The spring season is upon us. Teams are going through all their preseason work. One of the rituals, unless it already has happened, is the picking of the captains. Who among the group of kids is going to show the traits that you look for in a leader?
As a coach, what are these traits you are looking for in the kids who you feel could be a leader? Does an athlete have to have every single one or do you weigh some more than others?
Those are questions each coach needs to figure out for him or herself. Right now, let’s list (in no particular order) the traits you want to see in your athlete that show the traits of a leader:
- Hard-Worker – I don’t know if that is the name for a trait, but that should be one of the more important items on the list. This individual has to be a hard-worker. Someone that will give it his/her all in practice, games, whatever it calls for. You need a good example of this so that if needed, you can point to this person at any moment and you will see someone working his/her tail off.
- Encourages Others – I need positivity out of my leaders. I need athletes who cheer on their teammates when they are competing. These athletes willingly help their teammates through the tough times of a practice. Always looking to help their fellow teammate whenever possible.
- Honesty – This is a no-brainer, but this person is someone you know when they say something, it is the truth. Do I need to explain this more?
- Accountability – There are no excuses with this person. If you ask to be at a certain place at a certain time, that person is there. If something happens and that person does not show up on time, there is no excuse. That person screwed up and will take the responsibility of that.
- Best Athlete? – I don’t think your best leaders have to be your best athletes. It would be nice because it helps keep the other kids in line. But, if that person doesn’t have some of the other qualities then this person is your best athlete, but NOT your best leader.
- Communicate – There are two ways to communicate. You have your verbal communicators that can get a point across. They can help the other athletes because they understand the process well. They can also help the chain of communication between coaches and players. There is also the non-verbal communication. These people lead by their actions and they do it very well. They don’t have to say a word, but you can sense they have all the traits you need in a leader by their actions.
- Decision-Making Ability – This is a composite of several of the traits above, but because these athletes have been through the trenches before, they can make good decisions for the team when they play. It also isn’t just good decisions in the game, but they make good decisions in life. You need someone you trust if put in a questionable predicament, they will make the right decision all the time.
There could be other traits that you could add to this list and I probably would not argue on any of them. Tell me what others you would add to this list in the comments below.