Being chosen by the coach or elected by your teammates to team captain should be seen as a huge honor for any young athlete. But being a team captain means much more than just stitching a C onto your jersey. It means your coach/team see characteristics in you that mark you out as a good leader, a team player, and someone who the rest of the team can look up to.
Here is what we think being team captain means:
It means being responsible.
Being a team captain means accepting an extra level of responsibility for your sports team. Maybe you arrive 15 minutes early to help the coach set up before a game or practice, or you stay 15 minutes late and help carry everything back to their care. Maybe you’re responsible for running pre-game stretching and warm-ups, getting your teammates in the right mindset to compete. Whatever needs doing, a team captain should offer to take care of it (at least the best they can)! It’s not your job to be the coach, but even a great coach needs a little help from time to time.
It means being setting a good example for your teammates.
As the team captain, you attitude and actions set the tone for the rest of the team. If you goof off or slack during practice you are giving permission to your teammates to do the same. If you back-talk the coach, or poke fun at him when their back is turned your teammates are going to believe that is acceptable behavior and follow your lead. If you single out a teammate and pick on them the rest of your team is also going to gang up on that player. A good team captain has to remember that what they do and say is going to be mimicked by their teammates, for better or worse. If your team loses make sure you shake the opposing teams’ hands and walk out with your head held high. If your team wins don’t mock or rub it in the other teams’ faces. Being a good team captain means setting a good example for your team at every turn, no matter what may have happened.
It means pulling the team together.
A great team captain knows the strengths and weaknesses of every one of their teammates. Who gets in their head in high-pressure situations? Who can you count on to run a complicated play? A team captain has to pull the team together no matter what the situation is. Not that it’s their job to discipline their teammates (please leave that to the coach), but the attitude of the team captain sets the attitude of the rest of the team. If you are calm and focused under pressure it’s easier for your teammates to stay calm and focused. If you take the first steps in rallying around a player who had a disappointing at bat and or made a mistake that cost your team the win most of the other players will fall in line and not ostracize their teammate. A good captain can hold a team together through thick and thin, win or loss, and keep everyone’s eye on the prize!