What should I look for when choosing a team captain?

Leadership is one of those things that play a role in all areas of life. There is no school, household, not any organisation or team that can function optimally without good leadership.

Why do we need good leadership? Well, it helps us to maximise our team members’ abilities and to achieve our team goals. The problem is, selecting the best captain is oftentimes easier said than done.

The team leader has the dual function of ensuring player satisfaction whilst steering the team to reach their full potential. They also have the power of determining the attitude of the team.

There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting a captain that will, firstly, make the process easier and, secondly, steer your team in the right direction.

Good team captains must be good visionaries. They need to be able to help those around them understand the game plan, while at the same time motivating the team to work towards it. They must display the ability to provide direction, guidance and instruction in such a way that their fellow sportsmen feel comfortable following.

What are other characteristics to look for when choosing a captain?

  • They are good communicators: Clear communication in a team is non-negotiable. The team captain must have the skill to clearly explain tasks as well as the game plan to fellow team members.
  • They are humble: Often times, humility is underestimated as a characteristic of a good leader. A good captain will always do their best to perform but at the same time be modest about their abilities and talents. They are also not afraid to admit their own mistakes.
  • They are confident: Any leader needs to have confidence. But when it comes to a team captain, don’t mistake arrogance for confidence. On the contrary, a good leader’s confidence will show in their graceful attitude, being able to think clearly under pressure, as well as their decisiveness.
  • They are fair: They’ll make decisions consistent with clearly-expressed standards of right and wrong. When handling disagreements, a good captain’s resolution brings about a feeling of justice, equal treatment and objectiveness. Bottom line: A good captain treats people fairly.
  • They are honest: A great leader is always honest and transparent.
  • They are respectful: A good captain never demands respect from his or her peers. Instead, they treat others with respect and in return earn the respect of their teammates.
  • They are observant and in tune: A good captain tries to understand each player on the team well enough to be able to identify their unique strengths and weaknesses so that the team can perform optimally.
  • They are passionate: A good leader stands out from the crowd due to their passion and commitment, not only to the team, but also to the game.
  • They are positive: Great team captains always have a positive attitude and can, therefore, influence the rest of the team under difficult circumstances.
  • They are trustworthy and dependable: Never will a good leader betray your trust or disappoint you by not being dependable. You know you can always count on them to be there on time, to do what is expected of them and to make the team proud.

It’s nearly impossible to find the perfect team captain - since we’re all human and all fallible. But the ideal team captain for you child’s sports team has neither a dictator nor a laissez-faire attitude. They are instead someone who the team respects and associates with. It’s someone your children do not find intimidating, yet it’s someone who they will listen to.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude;
be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully;
be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid;
be proud, but not arrogant; have humour, but without folly.”
- Jim Rohn