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1 the cheerleading guide to being being a a cheer captain parent

2 table of contents You were selected because you represent a cheerleading role model; as a captain, you have a lot more responsibility than just knowing your routine and stunts. A champion is much, much more than a game winner or highest competition scorer. In fact, being a true champion doesn t even have to mean winning the gold. To be a leader, you must be able to motivate your team to achieve their goals by finding the balance between being honest and being critical. 13 What s the best way to learn how to be a great captain for your team? Follow by example! Get inspired with quotes from famous leaders that came before us, as well as today s cheer captains. 2

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4 leadership skills Whether your team voted for you or the coach selected you, becoming captain of your cheer squad is a big deal. You were selected because you represent a cheerleading role model; as a captain, you have a lot more responsibility than just knowing your routine and stunts. You re there to lead your fellow teammates by example; to help your coach; and to always be the motivator, the inspiration, and the spirit-booster.

5 prove yourself passion This is a must-have. You have to be passionate about cheerleading in order to succeed as a captain. As a cheerleader, you already dedicated endless numbers of hours to cheer. As a captain, you ll spend even more time doing and thinking about cheer, after and before practice, with the coach, and at home. organization Every leader needs to be organized. You should always have practice, game, and competition schedules memorized or on hand. Keep a daily planner with you (or download a planner app on your phone) and update it often. If a holiday is approaching, make sure you know if the coach plans on still holding practice. If any payments or paperwork is due soon, remind your teammates. As a captain, the coach is expecting you to help her with her tasks and reminders. nail it In order to be a great captain for your squad, you should have these five key leadership skills. If you need help, ask a sibling, mentor or your coach how you can improve. 5

6 responsibility As a leader, you are ultimately responsible for your team. If your coach thinks the team is slacking, it is your responsibility to motivate them to pump it up and work harder. You can t point the finger and blame individual teammates; take the responsibility and show your coach that you can get your squad back in tip-top shape! communication A great captain is an honest communicator. Is the rigorous practice schedule taking a toll on the squad? Are a few teammates falling behind in school? Has the coach been harder than usual on the team? Many of your teammates will come to you for advice and solutions. You re one of them so they may feel more comfortable talking to you than the coach. While you might be intimidated yourself, it s ultimately up to you to speak with the coach and let her know the truth. Let her know if the practice schedule is too hectic or if some of the teammates are worried about grades. ability to inspire It s up to the captain to keep the team positive, upbeat, and spirited! Take a few moments to speak with your squad before or after practice or a game. Inspire them with motivational words of encouragement; let them know when they re doing a great job; congratulate them on achievements. This can greatly boost your team s morale and, in general, make practice a lot more fun. 6

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8 champion defined According to the dictionary, a champion is a person who has defeated or surpassed all rivals in a competition, especially in sports. Sorry dictionary, but we don t agree with that definition. A champion is much, much more than a game winner or highest competition scorer. In fact, being a true champion doesn t even have to be the gold winning medalist. In order to be a successful and inspiring captain (or even teammate!) of your cheer squad, you must understand what being a champion is really all about. 8

9 the power of interpretation Cutting straight to the chase, a champion is: an advocate, a supporter, a defender, a protector, a believer, and a cheerleader in every sense of the word. To be a great captain, you should be a champion someone who supports her team through thick and thin, believes they can overcome obstacles, and inspires spirit after a loss or difficult practice. A captain is, above all, a cheerleader for her squad! Stop thinking of a champion as a winner. By doing that, the game or competition just becomes a stressful job rather than a fun and rewarding experience. You re supposed to enjoy your sport, not see it as a hurdle to jump. Athletes that are only focused on winning usually burn out the quickest. They forget why they enjoyed the sport in the first place. They get stressed and snap at teammates when they make a mistake. And that s when a team stops being a team. A true team is made up of individual champions who support one another and genuinely enjoy what they do, win or not. This is especially important for cheer squads that don t compete. Sometimes they may feel like they don t have an opportunity to shine and show what they ve got. As a champion captain, remind your squad that cheering on the sidelines and performing at pep rallies is your time to shine! Getting the crowd spirited and excited for the game is your goal! So, captains, be a champion for your squad and inspire them to be champions themselves and for each other. Your squad will have a stronger bond, which will set you up for a great cheer year! start right Before the season gets in full swing, do a team-building activity where you have your squad tell you what champion means to them. It will help you get a grasp of how far the word can reach! 9

