Perhaps you are new to cheerleading. Or perhaps you are just trying to decide whether cheerleading is the thing for you. It is time, then, to ask the core question: “What do cheerleaders actually do”? You already know they yell cheers, shake pom poms, do cartwheels and cool dance moves in front of a large crowd at a sports game. But wait, there’s more! Actually, there is much more to cheerleading than what is conventionally assumed.

There are four basic activities, experienced by most every cheerleader. These also take up the majority of the cheerleader’s time. The acronym T.P.F.G. simply stands for:

1. Tryouts

It takes a certain amount of skill, talent and fitness to become part of a cheerleading team. But it also takes a particular set of character traits to become a valuable member of the squad. Coaches and team captains are usually very good at spotting these qualities during tryouts. There are definitely many great ideas on how to perform well at tryouts, but the most important thing is: be yourself. Remember, you may fake it during the five minute tryout, but you probably won’t be able to continue doing so for the rest of your cheerleading career. If you’re not yourself, you’re only setting yourself and others up for a disappointment.

2. Practice

“Hard in training – easy in battle” is the motto of most athletes–cheerleaders included. If you join any squad, you can bet on one thing: you will spend a lot of your time in sweat pants or shorts practicing your drills, over and over and over. The physical training will develop stamina so that you don’t lose energy during a game or competition. And the repetition is critical so that you have confidence in what you’re doing.

3. Fundraising

Almost all squads have to commit certain amount of time to team fundraising. As a team, you will try to make enough money to cover the expenses linked to uniforms, equipment or travel. Yet keep in mind that successful fundraising is built on the positive PR of the squad. That means that you are laying the path for success every time you interact with the local community.

4. Show

Last, and also least – at least when it comes to the actual hour count – your time will be spent at games and competitions. This is the time to shine. All the hours of preparations you have spent lead up to this “make it or break it” moment. Shine or not, you are in it as a team!