The atmosphere of a performance or competition can help a cheerleading squad get pumped, but before they even get to the sidelines or the stage, they have to help each other be a team in practices. The way that teammates interact can have a huge, and lasting, effect on the overall camaraderie of the team.

Teammates may feel the pressure of trying to balance great teamwork with individual competitiveness, but with a little dedication, anyone can learn to contribute to the team and still achieve group and personal goals. Be a great cheerleader by being a great teammate!

1) Good teammates know what to do; GREAT teammates sacrifice and follow through.
Many times in a situation, you know the right choice. What separates a good teammate from a great teammate is actually doing the right thing. In order to be a great teammate, the team must always come first. Sometimes you may not like what's best for the team, but you do it anyway. For example, you may want a solo or lead spot but know in your heart that someone else would make a better choice. Be a great teammate and let the other girl take the spotlight.

2. Good teammates can be led; GREAT teammates lead by example.
To be a good teammate, you need to know how to listen to your coach and captain. But if you want to be a great teammate, you shouldn't just follow; you should lead! This doesn't mean taking matters into your own hand and naming yourself the new captain. Instead, be a good role model for everyone else on the team! When it's time to start warming up, instead of chatting with friends, immediately get started. Just because you're not the team captain doesn't mean you can't be an influential leader for your squad.

3. Good teammates resist placing blame; GREAT teammates take responsibility.
Even if it's not your fault, it can be immature to place the blame on someone else. In order to be a great teammate, it takes more than just holding your tongue; take responsibility for it! When you're on a team, everyone is responsible for every person's mistake. Even if you're not pointing a finger at someone else, not taking responsibility for the mistake is almost just as bad. If there is one person in particular who is falling behind, rather than place blame, help her out!

4. Good teammates accept tasks; GREAT teammates get it done.
It's one thing to take on an extra load of work. It's another thing to actually do it. A great teammate is trustworthy and reliable. When a great teammate is given an assignment, the coach or captain knows that the person will get it done on time. When you're on a team, it's extremely important to be trustworthy. It's not just a coach or captain relying on you; it's an entire squad! If given an assignment, the coach is entrusting you with a lot of responsibility! Prove that you're a great (and reliable) teammate by completing the assignment on time.

5. Good teammates are spirited; GREAT teammates always remain positive and maintain control.
It's easy for a cheerleader to be spirited at a game or competition when the energy is up and the music is playing. It's another thing to be positive during a difficult practice session or poor performance. A great teammate has a positive attitude, even when times are tough. By maintaining a positive attitude, you can encourage other teammates to do the same. If your squad is going through a rough patch (or is just having an "off" day at practice), don't get discouraged. Be a great teammate and raise everyone's spirits. Try getting the squad to perform a favorite cheer, blast some fun music, or ask for a five-minute break for the squad to talk about any feelings of discouragement. Whatever you do, don't lose control and keep your cool. If you get upset or angry, it can affect the entire squad.

Be the best cheerleader you can be by being a GREAT teammate. You'd be surprised how one person's attitude can affect an entire team. By being a great teammate now, you'll learn the traits to be a great employee or boss later on in life. Don't just be a great teammate for your squad; be a great teammate in class and any other activities. Your cheer squad isn't the only team you're on; everyone is on a team in some shape or form, whether it's a family, science class, church group, sports team, or group of friends. Be a GREAT teammate now so you can be a GREAT teammate later.
What do you think makes a great teammate? Comment below and share your thoughts!