Being a Cheerleader – Leadership for Today’s Athletes

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As a cheerleader or dancer, the word “leadership” takes on a whole new meaning. On the sidelines, in the classroom and in the community, leadership is a vital component of your role. As an athlete in the public eye, you must represent your school to the best of your ability.

In the words of Dr. Jamie Williams, former San Francisco 49er,

“Leadership is like gravity. You know it’s there, you know it exists, but how do you define it?”

How you define yourself, especially in the role as a leader, is not something to take lightly.

At first, it may seem like the responsibility to lead the team falls only on the captains. But, in reality, everyone has the chance to be a role model. In fact, the best leaders aren’t always the most talented or successful cheerleaders/dancers. Rather, the best leaders facilitate the success of others. Work hard, stay positive, and encourage other teammates to do the same. By promoting an environment where every team member can achieve his or her goals, you, too, will rise as a leader.

The same principles apply outside of practice. Even when you’re not in uniform, consider how your actions reflect on your team. Throughout the day, ask yourself: “How will this decision/behavior reflect on the team? Will it promote success or stress?” As an ambassador for your school, every decision counts.

Sometimes it helps to think about the cheerleaders you may have idolized as a child. Many of us thought of cheerleaders as superstars – people we could aspire to be. Keep in mind the young girls that may feel the same way about you, and respect your role with dignity and class.

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