If your hair is dry and you have not conditioned it then you are running the risk for splitting the ends. So to begin with, make sure that you shampoo well and use a conditioner unless of course your hair is oily. Towel dry it as there is no need to blow_dry your hair for the ponytail look. You might want to add a little bit of gel to give it a nice shiny look and to help keep those flyaway hairs under control.
The best way to get your ponytail in instead of trying to fight with all the hair at the back is lean forward and brush all your hair down to your face. Bring all of the hair from the back forward. Once you have done this then you can gather all of your hair in one bunch and apply the holder that you are going to be using.