Calm Your Nerves

Q: I love cheering but get a little nervous performing in front of so many fans. How can I calm my nerves before taking the sidelines or competition floor?

If you’re anything like me, picturing the audience in their underwear just doesn’t cut it when state rings or your team’s reputation is on the line. Cheerleading can be a little intimidating because those high-flying stunts and crowd-pumping cheers draw all eyes to you and your squad. The key is to harness your fear and turn it into confidence.

Whether you’re showing off at the rivalry game or your favorite competition, prepare yourself. Practicing for competitions and games is a given, but when you’re going full out before a big performance, act like each routine is the one you’re going to put out for the audience to see. Knowing you’ve consistently pushed yourself will give you peace of mind as you strut into the spotlight.

One of my secret weapons for taming my pre-performance butterflies is to flash back to Friday nights as a perky Pop Warner preteen peeking through the chain link fence and gazing at the celebrities of my childhood. Many of us have been there, that aspiring young cheerleader, latching on to the border separating you from your cheer idols. You might not remember, but she thinks you’re just as cool as Taylor Swift or whatever new Disney Channel star is popular these days. Boost your tenacity by acting and feeling like the star she thinks you are! Use your chain-link fence fan club to remind yourself of the honored position you’re in.

Not just anyone gets to wear those letters across their chest, so wear them with pride and rock out your newfound confidence whether you’re stepping onto the big blue mat or into the Friday night lights.

– Abby Murphy