Becoming a Quality Captain
When you became a dancer, you became a leader. This leadership role is sacred. And if it’s used properly, it’s powerful.
Your team is a collection of leaders. It’s a melting pot of personalities, interests and talents. It takes a special person to relate to such a diverse group of individuals. Perhaps you’ve been given the chance to serve as team captain. Or maybe you’re a hopeful candidate. Either way, it is important to approach the position with poise. A quality captain strives to improve themselves and their team. You are expected to wear many hats. Although the following functions seem contradictory, a fearless leader succeeds by discovering a delicate balance.
A captain is a:
You are a trusted confidant. You are approachable and available. Team members aren’t afraid to come to you with questions. You keep your word and have an open mind. You work to keep the peace among the team.
You are easy to respect. You don’t abuse your power. Your teammates value your authority and don’t take advantage of you. You set an example and behave with decency. You are fair and confront issues head-on.
You see potential in every individual. You expect team members to be active in the school and the community. You set lofty goals and have faith that the team can achieve them.
You realize that academics and family come first. You allow team members to have a life outside of cheer and don’t over-commit them. You only give the team what you are confident they can handle.
You acknowledge strengths. You praise them when they have done something great. You are patient and you help members develop at their own pace.
You push your team to step outside of their comfort zone. You deliver constructive criticism effectively. You don’t let your teammates get by with being “okay.” When your team faces an obstacle, you rally them to overcome.
You are a teammate. Your energy is contagious and you create an enjoyable environment. You don’t mind delegating your duties. You highlight each member’s strength by assigning individual tasks.
You are a leader. You have your ducks in a row. You are on time and always prepared. You have a plan. And a back-up plan.
While many of these qualities come natural, finding that balance is learned. And hey – nobody is perfect! There is no such thing as a “perfect” captain. Each team is different, so each captain unique. The job requires heart and commitment. If you are dedicated to the success of your team, you are headed in the right direction.
There is no question that leading other people is not easy. Whether it means taking charge in a group project for school, putting together a fundraiser or a volunteer event, or even coordinating social plans on a Friday night, it can be at times difficult and time-consuming to try to get people to listen to you and work together to benefit the group as a whole.
This being said, for all the trials and tribulations that one might have to go through in a leadership position, there are usually many benefits as well. This is certainly the case in high school sports. Becoming a team captain for your high school sports team can be a fulfilling experience that offers many professional and personal benefits. Read on to find out more about how you can set a model for leadership as a sports captain.
Introduction to Leadership in Sports
Every sport is different in the amount of teamwork it requires, but even more individual sports teams (like wrestling and tennis) train together and have a certain team dynamic. Whether it is an individualized or a team sport, all sports can benefit from having a student leader, and so high school sports teams usually have a student captain.
Many high school sports teams have a captain in addition to a professional coach because student athletes might have a better rapport with their teammates than an adult coach. Although a coach might be able to relate to students more than a teacher or another authority figure, there is no question that student captains will obviously have more common ground with other students.
For students who are chosen to be captains, taking on a leadership position can also be helpful for college applications—admissions committees want to see students who are able to take on responsibility and work well with others. For more information about taking on leadership roles, check out this CollegeVine blog post.
Becoming Captain of Your Sports Team
Typically, the process of becoming captain of your high school sports team will vary from school to school. Usually, the process will depend upon some combination of the opinion of your peers and the opinion of your coaches. For example, the team might have a vote to determine candidates, and the coach might make the final designation. For clarification of your specific school and team’s procedures, you should ask your coach.
If you’re seeking out a leadership position on your team, it is in your best interest to make sure you are well-respected and well-liked by your team members. Show up to events on time and make an effort to engage with all members of the team (not just the members who might happen to be your friends). Offer to help others on your team out, and be sure that you’re not a show-off or a ball hog.
You should also make sure that you are an experienced and solid performer in your sport—although this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be the very top player on the team.
In addition, it will be helpful if you display dedication and visibly work hard towards team goals. If the team is looking to improve its strategy, you should be helping to make these changes. If there are conflicts within your team that need to get resolved, get involved and help your team members talk it out. You should also be trustworthy and work well with your coach—if you do end up becoming captain, you’ll be working hard alongside him or her, so you want to demonstrate that you can handle the responsibility and helpful to both your team members and your coach.