Dedication essential to becoming sports team captain

January 28, 2011 — by Sarah Hull and Parul Singh

Sports team captains often form the backbone of a team and are essential to a team’s success, offering motivation and encouragement to fellow team members. The road to becoming a captain, however, involves both dedication and hard work.

Captains are either chosen by their coach or elected by their teammates, usually for their strength in leadership or their commitment to the team.

“Players who want to become captain should always try to be the one who stays behind to pick up equipment or help the coach out,” said junior Manish Raghavan, captain of the boys’ varsity soccer team. “You have to always work hard and give an example that people can follow.”

The purpose of having a captain is to motivate the team and make sure things get done the way they’re supposed to, Raghavan said.

Junior Louise Guy, one of the girls’ cross country team’s three captains, agrees with Raghavan, arguing that a captain’s most important quality is the ability to inspire their teammates to do their best.

“The real thing about being a captain is that you have to help people push [through the pain],” said Guy. “You have to be really encouraging.”

Girls’ varsity basketball coach and history teacher Mike Davey feels that a captain needs to be willing to give their teammates constructive criticism in addition to motivation.

“A captain needs to lead by example and with encouragement, but they also need to tell people when they’re not doing what they should,” Davey said. “They have to demonstrate all of the traits that you want to whole team to follow.”

Though there are some challenges associated with the position, Guy believes that being a captain is a truly rewarding experience.

“As a captain it’s really great to see improvement and to know that you helped put that in motion,” Guy said. “We have girls out there who start out and they can’t even run two miles straight and by the end of the season they’re breaking 10 minutes a mile.”

Captains are typically either chosen by the coach or voted into the position by the players.

“I’ve done it a lot of different ways,” said Davey, who selected the captains himself this year. “[How captains are chosen] really depends on the environment and feel of the team.”

Skill, although important, is not always the determining factor in captain selection according to Guy.

“If someone wanted to be captain [of the cross country team], I would say that it’s a lot more than being a fast runner,” she said. “I’m not the fastest person on the team but I was made captain because I know what it takes and I know what these girls are going through.”

Raghavan, however, believes that athletic ability is key to being able to set an example for the rest of his team. He therefore believes that skill, to some degree, impacts captain selection.

Senior Gavin Peake, co-captain of the boys’ varsity water polo team, believes that grade level is also one of the biggest factors in captain selection.

“I was a good goalie but I wasn’t a good field player. I think I was only chosen to be captain because I’m a senior and I have more experience than the other players,” Peake said.

In the end, commitment to both the sport and team is key when it comes to assuming the role of captaincy.

“You really have to be there and you have to be supportive. You have to be willing to take [players] who are ready to give up and get them to push through it,” Guy said.

1 view this week