Cheer Jumps for Tryouts

Subject: High School Try-Out!

hello there! my high school cheer tryouts are on monday through friday next week. and i just wanted to ask how i can get my jumps higher because right now i can barely get any of them off the ground. i know the stretches and the positions to sit in but none of them have shown any help. and my toe touch’s stink!!!!!!!!!!!! i need to figure out how to twist my legs out when i jump and i just really need help with all my jumps. please (: thanks!

Dear M,
Thanks for writing to us. But every year we get letters like this with cheerleaders wanting to know what they can do in the last week before tryouts to learn a back handspring in a week or build their strength or learn a new skill in a week. Generally, it just can’t be done. You need to start training and getting ready for tryouts way earlier than the week before. Mainly, because you will be competing against people who have been working and training much longer. Hopefully, you have been working out and training for tryouts already.

Normally, I would be telling you about the strength training you could do to increase your vertical jump and what plyometric training you could do to improve your jumps and things like that, but it is too late for any of that. Literally, nothing you do this week is going to make you any stronger by next week that would show up in tryouts. You can’t get your jumps higher in four days.

So all I can do is tell you some strategies to maximize what you already have.

Strategy 1: Since you can’t go higher, you have to do your jumps faster, more quickly. Fortunately, control of this is as much mental as physical. By focused and intense mental concentration, you can do your jumps quicker. Force yourself to move faster and do the jump movement quicker. You can practice that in the next 4 days. Practice getting to the jump position – toe touch, herkie, etc. as fast as possible and then quickly get your feet back under you to land. Faster up to the jump position, faster feet down to the landing.

Strategy 2: For toe touches, modify your toe touch position to the most comfortable and easily reachable toe touch position possible. To figure out exactly what this position is, sit on the ground in a comfortable straddle position (preferably in front of a mirror). Notice that your legs are not straight to the side, but straddled in front of you. Now imagine yourself 4 feet up in the air in that position. Your legs are up even with your hips and are in a “straddle toe touch position” (actually a piked straddle) and this is exactly the position you should be jumping to in your toe touch. Most cheerleaders try to bring their legs up straight to the side, instead of forward, and this is so, so much harder to do well. By bringing your legs to the front, you can get them higher and more quickly and go to your “natural” straddle position. This is something you can and need to practice in the next 4 days.

Strategy 3: Bend and jump your jumps. Make sure when you do jumps, even in a routine that you bend your legs and then jump and don’t try to punch-jump which is much harder to do. You can practice this as well.

Strategy 4: When you make cheer the cheer squad (or even if you don’t), right after tryouts are over, start doing the strength training and conditioning and cheer skill practice, you could and should have been doing for all of the last year. You will either be a better cheerleader this year or you will be really ready for next year’s tryouts.

Good luck, let me know how you do and if there is anything else I can help with.

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11 Responses to “Cheer Jumps for Tryouts”

  1. destiny July 1, 2011 at 1:07 am #

    Ok my name is destiny and i am about to try out for cheerleading in about a month and i cant do high kicks my toe touches aren’t very adequate and i cant do a back walkover please help

    • Coach John Howard July 14, 2011 at 3:42 am #

      For back walkovers, check out what we have already written about them:
      High kicks are all about having good leg flexibility. Spending time in splits and doing oversplits with your front foot up on a mat are what you need to do here. Partner stretching though is the fastest way to get flexible in a short period of time before tryouts.

      • Savannah August 7, 2015 at 1:21 am #

        How long do you think it would take to improve your jumps. I want to do cheerleading but cant do any of the jumps. I cant even tumble but i want to know how to as well. I want to join the junior division at the highschool im going to. Any tips on how to improve my jumps and maybe even tumbling, if you could?

  2. claire October 15, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    im 18 i would like 2 try out on any team

  3. Coach McQueen November 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm #

    Higher Jumps and Safer Cheerleading Stunts
    Jumping higher than the competition is an advantage in cheerleading. Cheerleaders must work to build strong legs which are needed for higher jumps and better stunts.

    Not only will good leg strength help you jump higher, but it will also give you a sturdier base for lifts. You can easily exercise your legs by doing squats, squat jumps, lunges, and many other strength building exercises. This is one of the primary purposes of the Kinetic Bands. By strengthening your legs and core muscles, you will improve your balance, endurance, and stunting abilities which can reduce the risk of injury to you and your squad.

    Training the legs, hip flexors and gluteal through resistance with the Kinetic Bands provides several additional benefits. For instance, you will feel immediate results while performing your normal cheerleading exercises with Kinetic Bands. They can also help you develop the skills to jump higher and improve your tumbling, which will give you confidence and well deserved attention from your coaches, teammates and fans.

    Whether you perform on a recreation team, a high school or college team, or even on a high performance all-star team, you can benefit from resistance training with Kinetic Bands.

  4. increae your vertical jump December 28, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    It is in point of fact a nice and useful piece of info. I’m satisfied that you simply shared this useful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Taybug February 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    Hey I’m trying out for cheer in about four months and my jumps aren’t
    Very high and I really need help, my dances and cheers
    Are perfect I just need help with my jumps please please

  6. Lauren August 1, 2013 at 11:11 pm #

    hi I would like to try out for cheer for my high school and try outs are in April of 2014 and I am taking tumbling classes right now and just started. I feel very discouraged and I can’t even really land my cartwheel please help if you still come on this website! 🙂 any tips and advice are useful!

    • Coach John Howard September 20, 2013 at 11:48 am #

      My first recommendation for all cheerleaders is to get strong and flexible. The fastest, most efficient and most easily trackable method of getting strong is to lift weights. If your school does not have a weight room that you can use, there are health clubs, some of which have memberships for as little as $10.00 a month. Weight training can also help prevent possible ligament and tendon injuries.

      You need to increase your leg (splits) and shoulder flexibility. This is something you can do at home daily. Use both active and passive stretching (eg., passive = sitting in splits. Active = leg kicks, with or without ankle weights). My second recommendation you have already done and that is to sign up to train with professional coaches to learn to tumble.

      You can practice jumps at home as well, although training at a cheer gym with professional coaching will help. Using trampolines to train jumps can help you learn them correctly and train them more efficiently.

      Last, but not least – educate yourself as much about cheerleading as you can. Knowledge is power and knowledge may be the difference between who makes the cheer squad or not.

      Good luck.

  7. TaTa January 25, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    My cheer try-out are in March. I made it last year, but i’m scared, all because of my jumps. They come off the ground just not as high as I want them. I have courage and I know I can get them higher I just need to know how. Plus, my legs bends, so if you have anything that can help me with that.

  8. Zia March 13, 2015 at 5:52 pm #

    I’ve never cheered other than just tumbling and I really want tryout.

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