It’s essential that coaches and players understand the importance of captains and leaders on a team and the vital roles they play. They have the unique ability to shape the personality of a team, inspire and motivate teammates and make a lasting impact on a program for years to come, among many other things.
By learning these six tips designed by renowned sports psychologist Greg Dale, coaches and players will be able to implement them within their own program and discover exactly why an effective leader is the glue that holds together a successful team.
1.) Embrace the role of being a captain
Remember, being a captain is not a right, it’s a privilege. It’s a serious position and should be treated like one. It’s also not a popularity contest and the team leaders should realize this from the very onset.
2.) Recognize the responsibility of being a a captain
Captains have the responsibility to learn how they can become the best leader they can be. They owe it to the coaches, their teammates and themselves. Leaders also have a higher level of expectations placed upon them as the team looks to them for guidance.
3.) Act as an extension of the coaching staff
Leaders serve as another “coach” on and off the field and can communicate certain aspects of the game to fellow teammates effectively. At times, a leader will also have to make unpopular decisions but understand that it’s part of his/her job.
4.) Be a voice for the team
Leaders are looked up to by their teammates and have the ability to influence the team culture and overall legacy. They can lead their program to where they want it to be and have a great impact on the team in a variety of ways.
5.) Work with other captains to build a team of leaders
Captains should figure out how to complement each other so they can be the best captains and leaders they can possibly be. Leaders will work together to continuously motivate their teammates, be open with them and earn their trust.
6.) Know yourself and be true to yourself
Don’t try to be someone else. What are you good at? What do you struggle with? What’s your personality type? Play to your strengths. If you’re unsure, take a simple personality test to see for yourself.
When you realize who you are, put yourself in situations that take advantage of your strengths. Similar to high-percentage shooting on net or playing man-down defense, leaders have to continuously work on how they can improve in that specific role. It’s not a “learn once and be done with it” role. The coaching staff should always be working with team leaders on this throughout the season.
The six tips featured in this article can be seen in the Championship Productions DVD “The Team Captains Guide to Great Leadership” featuring Greg Dale. For more leadership and player development videos, click here.