Team captains and leaders are extremely influential to any sports team – both positively and negatively. With renowned sports psychology expert Greg Dale as your guide, learn about a variety of coaching strategies you can implement when it comes to maximizing your squad’s leadership potential, chemistry, and overall success.
Give and Take of Respect
Start by giving your team leaders some genuine face time. It’s quite common for team leaders to struggle with areas like respect, so we have to help develop them. One way is to spend time with them. Start by taking the minutes at the beginning of the season to talk about the idea of who you are and what your expectations are.
For example, what are your core values in your life? Who are your influences and why? Talk about the most positive leaders in your life. You can even give examples of bad influences and how they also developed you.
Also, lay out your expectations for your team. In other words, what do you expect from your leaders? How can they help you develop this team into the best team it can be? However, if you don’t spend time on these things, the captains are left guessing. If they understand where you are coming from, they are much more likely to become that extension of you.
Leadership: How to Be Liked and Respected
It’s typically very important for team leaders to have credibility with their teammates. However, this idea of being a leader; there’s a lot of responsibility that goes along with that.
So how exactly do you establish, lose, and maintain credibility? Well, you are only as effective as the credibility you have with the people you are trying to lead.
This concept all starts with respect. Start by highlighting the bond between respect and credibility. Ask your team leaders, “Can you demand that your teammates respect you?” Well they can remand that the athletes line up a certain way in warm-ups, but in terms of them respecting their leaders as their leaders, that’s something you must earn. Respect is earned. From day one, the leaders of your team need to be thinking about what they need to do to earn respect this year.
Meanwhile, there’s also an interesting dynamic of being liked AND being respected. This can often be a source of conflict. For Dale, the best leaders he’s been around have both the respect and the likeability. However, being liked isn’t essential. Obviously, if you have to sacrifice something, it’s going to be the like part of it. But the kids must understand that they won’t always be liked by everyone.
They can be a likeable person and should be, but those two things will come into direct conflict. If you don’t spend time on this with them, they will struggle with the concept. For most kids, it’s important they are liked.
***For more tips on choosing team captains and ways to develop strong leaders, check out this feature from 2011.***
The previous clips can be seen on Championship Productions’ DVD The Coach’s Guide to Developing Great Team Captains featuring Greg Dale. To check out additional videos focusing on team development concepts, click here.