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Cheerleading Tryout Survival Checklist

Cheerleading Tryouts Survival Checklist
This is a simple list of what you will need to survive cheerleading tryouts. It's not easy to put yourself out there during tryouts, but being prepared will help.

If you’re looking for more details or other helpful hints, read our post titled Cheerleading Tryout Tips. Or, if you're a coach looking for a checklist of your own, be sure to read our coach's survival checklist for tryouts.

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School requirements

  • If you have paperwork or other school/team requirements, be sure to bring them with you to tryouts.


Your overall look should be very clean and simple. Each school has different requirements for clothing so it is very important that you know your coach’s expectations prior to tryouts. All clothing should be neat, free of wrinkles, not overly tight or loose, and plain. When I say plain, I mean boringly plain. No logos, screen printing, embroidering, or color combinations unless requested by the coach.

  • Plain shirt 
    • Some schools require a simple mixture of a white shirt and black shorts while other schools require school colors.
  • Plain shorts 
  • Clean shoes
    • Cheer shoes are recommended (and may be required by some schools), but if you do not have cheer shoes, use clean, lightweight athletic shoes (white is best.) Avoid shoes that are heavy, do not have laces, or do not have support for jumping. 
    • Double knot your shoes so your laces stay secure during tryouts. 
  • Hair
    • If your tryouts are right after school, be sure to pack your brush, comb, hair tie, hair spray, and any other hair necessities. 
    • Your hair should be pulled back and out of your face. If your hair is long, all hair should be secured in a high ponytail. Tryouts are not the time for a saggy, low pony. If you have short hair, pull back as much as you can away from your face. 
    • A nice, clean bow can add a special touch if your coach allows. 
  • Makeup
    • Makeup should be minimal and natural in appearance. Bright, colorful eye color or lipstick is not recommended. 
  • Accessories
    • In my opinion, the only acceptable accessory for tryouts is a bow (although some coaches may not even allow a bow.) Do not wear jewelry of any kind.
  • Smile
    • One of the most important things you can bring to a tryout is your smile and a good attitude!


As with appearance, different schools have different skill requirements. Be sure to know what is expected of you before you tryout. Below I’ve listed the most common skill requirements. 
  • Jumps
    • Toe Touch, Herkie, Hurdler, Pike, Tuck Jump
  • Motions
    • Although you may be asked to show motions separately, most of the time your motions will be judged during your cheer, chant, and dance.
  • Cheer/Chant
    • You will likely be taught a cheer or chant at a clinic leading up to tryouts. 
  • Dance
    • Just as a cheer, you will likely be taught a dance to perform at tryouts.
  • Tumbling
    • Tumbling varies widely by school. While some varsity high school programs require a standing back tuck or back handspring to make the team, some schools do not require tumbling at all. If you have tumbling skills, be prepared to show them off. 

Other items

  • Water
  • A snack (if you’re staying after school)
  • Practice music for dance, if applicable
  • Any medical braces or wraps, if applicable
I hope that you found this post helpful to prepare for your tryouts. Best of luck!

Keep shinin' and keep smilin', Sisters! 
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