March 9, 2010
Gayle Trame, pictured here with her daughter, is the founder and president of the Northern Kentucky Cheerleading Coaches Association. She has been involved in cheerleading for 26 years and has coached at various squads throughout the region, including Simon Kenton High School, the Cincinnati Elite All-Stars, St. Henry High School and now Holy Cross High School in Covington, where she is also a teacher. The NKCCA provides support for member squads through annual scholarships and resources for coaches.
What’s the most important thing to do before tryouts?
Find out exactly what the coaches are looking for, and exactly what’s on the scoresheet. Usually there are specific tumbling requirements, but if you don’t have tumbling, you need to maximize in other areas.
What are common mistakes you see during tryouts?
Voice is a big one. A lot of cheerleaders whisper the words. And remember to follow skills all the way through. For example, remember that the landing is part of the jump. Stay tight when you stand up and spirit afterward — do the same same with the cheer. I know people feel stupid because they may be the only ones in the gym, but that spirit is what cheerleaders have to have. The little things can
get you over the edge.
What are some ways to maximize my points if I don’t have strong tumbling?
Motions are something you can teach yourself, as opposed to tumbling, which needs to be learned in progression. Watch yourself do the motions in front of a mirror until you’re confident. But if you do need to improve your tumbling, there are plenty of gyms in the area that offer classes, open gyms and private lessons.
Is there anything else I can do to get an edge?
Confidence is important, and it should show in your voice and your skills, but part of that is knowing what will happen in the tryout. For example, if an optional jump is part of the tryout, you should be prepared and have a jump planned. Keep in mind that coaches are looking for coachable kids who will do something when they’re asked. Cheerleading is a long year, and it’s a long time to have to work with the same group. We want cheerleaders without a lot of issues or conflicts, and who are dedicated to their teams and teammates. You’ll have a better chance at making the squad if you show interest in improving by, for example, showing up at optional open gyms if the squad is holding them.