One of the greatest aspects of cheerleading is the bond created between teammates. From all of the rough practices to the greatest performances, no one can relate to what you experience better than the ones by your side through it all. But being a teammate is more than just wearing the same uniform and performing to the same music. A teammate is someone you can trust on AND off the mat. Having older teammates “mentor” younger teammates can help build stronger bonds within the team. Some teams refer to this as “bigs” and “littles,” “big sister/little sister,” or “brothers” for coed teams, etc. This works especially well when veterans take the big sister/brother role and can mentor rookie teammates. Veterans can use their knowledge and experience from past seasons on the team to positively influence rookies and younger athletes. “Bigs” motivate “littles” to push harder at practice, they encourage and motivate “littles” throughout the routine, but most importantly, “bigs” are the person “littles” can trust and go to about anything. Whether it is cheer related or even just venting about a bad grade at school, it is important for rookies/younger athletes to know that they have someone they can go to about anything. Not only does this create special individual bonds, it will also make the team stronger as a whole. Having a shoulder to cry on or a person to hug after every performance is something every cheerleader should have: a teammate on and off the mat.