The role of a team captain is first and foremost to be an inspiring leader. As a cheerleading captain, add in an extra dose of spirit! By incorporating these five habits into your daily life, you can not only become a better team captain, but you can also develop skills you need to be a successful leader throughout life, beyond your days as a cheerleader.

  1. Comfortably self-discipline. It's one thing to learn how to stay disciplined; it's another to be comfortable with it. As a leader, you can't discipline others if you don't discipline yourself on a regular basis. An easy way to work discipline into your everyday life is to create schedule and stick to it. What are some things you should be doing every day but don't? Schedule 15 minutes of stretching in the morning before school and do it Monday through Friday. If you miss a day, you don't have to punish yourself, but you shouldn't overlook it. If you miss a day, make yourself add those missed 15 minutes onto the next day's 15 minutes and stretch for half an hour.

  2. Radiate positivity. I can't stress it enough. Cheerleading captains must, must, must be the epitome of positive energy and spirit. Not only are you a cheerleader, but you're the leader of the squad. You were chosen because you went above and beyond; the coach looks at you as an example that your teammates should look up to aspire to be like. It is crucial that you maintain a positive spirit every day. This doesn't mean you can't feel upset about downfalls and disappointments; it just means you can't let them get to you. Find ways to learn from them and you'll view them more as lessons than mistakes.

  3. Be responsible for successes and mistakes. This may be most difficult for new leaders. As a captain, you, like the coach, take on a responsibility for the team. If the team succeeds, you succeed. If the team fails, you fail. As a leader, there's no such thing as "I wasn't the one who messed up." As a captain, any mistake is also your mistake. By mistake, we don't mean something deserving punishment; we mean that something happened that can be fixed, worked on, and improved so it doesn't happen again.

  4. Don't be a director. As a captain, you are in charge of leading and inspiring your team. This doesn't mean directing your teammates and telling them what to do. It will only cause animosity and your teammates will stop respecting and listening to you. On a regular basis, analyze the way you lead your team. Do you tell them what to do or do you ask them to do something? Asking something allows your teammates to maintain a level of control; telling them something just makes them feel like children.

  5. Find reasons to celebrate. A competition win or game success shouldn't be the only reasons to celebrate. Find victories in all things your team does. Did you have a great fundraiser? Did your teammates get good grades? Did someone learn a difficult new stunt? As a leader, find ways to congratulate your team and celebrate. It will make cheerleading much more fun. It can also serve as a reminder that cheerleading isn't just a sport; it's a lifestyle.

Can you think of any other habits that can make cheer captains better leaders?