The Balancing Act: Being a Great Captain and Teammate

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As we start our upcoming seasons it is always important to think about ways to grow as not only a dancer, but as a person. Some of you may have stepped into a new position as captain/co-captain, while others might be returning. Whether new or old, it is important to bridge the gap between teammate and captain. There are instances when a teammate becomes captain that they are so focused at being their best at it, that they forget what it was like to be a teammate. As a captain there is more authority, but that does not mean that the feeling of being one with your team should deteriorate.

Here are a few helpful hints to balancing out being a good captain AND a good teammate!

1. Manage Your Time Wisely

School by itself can be very time consuming. Between tests, homework, and other activities we can get lost in our own schedules. As a captain, you need to be prepared weeks in advance. You need to know what to wear on game days, what time competition practice is, and so on. Remember, as a teammate you wanted the captain to have important information ready by the beginning of the week. Nothing is worse than getting a text at midnight telling you what shoes you need for practice the next day!

Hint: Grab a planner from your local Office Supply store and fill out your important dates for school and dance team. Once those dates are in, put reminders for yourself to alert teammates about important information.

2. Have Good Communication

Communication is the key to having a successful team. Quality communication stems from the captain. Communication skills go beyond making sure everyone knows what to do and when, but how the team interacts with each other. As a teammate, it was nice when your captain paid attention to the attitude of the team. As a captain, it is important that you notice issues as soon as they arise. If you see your teammates not getting along, see if you can help them work through it. If not, tell your coach immediately. Nothing is worse than riffs between teammates. Be careful to not elevate yourself as a person who seems above the other teammates. These are your peers and attitude and demeanor during these conversations will go a long way.

Hint: Try to have weekly meetings with your coach to go over things that you noticed in practice. These meetings do not have to be long, most of the time a fifteen-minute powwow before practice gets the job done!

3. Foster New Relationships

One of the most important characteristics of a good captain is being personable and being able to reach out to new people. As a seasoned veteran to the team, you have had some amazing experiences. Whether it was winning a state title, or receiving an All American recognition at UDA camp, a lot of those experiences were amazing because of who you got to share them with. Always welcome new team members with open arms and an open heart. Make sure that other teammates are following your lead so everyone feels like an equal.

Hint: Try scheduling a team social once a month (twice during competition season). These events don’t have to be anything fancy, grabbing ice cream after practice would be just fine! Old and new members will have a chance to relax and unwind, which can make practices less tense.

4. Respect

Respect is one of the biggest components of being a successful captain and teammate. As you look back on your time before being captain you can easily say that the biggest reason you looked up and listened to previous captains is because you respected their authority. Whether it was your coach who positioned you as captain, or a team vote, people want you in this position. A big part of you being chosen for this role is because of the respect you show others. Never let this important trait diminish as time moves on throughout the season. If anything, the mutual respect grows.

Hint: If at any time you do not feel you are getting the respect you deserve as a captain, talk to your coach. That way you two can sit down and discuss how you all want to handle the situation from there!

5. Lead by example

As a captain, your other teammates are looking to you to see how to react to certain situations. Sometimes practices are long and hard and your attitude can really lead the team in the right direction. Keep a positive attitude and encourage others who are having a hard time. You may have a personal issue with another teammate but it is so important that you “leave it at the door” and realize she is a teammate and the team is working towards a certain goal. If you do that, others will follow. You set the tone.

 

Hint: Days will be hard. The team will be tired and it is on you to be the positive encouraging person. Sometimes the most dreaded words are “let’s run it again” when you’ve gone full out, front to back 5 time prior. Don’t get frustrated or other will get even more frustrated. Instead say “Come on girls! We got this!” or “Come one Susie. I know you can hit that turn! You got it!.”

6.  Have Fun

Through all the hustle and bustle, it can become easy to lose track of why you were on the dance team in the first place! Do not let anything distract you from the real reason for why you dance. As a team member you remember what it was like getting primped for football games and participating in fun school traditions before taking the field. It is important to let yourself go back to those moments. Instead of worrying about what sidelines to call and who might have forgotten their poms, let yourself enjoy all the small moments before the season ends.

Hint: The job to run the team is not all on you! Your coach is there to handle all of the nitty gritty business. If you ever feel like too much is on your plate, talk to them. They want you to enjoy these special high school memories more than anyone!

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