Each year some athletic teams choose captains to lead their teams. Some don’t. But even on teams that don’t have captains, someone generally becomes the leader. Hopefully, captains/leaders are driven to succeed, have a way of pulling kids together, aren’t afraid to relay information or concerns from coaches to kids (or vice versa), and lead by example. They should be kids that others look up to and can turn to if they need help or have questions. They have the ability to get along with nearly everyone on the team and bring their teammates up and work to pull the team together into one cohesive unit. They are a “team player.”
I did away with team captains years ago on my baseball teams, but nearly all the teams I have coached have had that kid or two that tended to lead naturally and who others turned to for guidance. My best teams always seemed to have a couple kids….one who led by example and one who led by example and was a little more vocal. A few years I had several kids who were just driven to lead and set the expectation high for everyone else that “this is the way it is going to be.” They led by example and took care of little issues that cropped up at times, or between teammates, and solved many team issues on their own. That makes my job a lot easier and is an example of a self-motivated team. If a team is driven enough, they don’t need a coach to motivate them. They do it themselves and deal with those who aren’t. Great teams usually have great leaders.
The IHSAA Student Advisory Committee has put together a Captain’s Handbook to help guide those athletes with being a team leader. For some kids, it comes naturally, but that doesn’t mean others can’t be team leaders. Take the time to read through it as it is only 24 pages long. Use it as a source to positively influence and lead your teammates. But remember, if you are a leader, you are leader on and off the field. You can’t flip a switch on game nights and expect your teammates to follow you when you are acting up in classroom or doing things that misrepresent your team outside of school. It can very challenging to be a captain/leader but very rewarding and, better yet, a great captain/leader can make a good team great! Use this resource to find out what you can do to be a leader on your team.
Here is the URL to the Captain’s Handbook (copy and paste into your browser):