Published on July 16th, 2013 | by Jackie Martin
All Star Cheerleading Evaluations
Author: Tayler Easton
Let’s face it; spring can be a stressful time of year. Exams, end of the year competitions and…tryouts!
Besides competition, this is what you have been working for all year, right? All of those hours in the gym perfecting your new tumbling pass, or working hard on new stunts will all pay off at tryouts. All Star cheerleading is different than school cheerleading in more ways than one, and their tryout process is the first way to set the two apart. Whether you are trying out for an All Star team for the first or ninth time, there are always nerves that need to be settled.
In all star, there is usually a team for everyone, no matter what skill level. Unlike high school or college tryouts where there are only one or two teams for the highest skilled athletes, all star gyms have many teams for all levels and age groups. All Star is especially great for those athletes looking to try cheer for the first time, as well as those with the most elite skills possible.
Don’t think “Tryouts”
Rather than a traditional tryout format that a school might use, All Star gyms use evaluations to create teams. These evaluations are weighted heavily on tumbling, and coaches will expect you to have all of the required skills for a level in order to be placed on that level-specific team. Chris White of the Stingray All Stars, explains that “most athletes are placed according to tumbling levels, although there are exceptions to the rule. Role players come in handy if the tumbling isn’t there, such as: point jumpers, strong bases, point dancers, flexible top girls, etc.” Prepare to show all of your best skills so coaches know what your strengths are! If you are unsure what level you fall in, check out the chart below to match your skills to your appropriate level.
|Standing Tumbling||Running Tumbling||
|Forward/backward rolls, front/back walkovers,||Cartwheels, Roundoffs||Two Leg: elevatorOne Leg: Below shoulder level|
|Single Back handspring||Series back handsprings||Two Leg: ExtensionOne Leg: Prep Level|
|Series Back handsprings||Back/Front tucks (no tumbling is allowed after the flip)||Two leg: Single Twist from ExtensionOne Leg: Straight Cradle from extended|
|Standing tuck, Standing back handspring (s) to tuck/layout||Layout, front tuck connected to tumbling||Two leg: Double twist from extensionOne Leg: Single twist from extended|
|Jumps to tuck, handsprings to twisting skills||Full and double twists, specialty passes||Double twist from extended one leg stunts, elite transitions|
Contact the gym that you are interested in joining to see if there are some classes you can take before tryouts, so you can get a feel for the gym atmosphere and coaching style. Each gym is different! Sometimes there is more than one gym in an area, so feel free to test out each gym before committing to a team. Just remember-once you make a commitment to a gym, you must honor it until the end of the season. Nobody likes a gym hopper!
What are your goals for the year? Is it to gain new skills? Meet new people? Compete for a national or world championship? It’s important to set goals at the beginning of the season and make sure the gym you chose can help you achieve those goals. Many cheerleaders set a goal to compete at and win one of the prestigious year end events, such as Worlds or the Summit. The Cheerleading Worlds is for Senior level 5 athletes and above, while the Summit is for the top 10% of every other division. Each competition takes place in Orlando, and are considered all star’s most prestigious year end events. If this is something you are interested in, talk to the gym and see if they plan on going for a bid for one of these events. Some teams are more local competition based, while other teams primarily compete for a national championship. Make sure your goals align with the gym’s so everyone is on the same page!
The Day of Evaluations
First impressions are everything! Arrive early, be confident in your skills, and make sure your appearance is neat. Some gyms require you to wear gym practice gear, a bow, or certain colors- do your research ahead of time! Also, check if there are different evaluation dates for certain age groups or levels. Gyms do this so coaches can get a good feel for what athletes can do with their potential teammates.
During evaluations, if a coach offers you advice, be coach-able! Coaches will feel more confident about placing you on a higher skill level team if they see that you can take criticism well. When showing your skills, remember proper technique is the number one thing to keep in mind. “When I evaluate athletes, I look for skills that are executed with proper technique and form”, says Jessi Williams, a coach at Cheer Co All Stars. If you are unsure of a skill, let the coach know that you are working on it, and they will keep that in mind. Certain coaches only want to see skills you have mastered, while others will be happy to spot you to see how comfortable you are those new skills. Safety first! If you have a solid running tuck, now is NOT the time to throw a full for the first time ever!
After the Evaluation
Many different things go into team placement, so keep an open mind when awaiting results. The coaches consider tumbling skills, stunting positions, past performances on teams, and other intangibles when deciding teams. Coach Stephanie Beveridge of GymKix, looks for “potential and the willingness to learn, as well as athletes with a good attitude towards cheering, coaches and their team members.” The coaches are doing everything they can to make teams as successful as possible, so once you are placed on a team, be ready to get to work and have a great time along the way! Good Luck!