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You don't necessarily need years and years of cheerleading experience to become an NFL cheerleader, but plan to put in hours to prepare for an audition for a coveted spot. Professional football cheerleaders are watched by fans across the country and broadcast on live television. The competition is fierce, so do all you can to be ready.
Attend Cheerleader Workshops
Get ahead of the competition by attending a cheerleader workshop hosted by an NFL team. For example, the Kansas City Chiefs host four cheerleader workshops and three dance workshops every year. These are taught by professional cheerleaders who give important tips for preparing for auditions. The Minnesota Vikings hold five prep classes to help you increase your flexibility, learn high kicks and perfect dance techniques. The Vikings also hold beauty and business workshops that offer interview tips and football quizzes.
You'll need to meet a few prerequisites in order to be an NFL cheerleader, such as being over 18 and a high school graduate or having a GED. The Atlanta Falcons require that you either be a college student or have a full-time or part-time job, which can include being a mother. Most teams require that you fill out an application online before an audition and, in some cases, attend a preparation workshop. The Kansas City Chiefs, for example, require candidates to attend a clinic to sign release forms, get headshots and learn dances that will be required at the audition. Other teams, like the Atlanta Falcons, actually require that you attend two auditions. You must succeed in a preliminary audition before you can be moved up to the private audition.
Prepare for the Audition
Study and practice before the big day, Sasha Agent, a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, suggests in a blog for Cheertime 101. Know your team's history, current football facts and background information on the cheerleader's director. Study videos of team cheerleaders to familiarize yourself with the dance style and teamwork approach. Eat well-balanced meals and do workouts that focus on increasing your stamina and building your abdominal muscles.
Watch What You Wear
Some teams don't care too much about what you wear to the tryouts, says Alto Gary, cheer coach for the Houston Texans, in an article published for Culture Map Houston. As long as the color complements your skin tone, that's all that really matters. However, make sure that everything fits and is tied tight. You don't want a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of tryouts. Some teams have more stringent requirements, though. The Atlanta Falcons require that you wear a two-piece leotard, skin-tone tights and tennis shoes to the auditions, although color is up to you. Other teams, like the Minnesota Vikings, recommend that you tan for the audition. The Vikings offer workshops for hair and makeup ideas.
Don't get in line behind or in front of someone who looks a lot like you, Gary suggests. It can be easy for judges to get people mixed up or unfairly compare two people who look alike. So if you have blonde hair, for example, avoid standing in line next to another blonde. Also, make a point to be nice and cheerful to everyone while you're waiting in line and while you're auditioning. He says that some people have been cut before they even make it to the tryout because of their attitude or actions.
- Houston Texans: 2013 Houston Texans Cheerleaders Tryouts begin
- Culture Map Houston: What It Really Takes to Become an NFL Cheerleader
- KC Chiefs: 2014 Chiefs Cheerleader Auditions
- Atlanta Falcons: 2014 Cheerleader Auditions
- Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders Auditions: Audition Prep Classes & Workshops
- Cheertime 101: NFL Cheerleader Auditions: What Are They Looking For? The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders
With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.