The essence of cheerleading is embodied by the ideas of spirit and leadership. Many times, one person or multiple people are elected or appointed to take on the responsibility of a captain and assist the coach in leading the squad. The responsibilities of a captain can be wide-ranging, but there is a core list of responsibilities/roles that should be embraced by all graced with the title of a team captain.
- Role Model – Lead your team first by example. The best leaders show their teammates what is expected of them by doing it themselves. Avoid asking things of your team that you yourself are not willing to do. What you do, your attitude, and how you complete tasks will set a standard for your team, so be conscious of your decisions and actions.
- Motivator – Be a motivating force during practice, competition, games, and any other applicable situations. Assist your coach in keeping the team on task and motivated to accomplish team goals. Many times, captains become aware of issues with squad members far before the coach. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to lend a word of encouragement to fellow team members, and encourage them to speak with your coach or advisor, if necessary. Additionally, your work ethic should set a standard. You should challenge your teammates to out-work you. If everyone is constantly competing to be the hardest worker, you will have one super-efficient team!
- Ms. or Mr. Dependable – It is very important that your coach and your teammates know that they can count on you. Don’t promise or agree to things that you cannot deliver on; your credibility is everything. It is important to get things done that are asked of you without having to be reminded. Remember, you are setting the tone for your squad. If your coach has to ask you multiple times to do something, what message will that send to your teammates? Additionally, your team and coach should have no doubt in their minds that you will be present and be on time. This is a big aspect of being dependable.
- Ms. or Mr. Responsibility – Being responsible isn’t always the most fun option, but it is a definite part of the role of captain. It is your job to keep the team in line. You should be the front line of defense. Before the coach has to jump in, you should remind your team of expected behavior. Be sure not to overstep your authority. There is a fine line to walk, so discuss with your coach exactly how she would like situations such as this to be handled.
Keeping up positive energy, even during trying times, is very important and will help you in your journey as a captain. Being a member of the squad gives you an inside track to the minds of your teammates. Utilize this knowledge to help in creating team bonding activities, which will help with overall cooperation and squad relations throughout the season. Ask your coach to give you a clear outline of what she would like you to accomplish as a captain. Don’t be afraid to delegate responsibility or ask for help. Being a captain does not mean you are all-powerful or all-knowing, so be sure to effectively utilize the talents and strengths of your teammates.