Motiv-8 – Eight Ways to Motivate Your Team this Competition Season
Competition season can be difficult, mentally, physically and emotionally. Long practices, underlying school stress, and overall exhaustion can lead to a decrease the morale of both yourself and your teammates. As Captain, it is your responsibility to keep your team driven and positive in order to use your team’s talent and sisterhood to their fullest potentials. In order to help you get a head start, here are eight ways to “motiv-8” your team toward your collective goal this competition season.
Start Practice with a Game
Practices grow long and difficult as competition day approaches. By starting your team’s practices with a game, you can release some of the nerves and stress about the difficult tasks ahead while promoting a sense of teamwork and sisterhood.
The locker room is not only the first place your team goes before every practice, it can sometimes be the site for negativity. In order to boost your team’s morale, decorate your locker room (and even practice space) with motivational quotes. You can also use sayings or catchphrases that are special and unique to your team, and you can make this activity into a team bonding experience by getting together and asking each girl to make a poster.
A clap-out or cheer at the end of practice helps celebrate everything you have accomplished in practice as a team. If your team already has one, make sure you are always doing it your loudest and proudest!
Promote Healthy Eating Habits
Competition season is difficult, and overindulging on junk food can decrease an athlete’s ability to perform. Coffee and Red Bull may be “necessities,” but try to neglect their tempting calls, especially the week of your competition, in order to keep your body relying on natural sugars and protein. Aside from this, healthy eating keeps you from getting sick, and no one wants to go through a long competition day with a cold, or worse. Don’t forget to ALWAYS drink lots of water!
Cheer For Your Teammates During Practice
I have always noticed that when my director is on the floor yelling and cheering, it drives practice more. It takes a lot to run a competition routine once, never mind over and over again for however long your practice is. By cheering for your teammates during the routines, you give them the boost they need to keep going and finish the routine out strong. Yelling “hit” and “you got it!” can make that much of a difference in a run through, and even help motivate you personally.
Start a Countdown to Competition
In an open area where everyone can see (like a whiteboard or a calendar), start a countdown to competition. This will make competition day seem more “real” and increase your team’s excitement as the days quickly decrease!
Praise, don’t Punish
When you finish practicing a routine, start by praising your team with what they did well. Then, focus on the things that can be fixed. Do not stick to only pointing out the imperfections of your teammates. If someone absolutely nails a section of the routine, call them on it. Not only will it boost their morale, but it will prove that you can see past just the routine’s flaws.
Lead by Example
This goes without saying – your team will follow your lead. You have been chosen for your position because you are qualified for it. People look up to you and respect you because you have earned your title. However, people will also do what you do, for better or for worse. If you’re only giving eighty percent during practice, that makes it automatically okay for your teammates to do so as well. Your team is only as strong as your weakest link – do not bring your team down by never practicing like you’ll perform.
Now, put these steps into action to motivate your team, and spot the difference!
Good luck this competition season, and just one more thing – do not forget that heart is above the technical ability of a team. If your team can do things physically that no other team can but lacks a sisterhood bond, you will not be successful at competition. The teams that share their cohesive love for dance on the floor are the ones who will always win, in more ways than one.