Overcoming the pressures of tryouts

IHS cheerleading posing on the field before a football game.

IHS cheerleading posing on the field before a football game.

Addison Williams

Trying out for a school team can be an exciting process, but there is also a great amount of pressure that comes with the experience, no matter what sport is being played. It can be difficult to overcome the nervousness and worries that come with the tryout process, especially from students and athletes alike. 

As the school year comes to a close, Independence high school (IHS) is already looking ahead. Cheer tryouts for the 2022-2023 season are just around the corner. IHS cheerleading earned numerous accomplishments throughout the 2021-2022 season, including their first-place win in the district, as well as earning ninth place overall in state at their annual UIL Spirit State Championship back in January. 

IHS cheerleading pictured at their annual State Spirit Championship held back in January.

Although the team is saying goodbye to their senior cheerleaders, they are welcoming incoming freshmen to try out and encouraging other students to try out for both the junior varsity (JV) and varsity squads. 

Emily Daley, IHS varsity cheerleading coach, shares her advice that she gives to cheerleaders before tryouts, and offers helpful tips for the girls to remember when they are getting ready to perform. 

“When you are actually trying out, try to be as calm as possible, and remember that you know what you’re doing. A lot of people will go out there and freeze and not know what’s going on, but if they just keep practicing really hard beforehand and do their best, they should feel confident going into the tryout,” she said. “We as coaches tell them to try their best. It sounds generic, but the material can be complicated. Practice as much as you can, because you know yourself better than everyone else.”

Daley tells what she enjoys the most about the upcoming cheerleading tryouts, and what goes into the preparation beforehand. 

“Definitely just getting to see the new team, who has the potential to be on the team, and how everything will come together after tryouts are done,” she said.  “It’s exciting looking at the potential of new candidates and seeing how our returning cheerleaders have grown as they are preparing for the new tryout season,” said Daley.

To prepare the cheerleaders for tryouts, clinics are held the week prior to ensure that the girls can learn the material given, and receive feedback from the coaches as well. 

Daley shares what she believes the girls have struggled with the most while they are going through the tryout process.

“There is a short time to learn the material and feel confident with it, especially if you don’t learn choreography quickly. It’s mainly about knowing yourself and how you work as an individual and managing your time as best as you can in order to be as successful as possible.”

IHS JV cheerleader Amya Gibson tells how she feels about the upcoming tryouts, and what she does to calm herself before a performance. 

“I feel pretty good about tryouts this year, mostly because I tried out last year and am familiar with the process. There are going to be a lot of new people, but I still feel like I am going to do well this year,” said Gibson. “When I’m nervous, I try to just breathe. It’s a common thing people say, but I feel like taking the time to think about what you are doing, and just doing it at the moment is so much better than trying to rush through the entire thing.”

Gibson details what she is looking forward to the most regarding next season, hoping to make the IHS varsity team. 

“I’m really excited to cheer for the varsity games next year, especially because they’re at the big stadiums,” she said. “I also feel that we do a lot more stunts and events overall on the varsity team compared to JV during the season.”

IHS cheerleading tryouts begin on Saturday, March 26. Tryout clinics will be held from Monday, March 21, to Thursday, March 24. The Lil’ Knights cheer clinic will be held on Saturday, March 19, designated for Kindergarten through fifth-grade students interested in becoming future cheerleaders. Follow @ihsknightscheer on Instagram and Twitter to find more updates on tryouts and clinics.