At some point in your cheer career, you’ll likely encounter a bossy teammate. Usually, the bossy teammate is the person who thinks she’s the coach. She doles out criticism and lets everyone know what he or she is doing incorrectly. Even worse, she usually thinks she’s the only one who is right. It’s not fun, to say the least, cheering alongside a bossy teammate. Cheerleading is supposed to be fun! You want to cheer alongside friends, not enemies or cheerzillas. While you can’t get her off the team (and you don’t want to stoop to her level), you can learn how to deal with a bossy teammate. Put yourself in her shoes. The first thing you should do is try to understand why she is being bossy. Many times, bossiness stems from insecurity. Maybe she doesn’t feel needed by the team or doesn’t think her skills measure up to those of the squad. Perhaps she’s struggling and, in order to compensate, she pretends that she knows what she’s doing. Another potential reason is that she doesn’t feel in control of her life. She might be stressed out from balancing school and cheer. Maybe her parents are harping on her to improve her grades. While none of these are excuses, understanding where her bossiness may come from will help you from getting frustrated. If you really want to be a great teammate, talk with her in private. Ask her if everything is all right and let her know that you’re there for her if she needs any help. You may just end up befriending her! Talk with the coach. If you’re struggling dealing with a bossy teammate, speak with your coach. You may be surprised to learn that your coach didn’t realize what she was doing or how it was affecting the rest of the squad. For this kind of situation, you’re better off leaving it to the coach to deal with as opposed to yourself. Some coaches will set in place a rule that only the coach or captain can give constructive criticism. Or, the coach may remind the team that she won’t tolerate bullying. The coach is responsible for making sure the entire squad is comfortable. Don’t be afraid to tell her about squad conflict. It doesn’t make you a tattletale; it makes you a problem solver. Politely ignore. It’s an old rule but it works. Sometimes the best thing you can do is ignore the person. Sometimes a bossy teammate just wants attention. If you don’t give it to her, she may stop. If you do ignore her, be polite about it. The last thing you want to do is cause drama. If the bossy teammate starts criticizing one of your stunts or jumps, simply respond “thanks” or “okay.” Then, continue on your way. If she keeps harping on you, walk away or let her know that you’ll talk to the coach for help. If the bossy teammate realizes she can’t get a rise out of you, she may stop picking on you. Have you ever dealt with a bossy teammate? What is your advice?