AES Cougar Cheerleading

Cheerleading 101: the Basics

Coaching    Dance    Exercises    Jumps    Motions    Stunting    Tryouts   Tumbling

So you want know how to be a cheerleader? Here's a beginner's guide!

Cheerleading should be about having a positive and supportive attitude, school spirit and enthusiasm.  No question about that.  But there is also a tremendous physical aspect to it.  The pages listed above will give you the low-down nitty gritty step-by-step how-to on the most essential elements that every cheerleader from beginner ankle biters on up to adults should master.

Trying out soon?

The number one tryout question is, "What do I need to know to make the team?"  The only person who can accurately answer that is the team coach; so don't be shy, go find out. It would be heartbreaking to show up for tryouts only to discover that a back handspring or back tuck is required and you don't have one yet. So get the information ahead of time so that you know what to work on. If you want to see generic score sheets, go here and look at some of these. But again, only the team coach knows exactly what your team needs for tryouts, so go ask. (For all-stars, you can see the skill levels here.) If you have never been a cheerleader and don't know what to expect, you can watch videos of kids trying out for various teams, and teams preparing for competition. For online viewing just go to the following website and look for the episodes about cheerleaders: "MADE". (Check with Mom and Dad if it's ok to watch these videos, which are made for teenagers. Some episodes seem to be missing, so check back now and then to see if they have been added.
Tips for making YouTube more kid-safe Please review before watching videos. "Cheerleader Nation" and "Cheerleader U." also encapsulate the tryout and competition experience.

As far as requirements go, generally speaking if it is a very athletic and competitive squad you are trying out for you will want to sign up for a tumbling class; and nearly every day do tumbling drills, stretching and conditioning for strength, endurance and flexibility; and work on motions and jumps as well. If you don't have tryouts until late summer or fall, a summer camp is a great idea. You can learn a lot about cheering and get a feel for how tryout clinics work by going to one. To find a camp check with your local universities and see if their teams are doing clinics, or if you are in the USA go here: (In the banner at the bottom of that last link are icons for different cheering companies. You can click those icons, find their section on camps, then click the link to camp search or camp finder. It will bring up a search form so you can check your state and others nearby. You will have to contact the camp, however, and see if they have a "camp team" available for individuals who are attending without a team of their own.)

A word to the wise, if you are going to be a cheerleader you need to
grow a thick skin!! If your coach comes into your house and straightens out a crooked picture hanging on your wall, would that make you cry? Of course not! And the same should go if (s)he or another team member straightens out your high V, or toe touch, or dance moves. Don't take constructive criticism personally, but please do listen to it and learn from it.

Finally, as important as all of the cheer skills are, don't ignore the academic side of things if this is a school team. Make sure your grades are good enough to be allowed to try out.