Part of being a good sportand not just a good athleteis being a good teammate. That's probably pretty easy for you most of the time, but it's coming through for your teammates in the trying times that counts the most. Here are five ways to help a teammate in difficult times: 

      1. Resist competitiveness. If you're used to being the star, it can be tough if a new team member outshines you. Pushing yourselves and each other to be the best is one thing, but resenting your teammates' successes and wanting to see them fail is another. There's no place for that on a good cheerleading team. If you feel hurt or disappointed when you aren't given a spot you wanted, let that disappointment push you to work harder. Don't let it affect your relationships on the team. Remind yourself you want what is best for the team and your teammates. Focus on being happy for your friend, not sad about yourself.

      2. Cheer them on. The easiest way to resist giving into resentful feelings is to sincerely want the best for your teammates. Encourage and support them!



      3. Be there. You're not a doctor or a therapist or an expert in every school subject, but you can just be there so she doesn't have to go through her problems alone. Of course, if her problem is something you can help with, do it, but sometimes just being there with a laugh or her favorite snack is everything she needs.



      4. Ask for help. If you have a friend dealing with a potentially harmful problem, like substance abuse or an eating disorder, you likely aren't equipped to handle that. Try to talk to your friend about your concerns and ask her if you can help her find someone to talk to about it. If an adult, like a coach, parent, teacher, or counselor, already knows about the issue, let them handle it. If no one knows and your friend isn't willing to deal with the issue, your action depends on the severity of the issue. If your friend's problem is dangerous and potentially life-threatening, talk to a trusted adult. It isn't an ideal situation, but a mad friend is better than a seriously hurt friend.

      5. Set the tone. Your friends and teammates deserve the best, right? So be the best! Think of what you want in a good teammate and emulate that. Be fun and encouraging and hard-working, but also be real and let your friends know when you're having a tough time with something. You can create a great team environment by being the best teammate you can be. That attitude will spread!

How have you helped a struggling teammate?

(GIFs via Tumblr.com)