College cheerleading tryouts are just around the corner! The preparation time is almost over and it’s time to take the mat. Trying out for college cheer is an incredible experience within itself, and there’s no need for fear.
U.S. National Team athlete and former Alabama cheerleader, Millery Null, has been through the tryout process four times at the University of Alabama, and she shared her top 10 tips that she believes will help you be the best you can be this season!
Check out Millery's 10 tips to help you through college cheerleading tryouts below.
1. Prepare Well The Night Before
You will probably feel a bit nervous the night before tryouts, and that's okay! Be sure to fuel your body in a healthy way the day before taking the mat so that you feel great the next morning.
As my USA coach Leroy McCullough always says, “If you feel good, you’ll look good!” Lay your outfit out so that you aren’t scrambling the next day to get ready. You want to feel as stress-free as possible!
2. Study The Team ‘Look’
Each program is different, and each program has a certain "look" that they portray. Whether it’s curled hair or straight hair, red lips versus neutral lips, or ribbons versus bows, it’s important to look just like a team member. A lot of college tryouts prefer you to look game-day ready, which in my opinion is the best way to go!
3. Reach Out & Introduce Yourself
If you haven’t previously attended a clinic, be sure to introduce yourself to the coaches before tryouts begin. If you have attended a clinic, just say hello and let the coaches know you’re excited! This helps you make a good impression and lets them know you’re ready.
4. Set Yourself Up For Success
At this point, you have put in a lot of time and hard work, so be sure to set yourself up for success at tryouts. If there is a skill you have been working on but haven’t mastered yet, keep working on it—but tryouts isn’t the time to throw it. This will only make you worry and add unnecessary stress to your tryout.
Throw the skills you know you can hit 10/10 times. You want to be as stress-free as possible because that is when you will shine!
Calm nerves are the key to confidence. Take a few deep breaths before each skill, relax, and do what you know how to do! I was a nervous wreck my freshman year, and I’ve learned that being up-tight only adds pressure to your skills. Relax, relax, relax—because you won’t get this moment back!
6. Let Your Personality Shine
Be approachable and talk to the current team members that are at tryouts. Maybe even ask them for advice. Everyone at tryouts will be nervous, so be the person who steps out of their comfort zone to put themselves out there!
7. Pay Attention To The Little Things
When it comes to college cheerleading, skill plays a pretty big role, but it isn’t the only thing that is important. Motions, game-day appearance, personality, and overall impression are just as big as the physical aspect. Fix that broken wrist, have a smile on your face at all times, and enjoy the moment!
It’s the little things that will make you stand out.
8. Know The Material
One element that is super important to know is the fight song. If you show up to tryouts and already know the fight song like the back of your hand, you will execute it with confidence! Also, looking over the team's band dances and cheers might put you ahead as well. The more, the merrier!
Not all programs do an interview process, but if they do you need to be prepared for them. The majority of the time the judges or coaches want to see your personality. They might ask you a few questions like, “Why do you want to go to this school?” or, “What makes you a good teammate?”
If you catch a question that’s a little tough, answer it the best way you can and smile through it!
10. Confidence Is Key
This is my main tip for tryouts. It is something I always told myself through the tryout process and every time I took the mat. Be confident! Even if you are nervous about throwing a skill or just nervous in general, if you perform with confidence you will more than likely execute your skills better!
My four years cheering at the University of Alabama have been the best years of my life by far. I always had a goal of cheering in college and now after reflecting back on my incredible experience, I couldn’t have made a better decision!
To all of the first-timers trying out for college cheer, take in every moment, be confident and GOOD LUCK!