My name is Jimmy Redus and I started my cheerleading career back in 1988. I had dreams of being the first male cheerleader at my school, and after attending a week long tryout clinic, (which personally, felt like I was back at wrestling camp), I had those dreams crushed only to find out I did not make the cut. Where most people would have given up, I got inspired to get better. I went on to cheer for Mississippi State University from 1990-1994, where I was blessed to cheer in some of the largest college stadiums in the southeast. During my summers I would travel around the country teaching summer camps for the National Cheerleader’s Association (NCA) to both high school and college aged kids. It was in 1994 where I got my first job as a college cheerleading coach at Mississippi State University. After completing my masters, I ended up in Macon, Georgia selling cheerleading uniforms for Cheerleader & Dance Team (now Varsity) and coaching Mercer University. In 1997, I started Middle Georgia’s first cheerleading training called MGA Cheer Extreme, which now has a second location in Albany, Georgia. In 2008, I got a call from Georgia College and State University asking if I would come coach their cheer team and after 5 years at GCSU, I decided to step down to focus on my gym as well as raising my two sons (ages 3 and 6).
I know, so what? Well with well over 20 years of coaching, I have noticed that there are 5 key personality traits that will tell you if you are cut out to be a cheerleader!
- Out Going Personality-Because cheerleaders are the ambassadors of most schools and universities; cheerleaders must be very outgoing people. It is this ability to never meet a stranger that most schools look for in their cheerleaders, and why some schools require interviews during tryouts.
- Attention Seekers- You will know when you have a group of cheerleaders together! How do you ask? Well cheerleaders never like to waste a crowd. This means you might see them do a flip in a store, toss up a stunt in a movie theater, mall, or amusement park, or simply being loud and obnoxious.
- Confident- Have you ever had to stand in front of judges and have them judge you? Well, if not, it takes a lot of confidence. Along with going through the tryouts, cheerleaders must stand in front of crowds and are expected to entertain them even when their precious team is losing.
- Positive- Have you ever noticed when your football or basketball team is losing how ½ the crowd leaves a little early? Well not the cheerleaders! While we might have thoughts like “this sucks”, “are we ever going to win” or “I want to go home….” the cheerleaders are expected to stay. We are expected to be positive and lift the spirits of our fans, and more importantly, the team as they walk off the field after a tough loss.
- Leader- Does your child (or you) like to boss people around? If the answer is yes, they are starting to show leadership qualities. If your child is a strong leader, this is a great sign that they would make a great game day cheerleader because they will be expected to lead crowds and get them on their feet on game days and other events.
Don’t worry if your child does not possess these traits! I have seen cheerleading take the wall flower child, who lacks confidence, and will not speak in public; and turn them into a confident, attention seeking, positive leader. If your child does not make the team their first year, encourage them not to give up because there are plenty of cheerleading training centers that would love to have them on their team to help develop those positive character traits. After all I did not make my school cheer team.