Making the cheerleading squad is a proud accomplishment, but becoming the cheer captain is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead. Much more is expected of you once you are chosen to be the cheer captain. Every move you make is going to be watched and talked about, so you must embody certain characteristics and qualities that make you an effective leader and good role model.
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As a cheer captain, you lead your squad to learn and perform cheers. To be an effective leader, you must instruct others without seeming bossy or rude. You also must be a strong decision-maker because you are in charge of choosing cheers and deciding where your squad is going in the future. As cheer captain, you also are responsible for keeping the peace between your fellow cheerleaders. Be careful not to show favoritism. You absolutely cannot gossip about other students, especially those on your squad.
A cheer captain needs to display a positive attitude, which means that you look for the good in any situation and encourage your fellow cheerleaders to do the same. You should keep a smile on your face and find nice words to say to those around you. Another important part of having a positive attitude is to build up your fellow cheerleaders by constantly encouraging them. When giving constructive criticism, make sure you start by saying something positive.
Rude and inappropriate language is unbecoming of a cheer captain. Speak to your teachers and coach in a respectful way and present yourself in a respectful manner by wearing clothing that adheres to the dress code guidelines of your school. Look for ways to help others inside and outside of your team.
Cheerleaders are responsible for getting the rest of the school excited about the upcoming games and building support for the sports teams. As cheer captain, your job is to build that school spirit in your fellow cheerleaders so they are able to pass it along to others. Consider starting each practice with your school fight song or cheer to get everyone in the mood to work hard for the school. Encourage the cheerleaders to wear their uniform or school colors on game days and ask the other students to as well. Always be on the lookout for ways to build pride in your school, whether you are on campus or off.
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When I was a cheerleader in high school, I desperately wanted to be the captain.
At that time, we had to write essays and have an interview with the principal … and I remember that I took an unconventional approach.
I didn’t wanna lie and say all of the flowery things I knew they wanted to hear. I could do that, but what’s the point of it, really?
Why not just tell them what I’m really thinking?
You wanna know what I said?
I said that I wanted to be captain because I wanted to be in charge.
Yep. I said that.
I can laugh it off now. And looking back I realize how big of a mistake it was and why that’s not what leadership is.
But the truth is, there are a lot of cheerleaders out there who see being captain as being in charge and that’s all. They get to be the boss.
And sure, that’s a teeny, tiny part of it that manifests mostly on the sidelines … but it’s definitely NOT the whole enchilada (as we say here in the great state of Texas).
So I wanted to jot down a few notes about what I think a good captain isn’t and what a good captain is to share with you.
Because I want to make sure your squad is in the most capable leadership hands so you can actually utilize your leaders instead of working against them.
What They’re Not:
- The boss
- Your best friend
- The best cheerleader (necessarily)
- The most popular (usually)
- The loudest
What They Are:
- A true leader
- Not afraid to stand up
- Not afraid to go against the grain
- Wants to serve
- Wants to learn
- Wants and does well with responsibility
- Respectable and respected
- Keeps confidences
- Cares about her teammates
To me the best leaders are always the ones that care and desire to serve. That’s what makes you a good leader.
That’s what changes lives.
So let’s teach our captains to be more than bosses … to be true leaders.