10 stop bullying There s dealing with bullies and then there s the issue of not becoming one when you re the captain and must lead your cheer squad. You must balance your new power and learn how to achieve your goals without bringing the spirit of your team down. 10

11 great responsibility To be a leader, you must be able to motivate your team to achieve their goals. When those goals aren t met or you experience a loss or mistake, you, as a captain, should be honest and open about improving skills, but not be negative and critical. Everyone is disappointed about a loss or mistake; you don t need to remind them. Instead, focus on how those mistakes can be prevented next time and what should be improved. As a captain, your attitude is a reflection of the entire squad! That means if they re not acting spirited or positive, you probably haven t been acting that way either. It can be hard to stay cheerful after a long day of practice or a bad performance but it s up to you to keep your head up and inspire your squad to do the same. Think of goals other than winning that you may have accomplished, like teamwork or supporting one another. The biggest differences between a leader and a bully are respect and fairness. A leader respects her teammates and doesn t treat them as if they were beneath her. A bully assumes that being a leader means ultimate rule and often time abuses her power. A leader, on the other hand, provides teammates with feedback instead of criticism, support instead of embarrassment, and tough love instead of cruelty. stay positive Talk with your coach about individual goals certain teammates can reach for, like higher jumps or louder cheers. This way, in the event of a loss, your team can still find the positives. There is a big difference between constructive criticism and bullying. Don t think that the only way you can avoid being a bully is to never critique a team member. While it can be difficult to give (especially to a friend), constructive criticism is a necessity. It helps one improve skills and understand what needs improvement. If you re nervous about doling out criticism, balance it with a few honest compliments. Mention something that she is doing well or visibly improving on. By adding in positives, constructive criticism will come across more as helpful and less well, critical. Remember, you may have to speak with some team members differently from others. Some girls take criticism well, while others don t. As you continue leading, you ll learn the differences between your teammates and know how to handle them individually when needed. 11

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13 get inspired Famous leaders and current cheer captains give us inspiring examples to follow and hopeful advice to consider.

14 leaders before us team idea Why not create your own vault of quotes and advice? Record funny or inspiring quotes throughout the year, and also have each squad member submit advice to pass along to next year s squad! 14

15 today s captains advice from the pros We asked our fans and readers what their cheer captains say. Here s what they had to say! 15

16 about us Omni Cheer Omni Cheer has been serving cheerleaders with custom designs and original campwear for over 30 years! Let Omni Cheer help your squad set the standard as your high-quality, value-priced cheer destination from modern to classic looks, find huge selection of cheerleading apparel and supplies that are in-stock and ready to ship! Campus Teamwear Providing squads with high quality cheerleading uniforms for more than 20 years! Campus Teamwear understands that style is a huge component of competing effectively. Our selection of contemporary cheerleading uniforms and gear - in the latest trendsgives squads the competitive edge in looking great. Chassé The official cheerleading blog sponsored by industry leaders Omni Cheer, Campus Teamwear, Chassé, Warmups.com, Fun d 2Raise, and Glitterbug Cosmetics. The University launched in 2012 and provides tips and answers for everything cheer including tryouts, uniform ordering, fundraising, living a cheer lifestyle and more! Chassé is a leader and innovator in the world of cheerleading apparel and accessories, providing affordable and high-performance cheerleading apparel to cheerleaders of all ages. Cheerleading is not just a sport - it s a lifestyle! Live it with Chassé! Warmups.com Being a part of a team is about what you do on AND off the field as an athlete. Warmups.com provides soccer, volleyball, basketball, cheerleading and softball programs with a value-driven option for creating their team s winning look. Glitterbug Cosmetics Get the look of performance! Glitterbug is a cosmetics company specializing in glitter products for face and body. We also offer pre-glittered stars and adhesive jewel stones allowing cheerleaders and dancers to create one-of-a-kind styles that really sparkle. Fun D 2Raise The FUN in fundraising! For the last 5 years, we have helped thousands of school, teams, and non-profit organizations raise millions of dollars. Make fundraising fun with our scratch off donation cards - a quick and easy way to raise money for your organization!

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