in designated groups ahead of time.
6. Create A Cheer Tryouts Score Sheet
A cheer tryouts score sheet makes the judging process easy and fair, especially if you have several judges. You should also share these judging criteria with students ahead of tryouts so they know exactly how they’ll be evaluated.
Divide up your cheer tryouts score sheet into several different sections, like "stunts" or "chants." This score sheet example uses a simple point system for every segment of the tryouts. This allows your judges to calculate a grand total for each of the prospective cheerleaders. In the end, it will be helpful to see on paper who received the highest overall ratings, in which areas.
7. Host Your Cheer Tryouts
The preparation phase is over and it’s finally time to host your cheer tryouts!
Decide how many people will be in each tryout group. In general, it’s easier for judges to watch smaller groups of three to four people at a time. However, this will depend on how many people you’re expecting for tryouts.
In addition, consider assigning each person a number to wear. Make sticky labels that can be put directly onto clothing. Not only does this make it easier to split off into groups, it also helps judges stay organized.
Remember, you want to go into this day with enthusiasm and excitement. Students will perform to the best of their abilities if you give them a warm and organized welcome. Remind your judges to smile and be approachable. Remind them to "cheer" on the cheerleaders before their tryouts as this will put everyone at ease.
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