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Tryouts: Coaches Info & Cheerleader Tips


Coaches Educ at Top of PageCoaches at Top of Page Cheerleader TryOut Tips & Info toward bottom of pageCheerleader Tips at Bottom of Page



Cheerleading tryouts can be difficult for coaches, typically there are dozens of enthusiastic candidates hoping to make a team. Tryouts for cheerleading are usually brief periods to evaluate dozens of eager contenders.

Hint: Place weight on the Tryout Interview and the Teacher recommendations.   Veteran coaches will share – team members have been selected for skill and the season was spent working on attitude or teamwork issues.

It is usually the coaches that make the painful decision of who gets cut. Other complications include adequate gym space, complexity in organizing large numbers of candidates and trying to measure critical subjective attributes such as skills, potential and character.

As Cheerleaders, we dedicate ourselves to promoting school spirit and to leading and guiding spectator participation at games. We realize how that being a cheerleader is an honor that carries with it the responsibility of leadership, maintaining character worth emulation, and demonstrating positive and supportive loyalty to our school.

The most important attribute for you during the tryout period is a sense of fairness among the candidates. If everyone has an equal chance to show their skills, the final decisions on selection will probably be accepted by the candidates and their parents. If some cheerleaders are considered favorites, by not actively participating or by receiving a disproportionate share of exposure, the slighted players will be disgruntled.

During the clinic/camp, assign each candidate a number. Candidates will not be called or recognized by name, but rather by number so as not to influence judging. Female candidates will be partnered at random to create tryout-groups. Male candidates will have their choice of stunting partners, with the mandatory expectation to choose at least two for tryouts.


The purpose of the sideline squad is to cheer the football, basketball, wrestling, soccer, etc teams on to victory. We are there to motivate the athletes and to entice the crowd to cheer with us. In order to do this, our squad needs to be able to effectively entertain and impress the crowd while showing the energy that proves that we want our team to win.

In every tryout, there will be some cheerleaders that stand out as obvious picks for the team. The difficulty for the coaches is in deciding who will fill the bottom half of the roster. For instance, one player may have fewer skills than another, but shows more potential. It may seem like the best answer is to pick the player with the most potential and develop him/her, but try to determine the degree of coachability.

Also be aware of the cheerleader who is helping others. They don’t necessarily work on their own skills, but share what they know to help those who feel like newbees. This person may be an ideal candidate for you.

In arrogance, we have all chosen cheerleaders with good physical characteristics with the belief that we could mold them into a fine team member, only to struggle all season with attitude problems or poor attendance. An area where a coach's stereotypes can get in the way is dismissing candidates that don't have the outward appearance normally associated with a cheerleader.

Coaches TryOut Suggestions

The Last Cut


Asking your candidates to return to the judging area for a second tryout is perfectly acceptable. 

Coaches - The Last Cut

Be Prepared to Justify Your Decisions


Hopefully you'll never have to, but when the occasion prepared.

Justify Your Decisions



Posting Your Results


The most exciting and the most hurtful part of the cheerleading tryout process is posting the results. The link below gives you some alternatives and some new ideas from your fellow coaches.

Posting your cheerleading tryout results

Who should judge your tryouts?


         Cheer Tryouts (no link)Many schools deliberate on this each year.

Some schools coaches judge, others have teachers, principles and other faculty members on their panels. Some use a distinct judging panel comprised of individuals who specialize in cheer or dance: college cheerleaders, OACC volunteer judges, and paid certified judges.

Tryout judging panels should be those who know the techniques or basics. The history teacher may know all about the civil war, but she may not know the difference between a herkie and a hurdler. However, these staff members may be superb judges for overall spirit, appearance or the perfect person to conduct the interview portion.

The OACC recommends any combination of an unbiased judging panel, plus a list or pool for the coach "coaches pick". We emphasize judging weight on the teacher recommendations and the personal interview.

In a school where the child of coach is trying out – the OACC feels the coach should step aside. Fairness is also to protect the coach from the appearance of showing favoritism.

