New cheerleading tryouts reduce stress

Grace Nevil (11) and Katlyn Feldman (10) preform the tryout dance at clinic.

Grace Nevil (11) and Katlyn Feldman (10) preform the tryout dance at clinic.

Caroline Orr

[dropcap]From[/dropcap] year to year, hours of practice, oversized hair bows, and week-long nervous adrenaline, can only mean one thing, cheer tryouts. While those elements of tryouts remain the same with pre-tryout clinics, outside preparation, and high emotions, many elements of this years tryout process were changed.

“My goal was to lessen stress and anxiety levels by simulating team performance and interaction with both familiar and unfamiliar groups (judges and coaches),” said cheer coach and Administrative Assistant to the Athletic Director, Ms. Megan Arnold. “We are easing into a more collegiate and universal means of tryouts, starting with the implementation of (myself) judging and athletes performing in their group, the entire time. I felt that the athletes were more comfortable and were able to portray higher levels of confidence within each group as opposed to having individual portions. This also helps maximize the levels of competitiveness and shows cohesion between potential teammates.”

Overall, returners agreed that the changes made indeed helped to alleviate the typical stressfulness of tryouts and make material more useful for the upcoming season.

“The tryout was less stressful because we didn’t have to ever go in by ourselves,” said varsity cheerleader Skyler Steele (10). “The tryout process and the material were more like what we do and use during the year.”

Allowing the cheerleaders to try out solely in groups of three, as opposed to having to to tryout partially in a group of three and partially as an individual, caused the process to run much more efficiently.

“I thought we got through the tryouts in half the time because we did it all in groups of three. That was really nice to get it all over with, but it was more tiring,” said Mary Caroline Scofield (11).

Additionally, former senior varsity cheerleaders got the opportunity to play a more active role in tryouts this year than in previous years. They attended the clinics to assist more with the material and even were able to watch the tryouts and oversee the entire process. Katherine Stevenson (12) enjoyed this privilege and appreciated the new changes to the tryout process.

“It was so weird for me to be on the other side of tryouts this year. I really liked being able to help out with tryouts because it was less stressful,” said Stevenson. “My favorite part was watching all of the girls during their actual tryout; it was so nostalgic for me. The atmosphere seemed a little more laid-back this year, which is good because in the past I saw girls get so worked up over their tryouts. I liked how instead of doing a two-part tryout, they did the whole tryout in one part. It was difficult, especially for the last people in line, to have to wait and rewarm up their tumbling during the individual tryouts. I was just as excited to hear about who made which team, because I still care so much about the program.”

The excitement of tryouts continued as the potential cheerleaders anxiously awaited the results via an email the next day.

“I was nervous all week and couldn’t think about anything else!” said rising JV cheerleader Margaret Frandina (8). “When I found out, I was excited to be a part of the team and that all of my friends will be together again next year. I know it will be better and more intense than cheering in Middle School.”

The final results were confirmed by Coach Arnold on Friday, April 2: the cheer program welcomed all rising freshmen to the JV squad, including two girls who are new to Kinkaid, and sophomores Crafton Deal and Lindsay Wolf to the varsity squad. The teams will begin practicing the week of May 4 to prepare for UCA cheer camp this summer at Texas A&M, and the upcoming fall season.