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How to Become a Cheerleader - The Ultimate Guide to Getting Your Poms

Posted by Jordan Snider on Jun 17, 2024 3:33:33 PM

Cheerleading is an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling sport—it’s the perfect combination of athleticism, coordination, and creativity. 

Not to mention, it also builds confidence and lifelong friendships!

And, most importantly - it’s fun!

If you want to be a cheerleader but are unsure what steps to take, consider this your go-to guide—from elementary school to high school, all-star cheerleading, and beyond!

How to Become a Cheerleader

As a provider of cheer camps throughout New York City, Future Stars can help you determine the best path to becoming a cheerleader with actionable advice from athletes who have been there.

Stay Fit and Active

Let’s be clear: When we talk about being active, we do not mean weight. Rather, being fit is all about strength, flexibility, stamina, and endurance.

Cheerleading is a sport after all—one that involves intricate stunts and routines.

Exercise comes in all shapes and forms, including running, dancing, swimming, hiking, and more. Find the form of exercise you enjoy, then have fun doing it! Not only will this build your endurance before tryouts, it will also have you feeling good mentally, too!  


Aside from cardio, flexibility is an important component of physical fitness for cheerleading. Regular stretching will help you build flexibility not only to perform stunts, jumps, and routines but also to prevent injury.

And remember, flexibility takes time. Try to do the splits the night before tryouts, and you’ll end up with a pulled muscle that’s hard to overcome. 

The good news? It’s an easy activity to do while watching TV! 


Strength is crucial, too. No matter your role in stunting, a combination of strength and technique are required.  While bases and spotters lift, throw, and catch people, flyers need maximum control over their body position and balance. 

Strength also helps power jumps and tumbling routines—both common elements of cheerleading. 

Learn Cheer Lingo and Terms

Have you ever tried following a conversation that involves words and terms you’ve never heard before?

If you have, you know it’s not easy! 

And, it can be even more difficult if you are nervous at tryouts. That’s why it’s great to start learning them now. 

Here are some common examples of cheer lingo for stunts and jumps:


  • Cradle - A stunt where bases catch a flyer after lifting them in the air. The flyer lands in the arms of the bases and spotter in a hollow body position.
  • Extension - A stunt where flyers stand with their feet in the hands of their bases. The bases’ arms are extended fully above their heads.
  • Liberty - A stunt where the flyer balances weight on one straight leg. The other leg is bent with the foot positioned at knee level. Often shortened to ‘Lib.’

Stunting Positions

  • Base - The cheerleaders that hold fliers in the air during pyramids or stunts. 
  • Spotter - The cheerleader whose primary responsibility is to prevent injuries by protecting the flyer during a stunt, pyramid, or toss.
  • Flyer - The cheerleader lifted into the air during stunts.


  • Toe touch - A jump in which the cheerleader’s arms are extended in a T-shape. Without dropping the chest, the legs are brought up to meet the arms when jumping before snapping them back down. 
  • Pike - A jump where the legs are straight out (parallel with the ground) with locked knees. The arms are straight out in front, also parallel with the ground.
  • Hurdler - An jump in which one leg is straight forward and the other is bent with the knee pointed at the ground. 

Attend a Cheerleading Camp

You don’t have to learn all aspects of cheerleading by yourself. Instead, you can go to cheerleading camp for expert support.

While YouTube videos are great, they don’t give you the feedback you’ll get from an in-person cheerleading camp experience. Cheerleading camps have expert counselors who will show you the ropes, from proper stunting techniques to arm motions and beyond.

cheerleading camp ny

If you’ve got tryouts coming up, in addition to jumps and cheers, cheer camp can help you practice stunts. Not only is it near impossible to stunt by yourself, it’s also not safe to do without trained professionals there to guide you.  

Camp also gives you chances to perform in front of people–something you’ll need to get used to if you want to be a cheerleader! 

If you need it, camp counselors can also provide answers to personalized questions.
Not only is camp a great place to meet friends, you get to immerse yourself in cheer culture! 

