The job of a student leader comes with frustrations. What you are doing is difficult and time consuming and you probably have many other important responsibilities pulling at you from other areas of your life. First, understand that it is normal to feel frustrated from time to time. Second, take a step back and breathe! Here are some tips for dealing with the frustrations that come with the job!
Communication is probably the number one way to avoid frustration. If you have a question or concern that is nagging at you, talk to the person involved. Feel free to approach the staff and ask to talk about your concerns. Nine times out of ten you are worrying over something simply because you didn’t understand the whole picture. Most of the time, a short conversation with the coach can clear everything up and let you get back to having fun!
2. Keep Things in Perspective
This is guard…and in reality…not the most important thing in life (even if it sometimes feels that way). Maybe it’s the most fun at times, but not the most important. And it’s definitely not supposed to be something that brings you tremendous worry. Try to keep things in perspective and realize that everything usually works out in the end!
3. Take a Breather
It’s okay to call a water break because you need a few minutes of time to walk off some frustration. It’s okay to ask for a few minutes to get some water during group rehearsals to get away from a frustrating situation and come back with new energy.
4. Tag Team It
If something in particular has you frustrated…say teaching a really difficult part of the routine to the newest member of the team who just isn’t getting it…tag team it! Ask another leader, or even another member who isn’t a leader, to take over for you while you tend to other responsibilities. You don’t have to take everything on yourself!
“I found it most challenging to have PATIENCE. I think the hardest thing for me, while teaching people (especially beginners) was that I had a hard time being patient with others when I was trying to teach them a routine. My best advice to those who also have patience issues is to try and see it from their perspective. If you are teaching a rookie, you have to keep in mind that they are probably feeling very overwhelmed, and that getting frustrated at them will only make their learning process more difficult. So, just put all your frustrations aside and put on a happy face! Although that can be difficult, it will definitely make your teaching experience much easier!
-BRHS Captain fall 2003,2004 Winter 2004, 2005
5. Nobody’s Perfect
Don’t expect yourself or anyone else, for that matter, to be perfect. You will make mistakes, your teammates will make mistakes and your coaches will make mistakes. And that’s okay! Accept that mistakes will happen and avoid frustration!
“I wish I had known [all along] that you didn’t have to be perfect at everything just because you were suddenly “captain.” That was something I discovered pretty quickly, but I can remember the times back to before I was captain and it always looked like our leaders did things right 99% of the time. Now I realize that they just didn’t let it bother them when they didn’t do something right, or they made it look so good that it became “right”! After being captain for 2 years, I definitely made note of that!”
-BRHS Captain, Fall 2003, 2004, Winter 2004, 2005
Sometimes you just need to get out your frustrations and vent. Of course, venting to a teammate is one of those things we ask you as a leader NOT to do…so how are you supposed to get it all out? Well, you can always vent to your parents at home or to the coach. But another tactic is to sit down for 5 or 10 minutes and write down all of your frustrations. Then, when you’ve gotten them all out, carefully tear up the page (so no one else can read it) and throw all those frustrations away!
About the Author (Author Profile)
Catina Anderson is the founder/editor of the Colorguard Educators blog. Color guard has been part of her life for almost 25 years. She began coaching in 1994 and worked with the Broad Run High School color guard in Northern VA from 1998 until 2010. She has also written for Halftime Magazine and served on the Executive Board of the Atlantic Indoor Association. A former teacher, she enjoys sharing what she has learned and hopes to encourage others to share as well. Together we can create even more positive experiences for performers and help to collectively strengthen marching arts activities worldwide.