The University of Mississippi’s cheerleading team is one of the best in the country. For years, they have been the face of the athletic program, and it is truly an honor to represent Ole Miss in such a way. This year’s tryouts are set for May 15-19, 2019. The Ole Miss Cheer team consists of an all-girl team, which will be evaluated beginning the evening of May 17th, and a coed team, which will be evaluated May 16-17. The University of Mississippi is looking for students who will represent Ole Miss in the best way possible not only on gameday, but also on social media and in the community. Candidates will not only be judged on their stunting and tumbling skills, but also on their gameday performance.
If you or your student is thinking/planning on trying out for Ole Miss Cheer, here are 10 tips from a former Ole Miss Cheerleader to help you through the process!
1. SIMPLICITY IS KEY
Tryouts are not the place to try a brand-new skill and hope you land it. You want to be confident with what you’re performing, so stick to the skills you are comfortable with, and the judges will see you as a consistent athlete.
2. PREPARE FOR THE INTERVIEW/FITNESS TEST
Ole Miss has a fitness test and an interview. For the fitness test, you need to be prepared to run a mile in under 8 minutes. I do not suggest just winging this. The last month before my tryout, I ran a mile every day until I was consistently meeting the time requirement, so practice practice practice! For the interview, I recommend just being yourself. The judges want to know if you can hold a conversation; for example, if a fan comes up to you in the Grove (which WILL happen), they want to know that you can talk to people. Do your research about the university and be able to answer simple questions about it.
3. LOOK THE PART
Each cheerleading squad has a certain “look” to their team. Make sure you research what this looks like. You can do this by looking at cheer posters from previous years and looking at the veterans’ social media and seeing how they have dressed/looked for previous tryouts or gamedays. At tryouts, the judges will judge you on appearance, so make sure your hair, outfit, and makeup all look clean and put together. Keep your hair completely out of your face and pick a red shade of lipstick. Also, GET SLEEP! It will be a long weekend, so make sure you get plenty of rest.
4. HAVE A GOOD ATTITUDE
No matter what happens on this day, always show that you have a positive attitude. The judges are constantly watching, and if you are sitting by yourself in a corner on your phone, this will not look good on you and they will take note of this. Be social and talk to others. Even if your stunt falls or you stumble on a tumbling pass, get up and smile and wave because they want to see that you can get back up and keep going with a smile on your face!
5. BE COACHABLE
The best athletes are willing to take advice from coaches and other athletes. The veterans know what they are doing, so if they correct your technique on a certain skill, LISTEN!
6. BE CONFIDENT
Whether you are a nervous wreck or feeling relaxed, look confident! This is a very positive trait when it comes to cheerleading because you will be performing in front of thousands constantly. Be LOUD and very interactive in the cheer portion of the tryout, because that is the most important part.
7. DON'T SHOW THAT YOU'RE NERVOUS
Tryouts are a very nerve-racking time for new candidates and veterans as well. Take a deep breath, visualize your tumbling pass or stunt, and put a smile on your face. Act like you know what you’re doing. It always helped me to take a few deep breaths and talk to my partner before we competed. We had a handshake we did before every stunt and every competition, and that helped with both of our nerves.
8. BE A TEAM PLAYER
Coaches and judges are looking for team players. They want people on their teams who are easy to work with and get along well with the team. Cheer other people on while they are trying out! During past tryouts, everyone was able to watch as you tried out. This can be a good thing because you can have people cheering you on!
9. BE VERSATILE
Be flexible. On all-girl for example, if the coach asks you to switch positions, you want to have experience in that other position. If you are a side base, for example, practice maining as well so that you won’t be caught off guard if asked to switch for a stunt.
10. ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE
No matter what the outcome of the weekend is, trying out for college cheer is an experience like no other. You meet so many new people, and are placed in an atmosphere you’ve most likely never been in before. Take it all in and enjoy it!
Cheering at the collegiate level at Ole Miss holds some of my most special memories. If you are on the fence about it, I definitely recommend giving it a shot. It is such a privilege and if you are lucky, you will come out of it with a family away from home.
For more information about Ole Miss cheer tryouts, visit their homepage.