Keep a Positive Attitude

Cheerleaders, by definition, are meant to cheer on and support others. It’s hard to do that without a positive attitude! 

It’s also a must-have for stunts and routines. Whether you’re a base, flyer, or a spotter, cheerleaders must work together. 

Remember, part of a positive attitude is projecting confidence. Believe in yourself! 

Don’t doubt your capability; instead, say your strengths out loud. Never underestimate the power of positive affirmations; they’ll give you the confidence boost you need for tryouts. 

Cheerleading Tryout Tips

Tryouts are a normal part of becoming a cheerleader. 

If you’re nervous, don’t worry! 

It’s all about doing your best and having fun. Everyone faces speedbumps, but you can always get back up and try again. Doing so shows you’ve got what it takes to be a cheerleader!

Whether you’re trying out for your school cheer squad or an outside team, it’s all about the preparation. Here are some tips to help you do just that.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Without a doubt, “practice makes perfect” applies to cheerleading tryouts.

Schedule time to practice at home before tryouts. That way, you can develop muscle memory and overcome any nerves before the big day. Your cheerleading coach will also be impressed!

When it comes to jumps, cheers, and routines, focus on getting the basic movements down first.

Future Stars cheerleading camp

It’s beneficial to practice learning dance routines at home. The memory to learn choreography is a skill that can be learned; the more you practice it, the easier it will be during tryouts. 
You can use online videos or cheer camp to practice this skill in the weeks leading up to your tryouts.

And remember: Nerves add an extra element to performing during tryouts.  your tryout routine. Don’t assume you know the choreography; keep practicing it at home and get it into your muscle memory. Once you’ve got the moves down, instead of “remembering” the routine, you can focus on performing the routine.

Wear Proper Attire 

When tryouts come around, the first step is to make sure you have the right attire and shoes. 
You’ll want a pair of cheerleading tennis shoes or flat-soled shoes—especially if you’re a flyer.

They won’t hurt anyone during stunting, and they’ll keep you safe on the ground with non-slip soles. 

For clothing, you’ll want to wear semi-fitted athletic gear. Avoid anything too baggy that could get caught while stunting, but make sure you can move and show off that flexibility!

If you want to go the extra mile, a bow is an excellent way to show that cheerleader spirit. 

Have a Strong Voice

Cheerleading involves having a strong voice. After all, you’re cheering people on, often in large gyms and stadiums!

Project your voice—that means digging deep and projecting from your gut. This will help you be loud while still protecting your voice. 

Keep Smiling

Whether you’re cheering on a team or performing at a competition, cheerleaders are always showing their spirit and keeping the crowd excited. 

And you can’t do that if you aren’t smiling!

Girls at a cheerleading camp

When you head to tryouts, coaches will want to see that you can perform the routines and keep a smile on your face when it counts.  

Be Safe

No matter what sport or athletic activity you’re passionate about, it’s important to stay safe. 
Don’t try teaching yourself stunts, tumbling, or any other activities where it’s easy to fall or hurt yourself. In the same way, if activities require a trained spotter, don’t practice them on your own.

Coaches and counselors will give you a safe environment to learn stunts, jumps, and tumbling. They are also trained on how to spot you, giving you protection from any falls. 

Have Fun!

Most important: Have fun!

Cheerleading is meant to be a fun sport. When you’re having a good time, your spirit and smile will naturally shine through. 

While some may aim to become a professional cheerleaders, others enjoy it as a recreational sport through elementary or high school. Wherever your heart lies, you’re sure to have an amazing experience!

Work your hardest, try your best, but never forget why you wanted to be a cheerleader in the first place. 

Find the Best Cheerleading Camp for You

Cheer camp is a great way to reach your goal of becoming a cheerleader. 

If you’re in the Manhattan area, Future Stars provides the opportunity to learn all the skills and techniques you need. 

Access the free Camp Comparison Checklist for a simple way to compare summer camp costs, program activities, dates, locations, and more. 

Download the Camp Comparison Checklist today, and pick the best cheerleading camp this summer!

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