Top 3 Things You Need to Know if You Are Trying Out for Cheerleading
One of the best parts about watching high school sports (and college) is watching how momentum can suddenly shift during a game. In most competitive games, you can find the moment where a big play or change of events, and the crowd seems to help turn the tide. A key part of this invisible crowd force are the people in uniforms on the sidelines cheering on the team. Cheerleaders help give home teams an advantage. They help the crowd stay focused at away games – keeping the fans engaged and entertained.
At this point in the school year, students across Houston are getting ready to try out to become part of that invisible force that determines winners and losers. Following in the wake of classics such as “Bring It On,” there is a new Netflix show dedicated to the try out journey called “Cheer” (which foils some common cheerleading stereotypes and may reinforce others). A number of Duchesne students are watching the show and getting ready for try outs. I caught up with some of the girls on the St. Thomas squad and a few who plan to try out and got some tips:
1. Practice Makes Perfect. Practice, practice, practice. Cheerleaders have to be adept in toe touches, left and right hurdlers, and pike jumps. Stay confident! Senior varsity St. Thomas cheerleader, Sofie Duffner, advises, “Don’t be nervous if you can’t do what everyone else can, because they’re not looking for people with the best skills. [They’re looking] that you want to be there, and your motions aren’t floppy.” Isabella De La Cruz, a senior varsity St. Thomas Cheerleader, said that before she was a cheerleader, “Sophomore year, I was dancing 20 hours a week.” Whether it's ballet, gymnastics, or track, most of the cheerleaders are involved in other extracurricular activities to stay sharp and flexible for the football and basketball seasons. And if you are one of the guys trying out for the squad, don’t drop any of the girls!
2. Bring It On. Be the loudest, most cheerful person in the room. St. Thomas varsity cheerleader, Grace Morley says, “One of the main reasons I didn’t make varsity junior year is because I don’t think I was peppy enough. I had the tumbling skills, but you have to be peppy and loud.” Life imitates art – just like the shows, be loud, enthusiastic, and support the team.
3. Manage Your Time. Prepare to clear out your calendar. Grace Morley said she spent “seven to eight hours a week [cheering] during football season, and four hours during basketball season.” Cheerleading, like any sport, requires balancing a number of different commitments to effectively manage your schedule. And pack your suitcase! Cheerleaders travel all over Texas for away football games, which can sometimes take up a whole weekend.
As usual, girls at Duchesne are up to the task. Duchesne freshmen, Gaby Smith and Pilar Valdez, are super excited for tryouts at St. Thomas High School. Pilar said she wanted to try out for the St. Thomas squad because “I think it’s really fun and I also really enjoy tumbling.” At the end of the day, perhaps the best part about cheerleading (like most other team sports), is making enduring friendships. St. Thomas cheerleader, Isabella De La Cruz, says the best thing about being a cheerleader was “I met a lot of girls from other schools (Incarnate Word and St. Agnes) and different grades.”
Good luck girls (and guys) trying out!
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