Why Do You Want to Be a Cheerleader?

Do you have what it takes?

Yokota High School Cheerleaders - Yokota Air Base, Japan

Master Sgt. Val Gempis//U.S. Air Force

Whether you're in high school, college, or you're eyeing the pros, there are several reasons why the idea of becoming a cheerleader might be attractive. Maybe you think the position comes with instant popularity, or you might be under the impression that your access to football players or other athletes will ensure that you have plenty of dates. Or you might just think that you'll look terrific in a short skirt. Whatever your reasons, don't be misled by the stereotypes. Plain and simple—cheerleading is hard work.

Cheerleading comes with many responsibilities, and you probably shouldn't waste your time trying out if you're not ready to make the commitment. Here are a few things that come hand-in-hand with being a cheerleader that you might want to consider. 

There's a Significant Time Commitment

Cheerleading is so much more than just heading out to the field or the court for a few hours on game day. As a cheerleader, you can plan on spending many hours practicing. Add in the hours you'll need for fundraising, pep rallies, competitions, and performances, and it's easy to see that this sport can be very time-consuming. In fact, you may not be able to commit to it and hold down a part-time job, too, if you're working your way through school. 

Cheerleading Costs Money 

Uniforms, shoes, accessories, camps, and clinics all cost money—sometimes a lot of it. Some costs may be offset by fundraisers, but chances are you'll be asked to invest and contribute to part of these costs, so be prepared to come out of pocket at least a little.

You'll Be a Role Model 

Cheerleaders are looked up to by their peers, but also by young children who aspire to someday be in those cheerleaders' shoes. It's particularly common for younger children to put you up on a pedestal, and you can't take this for granted. You'll be expected to maintain good grades and set a good example for the rest of the student body. If you can't live up to these expectations or don't like the scrutiny that you'll be under because of your position, then you should definitely reconsider your decision to try out.

Cheerleading Requires a Strong Work Ethic

Cheerleading is as much a mental challenge as it is physical. It won't just place many demands on your body. It will challenge your way of thinking, too. You'll become part of a group that will strive to think and act as one. You'll learn to think about the team first and base your decisions on what's best for everyone. Your squad will become your second family. Although you may disagree with them sometimes, there will be times when you'll have to compromise.

Cheerleading is more than yelling on the sidelines and shaking your pom-poms. It's a commitment, a dedication, and an attitude. It will change your life in many ways, but anyone that has ever been a cheerleader can attest to the fact that it's worth it.