The bright lights flash on the stage revealing your shimmering uniform, the crowd is roaring, and you feel like your heart is about to beat out of your chest! Any cheerleader will tell you that this can be the most terrifying feeling ever.
But don’t panic, because here are some tips to crush those nerves on the competition floor!
1. Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
They say that practice makes perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect! Remember, it’s all about muscle memory. Conducting a meaningful practice and warmup is what helps you show up and show out on the mat.
Pro Tip: Perfect a warmup routine that works for your team with specific time limits for stretching, visualization, walkthroughs, and skills.
2. Fake It Till You Make It
Even if your team didn’t have the best warmup, pretend as if you did! The judges and crowd will never know what happened back in warmups. Put on a smile even when you feel like your heart is going to beat out of your chest. You can’t change the past, but you focus on the future. A confident attitude off of the mat will result in a confident attitude on the mat.
3. Team Rituals
Those final moments before you run hand in hand with your teammates on to the floor are crucial. From motivational speeches to singing and dancing, find the ritual that leaves your team feeling confident in those final moments before you take on the floor.
Pro Tip: A fun ritual like singing a song with your team will distract you from your nerves and get you excited for your performance as a team!
4. Have A Mental Dress Rehearsal
Close your eyes and picture yourself in front of the crowd under the bright lights on stage. Envision yourself sticking every tumbling pass, hitting every stunt, and wowing the crowd with your show-stopping routine. Picturing yourself sticking the routine will give you confidence when you perform!
5. Know When To Take A Breather
Whether it is an eight-count before running tumbling or transitioning to the dance, find the moments where you have a chance to breathe. Taking a deep breath will be that quick mental break you need to push through and finish the routine.
Pro Tip: Don’t wait until competition day. Find these breathing points throughout the routine in your practices prior to the event.
6. Talk to Your Teammates
Talking to your teammates throughout the routine will bring your team success on and off the mat! If you know one of your teammates is struggling with a skill, yell for them in that section of the routine. It will bring them confidence and that extra boost of energy to stick their skill.
Pro Tip: If you are nervous about a certain section of the routine, tell your friends to yell for you too!
Written by Madeline Bassett