The OACC members are available to help judge your tryouts. If you would like the OACC to contact impartial judges in your area, contact the office.



You need to be Aware and Prepare.                

Make sure you are aware of the commitment that you are getting yourself into, and know that cheerleading is demanding on your body. Cheerleading takes a commitment of time from you, and your family. If you are unaware just ask the coach about the time that is involved with games, practices, pep rallies, fundraisers, conditioning, camps, competitions, clinics, and all other school functions. If you are in choir, any extracurricular club or activity, church group, work you will need to know the amount of time commitment required. The financial commitments: uniform pieces, game tickets or entrance fees, paint/poster supplies, snacks, gifts, extra/external training and education, cheer clinics, dance classes, gymnastics classes, leadership training.

If you are willing to handle this then you are ready to start preparing yourself for tryouts.

Eligibility: make sure you are eligible to cheer – academically and in accordance with the Ohio High School Athletic Eligibiltiy requirements found at your athletic office.

Get your Physical as soon as possible – don’t scramble to get a doctor appointment at the last minute.

Learn the Language
Cheerleading has a language of its own and its own complete set of skills. Learn the language before you go to tryouts or tryout camp.

Vital Skills   The technique of Motions and Jumps.

Skill in Spirit Leading, fun, energetic, attitude, voice projection and control, and stage presence.

Your clinic may include techniques from basic to advanced, but judging will be focused on your precision, learning a cheer, chant, dance, your Fight Song, an interview, possible tumbling basics or stunting.

Even if you do not have tumbling skills you still have a good chance of making the team. Practice your motions until you have military precision, including your motions during jumps.



It is very important you remember you're trying out for an extremely high profile position representing your school. You are to look like the All-American type female and male. Gentlemen: Please SHAVE before attending a clinic and tryouts. Ladies: you will need to look like you are "Game Ready" at the clinic and at the tryout. This includes natural make-up, hair pulled up, etc.   Your appearance will be considered throught your entire tryout.


Cheers and Chants

Every sideline cheerleading team has their "signature" cheers and chants. You may learn one at clinic – polish this one!

Chants are short and repetitive. They are usually repeated three times, but can be varied for crowd involvement. They usually have minimal motions that can be performed while standing in a line or just clapped out by a beat.

Cheers are often longer than chants and usually incorporate jumps, tumbling, or stunting. They tend to focus on cheering. Each word is usually assigned a motion.


Jumps  This list is not full inclusive, but lists the most common jumps required at a tryout.

Toe Touch:  Legs are straddled and straight, parellel to the ground, toes pointed, your arms are in a " T". You do not touch your toes.

Hurdler:   Side - The straight leg out to your side with your arms in a "T".  Your bent knee faces the crowd.  Front Hurdler - Your straight leg is forward, your arms in a touchdown and your knees face the ground .

Herkie: named after Lawrence Herkimer, the "father of cheerleading" and founder of the National Cheerleader's Association.  

Pike:  A clean pike is impressive. This jump is considered to be a difficult jump. Both legs are straight out, knees locked straight and solid. Arms are in "candlesticks" straight out in front.  This creates a folded looking position in the air. You will probably be asked to turn to the side when you perform this jump, so that the judges can see your form. 

More Jump tips at

 Better Jumps - Increase Your Jump Score  

         Learn How to Jump Higher   



  Dance/Drill/Cheerleading/Pom Tryouts Cheer & Stunt Teams
Tryout requirements for dance, drill, or cheerleading will vary between teams.

For most dance/drill/cheerleading tryouts, you will be tested on flexibility, posture, correct execution of movement, and proper alignment.

Find out as much as possible about the squad you are interested in before you audition. Know their skill requirements, tryout curriculum, style, required stunts and jumps, costs, travel obligations, any orientation activities, grade requirements, weight limits, time expectations, and so forth so that you can prepare accordingly.

Don't hestitate to call the coach or a current cheerleader.  They want to see enthusiastic teammates.

