Team Motivation: Clemson Cheerleading

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A team is defined as “A distinguishable set of two or more people who interact, dynamically, interdependently, and adaptively toward a common and valued goal” (Chen). It is extremely frustrating when you are a part of a “team”, yet you find yourself being one of the few people who have passion for what they are doing while you are giving 110% into every single practice, game, and competition. To us, this is one of the most frustrating dilemmas that we face in our day-to-day lives. Being on the Clemson University cheerleading team, we find ourselves more often frustrated at practices, than enjoying practices. This is what led us to proceed with researching self-motivation, more specifically, team-motivation. Originally, we had thought that in order to motivate others on our team we needed to be positive, self-motivated role models ourselves. However, after spending time researching team motivation, we found that it is much more complex than originally thought.

The team that we will be referring to is the Clemson University competitive cheerleading squad. Tryouts were held in November, but the one competition that we compete in, NCA Nationals, is held in April. When this squad was put together in November, we practiced once a week for a couple of hours and practices weren’t too intense considering we had 5 months to prepare. Choreography, where we learned our entire routine for Nationals, was held in February and that is when our frustration set in. After choreography is when it is time to get serious and work hard. Competitive cheerleading is not easy and performing a routine to the best of one’s ability takes a lot of time and effort to perfect. With 2 months left and only 2-3 practices a week, we had no time to mess a...

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Williams, H. M., Parker, S. K. and Turner, N. (2010), Proactively performing teams: The role of work design, transformational leadership, and team composition. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 83: 301–324. Retrieved April 3, 2011, from

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