I think coaching is the greatest profession in the world! When people ask me what I’d do if I won millions of dollars and could do anything at all…I always say coach volleyball. I love it! Now, I may do it at a part-time assistant level that would free me up to travel the world in the off-season…but I’d still be a coach. Of course a major reason is because I love my sport. But the main draw of the coaching profession for me is the players, the team, and all of the intangibles. One of those intangibles is leadership. Let’s see what leadership qualities our captains need to have in order to be successful team leaders.
3 qualities of great team leaders
- Ubiquitous. This is a fancy way of saying these players seem to be everywhere at once. As coaches, one of our major limitations is our inability to be everywhere our players are at all times. That’s where our captains come in! It’s not that they’re checking up on their teammates (though sometimes they are), but rather that they’re always being seen doing the right things. Whether it’s on or off of the court, our captains are held to a different and higher standard than their teammates.
- Unflappable. Our team leaders have to have a sense of calm amid the chaos of stressful situations: practices, games, etc. I’ve had teams with poor leadership where just looking at the players stressed me out. But I’ve also had teams where I never worried about their reaction to being down late in a game, a tough practice, or when there are challenges for playing time.
- Understanding. Our captain’s main job is to be tolerant of the different personalities on the team. I believe that most conflict on teams happens because of personality differences more so than personal differences. Hopefully we’ve equipped our players to recognize those personality quirks. They’ve got to help the coaches manage players who may have failed a test, had a fight with their best friend, or just found out that their grandparent is sick. It’s not easy being a captain, but being understanding will go a long way with their peers.
Cultivating leaders is a fun, challenging, and ultimately rewarding endeavor. So keep your eyes peeled for those future leaders on your team.