This is it! Your hard work has paid off, and now you’re heading off to your first cheer competition. Congratulations! But before you start imagining you and your team hoisting that trophy, here’s a quick rundown of the most important things to keep in mind:

What to Bring

  1. Your uniform, of course. It’s wise to bring a backup uniform just in case.
  2. Hair stuff. Bows, sprays, bands, and whatever else you’ll need to keep your hair tamed for the event.
  3. Gear. Poms, banners, signs, horns, megaphones, and any other gadgets you’re using.
  4. Makeup. Glitter works well for competitions, just make sure you use a good brand that won’t run.
  5. Footwear. Cheer shoes and socks – definitely bring extra socks.
  6. Munchies. High energy snacks like dried fruit or nuts are best, granola or power bars are good too. And bottled water.
  7. Phone and charger. Not to check FB, but to keep in touch with your team.

What to Expect

Expect to be confused and disoriented at first. Don’t worry, it will pass. As long as you know where you need to be, and get there, the rest will sort itself out.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you need a clarification on anything – rules, times, locations, whatever – make sure you ask someone who knows!

Know where your transportation is. Whether you’re taking the bus, catching a ride with a friend or parent, or calling an Uber, make sure you and your team all know the travel itinerary.

What Judges Want 

The judges are looking for one thing: poise. Be respectful, be courteous, and be professional. Show good sportsmanship by congratulating other teams for awesome routines. Remember, you’re representing your whole team/school/city, etc. 

But also, have fun! Let that smile out! An earnest smile is worth at least a point or two to any judge. 

Most important of all, whether you win or lose, know that you’re better than you were before you walked in.