Thursday, August 16, 2012


Teams need leadership from its players.  The fact of the matter is that leadership can come from any player on your roster, but more often than not the captain(s) of your team are the players who will provide it on a daily basis.  It cannot be stressed enough how important good leadership can be for the overall culture and eventual successes of your team.

The following are four possible methods to help decide on your team captains:

1. The Coach Decides 
The coach has been around the program, knows the players, and will have a grasp of the leadership ability of each player on the court.  If the coach really does have a good idea of each player's leadership qualities then they should be able to choose the best captain(s) for their team.  The one caution is that the coach may not have insight to the feelings the team members have for each player.  For example, you don't want a captain that the rest of the team won't respect at a high level.  Many times that respect is earned or lost off the court just as much as it is on it, and the coach won't completely understand the off the court stuff because that is a separate world for players.

2. Players Vote
Each player on the team has a vote and they can decide on captains.  This is a quick and easy system to use and it gives your players a voice in the decision making process by writing on paper the names of the players they want to be captains.  One red flag with deciding on captains this way is that it can become a popularity contest.  Our most popular players aren't always our best leaders.  Players should be voting for the person they feel can provide the necessary leadership through their actions, by what they say, their ability to be vocal with the group, and the respect they have for them.  If you use this method allow players vote for themselves.

3. Players Apply
Using this option requires players who are interested in being a captain to write on paper the reasons they feel they would be a great captain for the team.  It's almost like writing a letter of application when applying for a job.  Players should include
  • The reasons why they would like to be captain.
  • Experience they have had in leadership roles (other sports or clubs/groups they belong to)
  • Qualities they posses that make them a good leader
The coaching staff will then review each letter from the candidates to decide on who the captain(s) will be for the team.  This is is a good way of doing things because it forces the players to put a lot of thought into being a captain.  It also helps them understand the importance of it.  The one caution with using this method is that not every player has the ability to express their thoughts in writing as well as others.  And being a good writer doesn't always equal being a good captain.

4. Players Verbal Vote
Using this method would require having individual meetings with each player on your team.  Coaches have these meetings with players anyway so this can be a perfect time for the players to vote verbally for the team captain(s).   Players will not only name the player or players they feel would be great captains for the team, but they will also tell "why" they feel that way.  This gives coaches some great insight into the reasons why players feel someone would be a good captain.  One red flag with this method is that some young people won't feel as confident speaking their vote as they would for example writing it down on a piece of paper.  Allow players to vote for themselves.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, captains are very hard because someone is always mad. I like the idea of applying and then voting because that way you have some say, but not all the say.

    Sometimes I think it'd be better to just not have captians and tell everyone that the true leaders will lead - because we know they are going to anyway!

    John Carrier


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