How to Immediately Become a Winning Sports Captain: 5 Tips for Success
Often athletes are assigned the title of captain or team leader, yet not prepared mentally to take on this unique role. Leadership qualities can certainly be taught and improved upon, but where do you start? This week I explore 5 of the biggest qualities that I believe can help team captains immediately improve their leadership abilities, thereby helping team chemistry and maximizing team potential.
- Confidence/conviction. Great sports leaders know that the confidence they have in themselves will often positively infect teammates to feel the same. Similarly, captains need to have conviction when trying to “sell” teammates on new ideas and strategies if they want to be successful.
- Rewarding. If you want people to follow your ideas, it is important to offer sincere appreciation and positive reinforcement for effort. Successful leaders often “catch” teammates doing good things and are emphatic with their appreciation and praise.
- Open-minded. Some of the greatest ideas in team environments come from team members, not the team leader. Successful team captains regularly solicit ideas and suggestions from teammates, and often they put those ideas into action.
- Delegate. While some people might think delegating tasks is an excuse for not doing things yourself, the truth is leaders who delegate regularly experience less stress and better team production because of the extra help!
- Resiliency. Regardless of how great an idea sounds on paper, sometimes things simply don’t work out. Great leaders expect stress, adversity, frustration, and failure and respond in healthy and positive ways.
Being a team captain can be a wonderful opportunity, but can also be a daunting task. Coaches and parents can help young athletes develop leadership skills by talking about the responsibilities the athlete will likely face, and then working through scenarios where leadership skills can help the situation. Leadership skills are yet another example of athletic transferable skills, meaning they can be used in countless other non-sport settings including school, career, and life.