As an athlete, it is a great honor to be elected the captain of your team. It is certainly not a responsibility that should be taken lightly. Committing to any leadership position on a sports team means being a role model and supporter for your teammates at all times.
Give It Your All
One of the best ways to motivate a team is to lead by example. If you’re giving 110% effort during a game or match, your teammates will likely look up to you and follow suit. The same is true if you’re only giving 25%. A captain’s attitude and commitment can have a domino effect on the rest of the team. You want to be a positive influence on the team when it matters most.
A captain’s fellow teammates should be priority number one, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to treat others unfairly. Win or lose, you should take the lead in reacting with grace and respect. Shake hands and congratulate the opposing team’s captain on their effort. Lend a hand if an opposing player is injured. Overall, treat every player as you’d want to be treated.
Instead of being seen as a sign of weakness or betrayal, your teammates will see your actions as a sign of maturity. You should also talk to the team about how they view sportsmanship to ensure that they treat each other, officials, and the other team in a way that represents your team in a positive light.
As a leader, you should always be available to talk to your players about the team as a whole, their individual performance, and the outlook for your season. These talks are easier when things are going well, but they can be a challenge during tough situations. It’s important to remember that your words hold weight, and sometimes the best thing you can do is listen in an effort to fully understand what your team is going through.
Consistency is Key
Your team may not like every decision you make as captain. However, if they trust you to have their best interests in mind at all times, they will be more open to your suggestions. It’s great to take teammates’ ideas for improvement, but you should also become comfortable with confidently remaining firm on issues that can’t be tolerated.
Find a Mentor
As you will likely become a mentor for members of your team, it’s recommended that you find a mentor of your own to guide you on your leadership journey. Especially when you’re starting in your new position as team captain, it can be a daunting task. Learning from the mistakes of someone else and having a trusted adviser to talk to can ease some of your burden, helping you to make your team the best it can be.