Tryouts for dance/drill/sideline cheerleading are usually held in the spring or early fall. Some hold sideline tryouts in conjunction with their competition team.  Some Competition team tryouts are held separately in the fall.  Call your school.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind for tryout day:
• Dress appropriately. Try to find out if there is a dress requirement. Do you need to wear school colors? No school colors?
• Make sure your hair looks neat. Tie your hairup away from your face. Use a simple hair ribbon.  Do not wear a "full dress" type of hairbow.
• Wear minimal make-up and no jewelry. None.
• Speak loudly and distinctly to the judges.
• Concentrate on showmanship, form, and execution.
• Stay positive.

Your clinic may also include the use of a megaphone or flip cards, especially for a co-ed team.

At a recent roundtable discussion with college coaches, the coahces tell us that incoming cheerleading candidates are not prepared.  Contact the OACC if you would like to attend a clinic or hold a clinic for the seniors in your area.

Thank you to our Collegiate Division I, Division II and Division III coaches and trainers for sharing their ideas, concerns and tryout ideas and procedures with us.

Currently Division I and Division III both have football teams with Winning Standings in the top 3 in the nation!!  Show that spirit!!

See info below for videotape tryout info.  See the NCAA and College Cheer page for details on your prospective school.

Competition and All-Star/Elite Squads


This tryout is for the experienced cheerleader who is ready to take it to the next level.   All Star Squads generally require advanced skills or the potential to learn the skills. Your dedication to the team is an important factor.

You must stand out in the areas of dancing, cheering, jumping, tumbling, and stunting. Your ability to perform clean transitions will be looked at. Your personality and attitude will be judged.

Many of our interscholastic teams are "ground bound" and stunting may be new to you.

Versatility will be a huge factor for you. Versatility in your stunt group position may be your guarantee to making the team.

When building the team and looking at returning members, the coach may have special requirements from year to year. One year the team may need more proficiency in dancers, the next year they may need tumblers. Don’t be afraid to ask (weeks or months) before tryout day.

Gentlemen: Experience is not necessary to tryout for a competition team. In addition to looking for the same things as for a sideline stuntman, the competition squad will be looking for guys who excel in the areas of stunting and tumbling.

You must show the willingness to learn the sport and show your natural ability and quickness to catch on. If you have no gymnastics training and tumbling is a weakness, your gym may have extra tumbling classes for you.

Strength, balance, coordination, and motivation to improve personally – will making you a greater asset to a squad.

Video Tryouts, Private Tryouts


In the event that a cheerleader is unable to attend the tryout or tryout camp contact the Head Coach or the Director to set-up arrangements for a video try-out or a private try-out.

Many All Star teams and Collegiate teams have a video tape/private tryout policy in place. In order for a video-tape tryout to be considered for a school steam, you must meet the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Eligibility Requirements. Contact the Head Coach, Athletic Director or Principal.

Video try-outs typically require:

  1. A close-up face-shot of the candidate
  2. Material that appropriately demonstrates the candidate's individual skills required for the team:
  3. cheer
  4. chant
  5. jumps
  6. standing and running tumbling (spotted is allowed)
  7. co-ed and/or all-girl stunting
  8. a short speech indicating why you are pursuing a spot with the Cheer Program

Many times, your video camera or camcorder may not be turned off and the tape may not be edited. The camera must continue running throughout your entire video taped try-out.


Check the News page & the College page for the most recent updates


    Cavs Girls     OSU All Girls Team Tryouts April & September   Division I, II, & III  Ohio College Tryouts See Collegiate NCAA page   OSU tryouts in January

 News & Updates       College Tryouts       Mascots     

Look for your favorite school below  


 May     GO BOBCATS!!! *o/*

The mission of Ohio Intercollegiate Athletics is to inspire, develop, and support students in their pursuit of academic and athletic excellence.  

OU Bobcats Cheerleading


  September    Fall Tryouts 

Coach Giuseppe Di Iulio Director of Athletics Lee Reed made the announcement Giuseppe Di Iulio named Cheerleading Coach.

Giuseppe Di Iulio, a four-year varsity cheerleader at the University of Akron, has been named the head cheerleading coach at Cleveland State.


CSU Viking tryouts