Cheerleader Hibernation

After 32 years of coaching (yes, I’m old), one thing I always see are the kids that come to get their tumbling skills a month or two before cheer tryouts, and then go into “hibernation” till  the tryouts next year, whether they made the team or not.  Their skills haven’t changed, but the competition is getting tougher, especially when they are ready to try out for high school. Then you factor in that an average of three middle schools feed into each high school, which means that 36 girls are now trying out for 12 positions on the Freshmen team. The odds are about the same when trying out for JV or Varsity.

You have two choices:

1) Hibernate for 10 months and hope for the best.

2) Keep working on your skills so that you are stronger and more confident next year.


Most schools will go to an NCA or UCA Summer Camp.  Kids will be asked to try out for All American. They will be required to tumble, jump, cheer, and sometimes dance on the grass or a gym floor (depending on where camp is). All American is an honor in the cheer world!

I recommend to all of my kids to try out for All American if they are asked. Are you prepared?

If your child stands out at camp, she may even get offered a job as an instructor! I taught several years for NCA as an instructor, head instructor and was even on the college staff. Great times and made some lifelong friends!  My neighbor behind me is one of them!  Small world! BUT…….Your daughter or son is going to have to stand out in all aspects.  If you are interested, then treat it like a job interview. Keep the skills sharp and improve what needs improving.

College Cheer

Let’s talk about College Cheer.  Some colleges offer scholarships up to Full Rides! Now there’s an investment for ya! When I cheered at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, TX, we went to the Bahamas two years in a row for basketball tournaments…..all expenses paid! After winning nationals with Oklahoma State cheer, we were asked to perform and teach in Japan and Taiwan….all expenses paid!  We were treated like rock stars! (Yes, that’s me with hair and a fanny pack)

Just so you know, the Junior Colleges in Texas are some of the best in the country and offer great scholarships! TVCC and Navarro are the two top Junior Colleges in the nation, with over 10 National Titles each! Very competitive tryouts, but so worth it! If you cheer at one of them, you can pretty much walk onto any D1 team in the country, not to mention that tuition is cheap and they do offer scholarships.

If your son or daughter is remotely interested in cheering in college, start looking while they are in high school. I’ve had kids go to the tryout clinics their freshman year all the way up to tryouts. Talk about being prepared! Tryout Clinics are going on right now.  Start stalking colleges on their websites and social media. How do you compare to them now? What do you need to work on to make it?

Now get on YouTube and look up Daytona Stuntfest. It’s like a rock concert / circus on the beach full or college cheerleaders. Talk about AMAZING!!

There are both coed and all girl teams in college, so any kid has an opportunity if they are prepared. There are some AMAZING competitive teams out there, and there are some amazing colleges that are strictly sideline, but you get the best seats in the house…..on the sidelines!  Then there are some horrible teams out there that the local junior high teams are better than. Years ago, my oldest student was a 42 year old divorced woman, who decided to go back to college. Low and behold, one of the Oklahoma colleges offered a full ride to cheerleaders, and didn’t even have tryouts! Talk about a smart woman! She was on the Tonight Show and Hard Copy for it.  She was not a talented cheerleader, but she got a free education….and a little fame!


I got a phone call Monday from a woman whose daughter did not make the team for her junior high tryouts, even though she did FFL cheer and all stars at another gym. She said 7 of the kids that made the team went to our TSI Cheer Tryout Clinics, so she wanted to start training with us. I wish we’d met sooner.

So, the sad truth about Cheer Tryouts is that not everyone makes the team (….unless you are trying out for an All Star team, then, if you have a credit card, your daughter is going to be on a team!  “Which team?” is the question.)  We want all of our students to make their teams, and we want them to be as prepared as possible. They are all different with different strengths and weaknesses.  My best advice to you is to keep them involved! There are other sports that compliment tumbling, like soccer and volleyball, but flipping is still going to take time and practice.  Flexibility can be lost if you don’t keep working on it for your jumps.  So think about it before you drop out of that tumbling class.

Do you want another stressful tryout or do you want to strut in with confidence because you came prepared?

Wake up and let’s get to work!

Craig Callaway

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