Changes of any kind can be difficult to handle. From breaking in a new pair of cheer shoes to being put in a new stunt group, adjusting to change takes time and effort. One bigger type of change you will face multiple times in your cheer career is adjusting to a new captain. Like anything new, working with a new captain might be challenging at first, but eventually it will feel like something you've been doing all along. Here are three tips to help you through the adjustment phase:

  1. Communicate. You probably have a lot of questions for your new captain. Ask them! Your coach and captain will likely  schedule a team meeting, so a lot of your questions about the season will be covered at that event. Use the meeting as a chance to ask any additional questions that your new captain doesn't address. If you prefer to talk privately, grab your new captain in a free moment or, if you need more time to talk, ask if you can schedule a meeting. Don't be afraid to keep asking questions as they arise throughout the season! Captains are there to help their squad, so if you come to them they will be eager to help. If you find they aren't as approachable as you'd like, let your coach know you are having trouble working with the new captain. Then your coach can address your questions and concerns and hopefully smooth out the communication issues with the new captain.

  2. Respect. Treat your captain well. She or he is, after all, second in command to your coach. This means that even if you don't agree with everything, you need to acknowledge your position on the team and recognize that there may be a bigger picture you don't yet understand. Voicing your opinion respectfully is always acceptable, but don't resort to saying negative things behind your captain's back. Not only is this an unacceptable way to treat a team leader, but it's also not how you should be treating any teammate.

  3. Keep an open mind. Maybe you wanted to be the captain, or maybe the person you wanted to be captain didn't get it. It's easy to get discouraged or disappointed when your expectations aren't met, but you never know what the season has in store for you. The truth is, any experience is what you make it. Make the best of your situation. Maybe your best friend didn't get to be captain, but you're still on a cheer squad with your best friend! Shift your perspective and focus on the positive"”and give your new captain a chance. He or she may turn out to be an amazing captain"”especially if you help and work with her/him as much as you can. It takes a whole squad to have a great season!

What advice do you have for adjusting to a new captain?