ComplainingSo you’ve got a problem with one of your teammates. She’s bossy, rude, lazy, or something that bothers you. Complaining to your coach about a teammate is tricky. There is a fine line between expressing an issue and making it worse. You want to blow the fire out, not toss in more matches.

Before complaining, consider the following to prevent any misunderstandings or further drama within the cheer squad.

  • Think about… the exact reason for the complaint. Is a teammate being rude? Is she picking on you? Is she bringing down the team’s spirit? Is she being lazy during stunts? Sometimes when you’re having a problem with someone, personal issues can rear their heads. Suddenly, you also don’t like the way she says certain words or the shoes she wears. When you go to your coach to complain, don’t let those personal issues affect the real issues.
  • Ask yourself… if the problem is truly affecting your or a teammate’s performance. As an athlete you need to be mature. Stress or lack of sleep can make you more irritable and you may be nit-picking flaws that aren’t at all relevant. By complaining about something small, you’ll only create more problems for your team.
  • Don’t assume… anything. Let both your brain and your emotions help you make the decision of whether or not to complain. Let’s say that you feel a teammate is picking on you. Don’t assume you’re being too emotional. Although it may seem like a small personal issue, no one deserves to be bullied. If you feel a teammate is picking on you for no reason, you should definitely talk to a parent or coach. On the other end of the spectrum, don’t complain just because a teammate says she doesn’t like your necklace. Be the adult and ignore her.
  • Decide… whether you can solve this problem yourself or if it requires the help of a coach, parent, or other adult. Some small issues might just be a misunderstanding. Depending on the situation, consider talking to the teammate first and seeing if you can resolve things between yourselves. If you feel that will only worsen the situation, go straight to an adult. Some situations need mediators.
  • Plan out… what you’re going to say to your coach. If you haven’t planned what to say, you may forget parts of your concern or not correctly explain the situation.
  • Explain why… the coach or parent needs to be aware of the problem. Make the person you’re reporting the issue to understand the severity of the situation and why it can’t be dealt with by you and/or your fellow cheerleaders.
  • Don’t gossip… after you complain. This should be something between you and the coach until the coach decides what to do. Gossip will only exacerbate the situation and you could end up in trouble.
  • Always keep in mind… that every one is different and every one handles situations differently. Things are always subjective, including these tips. These rules will differ depending on age groups, too. Younger cheerleaders won’t have the maturity to handle conflict on their own, whereas older cheerleaders will be expected to be more of an adult about conflicts. Don’t let the fear of thinking you’re a “tattle tale” or “drama queen” affect your decision. As long as you evaluate the situation, whatever you decide is probably the right thing to do!

Have you ever had to complain about a teammate? How do you handle inner-team conflict?

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