How to Deal With Hard-to-Deal-With Members

You know that girl that hasn’t improved for–how long has she been on this team? Three weeks? Three months?

In my drill experience, there was always someone who was on the team and didn’t deserve to be.

One thing you have to realize immediately is that these kind of people are letting the whole team down. So, you probably know this already, but you have to think through it. Why haven’t you done anything with this person? Why is she still here? Your answer is probably something like this: “What can I do? It’s already halfway through the year, and I can’t take her off the team”. Bad reasoning.

So basically what you’ve just said when you’ve provided such a rejoinder is that you are going to continue to let “frustrating driller” let the team down the rest of the year. This is what you need to realize before you can take action and do something. Instead of telling yourself why you can’t do something, like take this person off the team, ask yourself why not. So here’s the breakdown:

Why to NOT take this person off the team:
We already have formations made out… with one less person it won’t work out
This person already made the team, I can’t tell her that she’s not qualified when she was in the beginning
It’s already been half a year–we cannot do anything now; too much time has passed
I’d feel guilty if I took her off the team

Why to take this person off the team:
She’s going to continue to let the team down for the next few months, weeks, etc.
If we take her off, we can create new formations with dedicated drillers and have time to perfect these without anyone letting us down
So what if it’s been half a year? There’s still half a year left! There’s still a competition left. We can’t have someone perform if she can’t do the routine as well as everyone else can
This person does not care for this team and has a negative attitude. One negative attitude leads to a whole team of negative attitudes

If this list goes on, the “Why to let this person off the team” has many more benefits than the converse. So don’t be afraid to do something that you’re afraid to do. You have guts, right? Just tell this person that she is letting the team down and give a second chance for her to get better. If there is no improvement within 2 weeks, stop yourself from those feelings of fear. You’re not scared to kick someone off the team. If you are, don’t be. This person is also probably prone to those “but… I was so busy this week, I had to babysit, work, study…” blah blah blah. Whatever. This person is too busy for drill, then, since she’s been busy like this all year. Too bad.

The most important part about this is to stay confident. You won’t regret this if this person is truly letting down the team. This person creates a negative attitude, messes up formations, has bad angles, doesn’t attend practice, etc. Whatever it is, she is letting down the team and this cannot happen if you want to succeed. Take this person off the team, keep a positive team mood and work ethic, and don’t let anyone like this person stop your team progress.

Another way to prevent this is to ask for teacher recommendations (not long essays; maybe a fill-out form or a short paragraph–teachers don’t need too much stress, especially at a school where many are interested in trying out for drill!) during tryouts. Teachers have a good idea of who the lazy students are. This will eliminate those annoying complainers and lazy people that “never have time” to practice. Don’t believe these lies unless there is a plausible reason. Either way, if someone “never has time”, why is she on this team? Drill requires time!

Also, I found that with increased grade point average, productivity at practices increase. People with higher GPA’s work hard in school and will likely work hard in drill. Of course there are some exceptions to this theory, but I find that it is a safe route. It’s always a good idea to set a high GPA as a requirement. Make sure that no one is just barely border-line on the grades, either! For instance, if you set the minimal GPA to be 2.5 and someone has a 2.501, then you should be very observant of this person and talk to her. Make sure that she is working hard in school and will work hard in drill also. If you’re worried that you’ll exclude a driller with a lower GPA but high potential, then lower the GPA. Just make sure you’re observant. In high school, your grades are highly based on if you did your homework or not. Not doing homework = laziness. Not a good trait. Also keep in mind that at many schools, drill is considered a sport, and there are GPA requirements here.

Lastly, if someone is having a problem, talk about it and listen for a plausible excuse. Maybe this person is simply so worried about drill that she’s depressed! You never know. Make sure everyone’s okay.
Remember, you’re here to work with your team members!

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