Team Sports Captains:
Effective Leadership Roles
Captains of sports teams are given the stereotype that they are the most athletic player on the team, scoring the most goals and handling the ball best. In truth, captains have a lot of work they have to do that doesn’t even involve playing the sport. Captains are the most looked at player of the game; other players, younger kids and coaches look to them to set examples. They have to set examples in every aspect of the game; athleticism might be part of their job but it is not limited to it. The captain of any sports team must set the leadership standard for commitment, confidence, intelligence, and attitude.
Any captain of a sports team must be committed and dedicated to their team. A captain must ensure that they are present and on time for every practice and game which he or she is intended to be at. Captains have many roles during practices, they are the first one there helping set up drills and organizing the practice. They need to make sure everyone is on the playing area on time and leading the warm-ups. The captain must lead by example by showing that he or she is there to practice or play his or her best and that everyone should give it their all, all the time (Mosher, 1981). They need to show that nothing else matters when that are playing or practicing; everyone’s mind should be strictly focused on the coach if he or she is talking, or the play they are working on, or the game they are in. The captain must be a strong leader and show dedication towards his or her sport.
As well as being dedicated to be at all the team’s events, the captain must have the commitment to know all the plays and roles of all the positions. He or she is the key person that everyone looks up to; if someone is confused about a play, they must be able to go to his or her captain and find the answer they are looking for. The captain must be available before and after the practice to answer any questions put forward by his or her team mates (Brearley, 2000). The captain should be like an instruction manual for anyone who needs it, he or she will help show and tell others how to do a job.
Another major role for the captain is to be committed to talk to the players and the coaches and be the link between them. The captain must ensure that there is a constant flow of communication between the players and coaching staff. To accomplish this, the captain must be familiar with the players and the coaches. Team meetings called by the captain and individual conversations are two methods of establishing player/coach bonds (Mosher, 1981). The captain also must have the ability to understand the ideas and feelings of others so they can discuss thoughts and emotions with those concerned. The captain is on both the coaching staff and the playing team, and must place him or herself in the right position to help both sides. (See Figure 1.) The captain must relay messages from the coach to the players and vice versa.
The captain must always ensure that they are confident about themselves on and off the playing field. No team wants to follow a captain who is afraid of a situation or the opposition. They must feel positive about his or her physical ability and must know that they are capable of performing their best at all times. Athletic ability is important because the captain must be a starter (Mosher, 1981). They must be dedicated to working hard in practice and in the gym. If they or someone else is injured it should be a rule enforced and followed by everyone not to try to play through the pain, and he or she has to know when to rest and until his or her injury is completely healed. Even though he or she is the captain they can’t try to be a hero because they might end up doing serious damage and sit out for a longer period of