As Team Captain of a cheerleading squad, you have more responsibility than leading cheers. One of the things that you will have to manage is keeping your team motivated to achieve their personal, and team, fitness goals. A cheerleading season and training schedule typically includes year-round activities, which can take a toll on the athletes. Cheerleading is an intense, highly physical sport and the athletes need not only strength, but also endurance. Here are some tips for cheer Team Captains to help them motivate individual team members to stay focused on their fitness training, and rally the entire team out of any seasonal slumps: Encouragement It seems obvious that a Team Captain should encourage their cheer squad, but how it is done is just as important. A Team Captain should adapt their methods to accommodate the strengths of the team, as well as the strengths of individuals. Remind everyone of the season’s goals, and keep them focused on their achievements, and possible achievements, instead of failures or shortcomings. Body Language Body language communicates an attitude to the people around you. Wearing a scowl, crossing your arms in from of your chest, shaking your head and standing with your hands on your hips are examples of stances in cheerleading that can be interpreted as negative body language. A Team Captain should be mindful of their body language and work to convey positive energy and thinking, which is much more likely to encourage team spirit and result in positive outcomes. Communication Communication is key in any leadership role, and positive communication can help a Team Captain keep their squad members on the right fitness track. Keep open lines about what you expect from each member, and be sure to give direction where it is needed. Not only will this create a harmonious atmosphere, it will also remind your team that they are a team, and that they aren’t alone. Their Captain and their fellow cheerleaders might be having the same struggles and they need to know that they can talk to their team about those issues. When cheerleaders are working together in an environment that requires them to constantly push their limits, there are certainly going to be some frustrations and tensions. Good communication will help make sure that issues get resolved immediately. Recognition Use some of the team budget, do a fundraising campaign or get donations for an end-of season drawing. Let your squad know that each person that meets a specific goal will be entered into a drawing at the end of the season. If you can’t do prizes, create unique and fun awards or certificates and hand them out in a ceremony at the end of the season. Recognition is one of the most effective – and rewarding! – forms of motivation. You don’t have to wait until the end of the season for small motivational recognition! At the end of each practice or conditioning session, gather your squad in a group and acknowledge the people that did an outstanding job that day.