A mid-season captain change is not something that most cheerleading squads would look forward to, but when the right team member is promoted to captain they should be able provide the team with the positivity to recognize the situation as an opportunity, and the confidence to move forward and achieve the season’s goals. If your team experiences a shake-up at anytime during the cheer season that requires a change in leadership and you become the new captain, one of your main goals should be to keep spirits on the squad high. Depending on the size of your team, and how it is organized, there are a couple scenarios that could happen: (1) you were already a co-captain or held a leadership position on the team, (2) you are completely new to a leadership role on the team. Here are some tips to help incoming captains balance their new role and pass along the mindset that change can bring fresh perspectives, creative ideas and breathe new life into the team. A meeting of the minds. As the incoming captain, make sure that you sit down with the coach to go over goals and responsibilities, and to establish a co-leader relationship. This shouldn’t be a one-time occurrence either – the coach and the captain should have regularly scheduled weekly or monthly meetings set up to keep communication lines open. Manage expectations. Have a clear understanding of what will be expected from you during the rest of the season, and what will be expected of the team. After you are selected, try making a list of personal things that you want to accomplish as captain. Come up with specific and realistic ways that you will help the team in your new role. Also, evaluate the current goals of the team and decide if they need to be revised for the remainder of the season. If you feel as though you might need help meeting the responsibilities of captain, talk to your coach about assigning an assistant or co-captain. Revisit team-building exercises. Trust needs to be fostered not only between team members, but also between team members and leaders. Put aside time for the first couple practices, or have a special practice, to revisit team-building exercises and reestablish the trust and confidence or the team’s relationships, which may have been shaken during the transition. Work as a leader, not as a boss. Yes, there is a difference. You have what it takes, but you need to keep your attitude in control to be able to properly control the team. By being a role model and a good example, you won’t have to demand respect, because you will have earned it. You can’t be a buddy in the same way that you were before you were captain – this means staying out of cliques and avoiding and stopping gossip. Follow the rules since it is your job to enforce them. Be on time and show up ready to work hard with a positive attitude. Have your own tips for our readers? Post in our comments!