Team Try-outs: Advice from a Dance Mom-Coach

Team Tryouts: Advice from a Dance Mom-Coach

Springtime usually means dance team and cheerleading tryouts for the upcoming school year. As parents, we want our children to do well and earn a spot on their desired team, but we also want to remain realistic in expectations.

Depending on the age of your child and how competitive the school’s team is heavily influences what skills and techniques your child will need to have to make the team. As a dance mom and assistant coach of a high school dance team, I wanted to share a few mom-approved tips for tryouts.

  1. Be realistic. If your child has never danced or cheered before or has little class experience, you’ll want to be very honest with your child about the expectations for the team. Talk about best-case and worst-case scenarios. It’s a great life lesson to set a goal for the next year and work hard to earn a spot later if you don’t get a placement this time.
  2. Be informed. Go and watch the team perform throughout the year. Attend games, showcases, or watch videos of their performances so you can gauge the experience level and skill level of the team. Ask a coach or current team member what skill sets your child can be working on before tryouts.
  3. Believe in practice. I’ve seen a child try out one year and not make it, then attend a year of dance classes. The next year the child showed up and impressed the judges and made the team. Practice really does help, as does exposure and time to work on flexibility, choreography, and personality.
  4. Be active. I encourage my dancers to stretch all year to increase flexibility. Watch YouTube videos of stretching, learning skills, and strengthening with barre exercises. There is so much free material that your child can watch to stay active and increase skills on his/her own.
  5. Be positive. Attitude goes a long, long way. Judges can see the look on your face. If you have a great personality and confidence, small mess-ups may be overlooked. I recommend video recording your child practicing and letting them watch for memory, skills, and showmanship. It really helps to see yourself performing to make corrections and work on improvements.

Best of luck in spring tryouts!

Rachel Harris Ledet
A New Orleans native and entrepreneur, Rachel is a mom of four with an active schedule. Rachel maintains a daily balance of running her own marketing firm, 30|90 Marketing, managing her kids’ schedules, and maintaining extracurriculars including coaching dance, volunteering, and occasionally teaching courses. Rachel lives in Mandeville with her best friend and husband Lenny, daughters Addison and Amelia, stepson Luke, and son Tucker. With a family of six and a million balls in the air, Rachel keeps things light by continuously learning, spending time with amazing friends, blogging, finding any route to a concert or outdoor festival, and planning her next getaway with her husband. A sense of humor can get you through almost anything, so she tends to surround herself with fabulous and very funny people.


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