Cheer Salon: 8 Ways to Look Your Best at Tryouts

March 8, 2010

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Laura Schell-Baker is the owner of Ooh La La Designs, a spa and cheer shop in Milford. Ooh La La sells cosmetics just for cheerleaders, as well as bags, jewelry, spirit wear and more, and hosts spa parties that emphasize proper skin cleansing techniques and teach makeup application tips. Laura’s motto is “True beauty comes from within, it can not be applied” — a value she emphasizes to everyone she works with.

For tryouts, consider yourself a live billboard or commercial. You only get a few minutes to sell yourself to the judges. It’s important to have the right moves, but it’s just as important to dress the part so you make a great first impression. You want a look that says you’re already on the squad. Look at pictures of what the team wore last year to get a feel for what the coaches like — It shows that you go above and beyond what is expected of you to represent the team.
Remember, some teams have specific requirements for tryout attire and will disqualify anyone who doesn’t follow them. Check with the coach several days in advance so that you have time to shop if necessary.

Dress to Impress
First, make sure your clothes are clean and comfortable — not too tight, not too baggy. If your clothes are too tight, they may restrict you from doing a stunt, jump or motion to your fullest, which will lower your scores. If they’re too baggy, you risk a teammate getting caught during a stunt, which could cause an injury.

Show your Spirit

Purchase a shirt and coordinating shorts in your team’s colors from the spirit shop, or wear a clean, form-fitting tank in your team colors. This shows team spirit, and you’ll look like you’re already a member of the squad. If judges can easily visualize you fitting in on the team, it may help your chances of making it.

Under Your Clothes
You may want to wear spandex under your shorts to avoid showing your underwear when stretching, jumping or stunting, especially if you’re pulling a heel stretch, scorpion or scale. Always wear a sports bra under your shirt for your own comfort.

On Your Feet
Wear white, “no show” socks and clean white cheerleading shoes that are comfortable and broken in. Cheerleading shoes are preferable to any type of athletic shoe, not just because they look the part, but they’re specifically designed for stunting and tumbling. Gym shoes are just too big, heavy, bulky and sharp underneath.

Makeup 101
Your makeup should be delicate. Too much makeup becomes a distraction and can be counted against you. Emphasize your best qualities, be it your eyes or a bright smile. It’s OK to wear clear gloss or a French manicure on your nails, but avoid color, which distracts from the uniform.

Pull up a Ponytail
Pull your hair back into a tight ponytail. A ponytail portrays spirit and excitement and keeps hair out of your face, which is important during a performance. Secure long hair up and off your shoulders with a no-metal elastic hair band (metal clasps can break your hair), then pin back any stray hairs and spray well with hairspray. Add a complementary hair bow in your team colors (or white usually works, as well) for added effect, but put it on a totally separate hair tie.

Add Accessories

Another fun way to show your team spirit is to wear a temporary tattoo on your cheek. It’s unique and makes you stand out. Remove all jewelry. Judges will likely deduct points on your appearance score if they see jewelry (safety thing). If you can’t take a piercing out, cover it with a Band-Aid. It’s also a good idea to cover visible permanent tattoos, which distract from the uniform.

Stand Tall
Overall, have confidence when you’re trying out. If you’re unhappy with your performance, don’t show it until you get outside. Chances are, you didn’t do as bad as you thought. If you don’t make the team, don’t give up on being school-spirited. You can still join other school activities along with supporting your school’s cheerleaders. I wish you all the best of luck!

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