As the captain of your team, your position comes with great rewards. Unfortunately, it also comes with many risks.

Captainship in youth sports is often viewed as a popularity contest. However, true leadership is far from that. Here’s a better understanding of a captain’s responsibilities:

Rewards of Leadership:

1. Helping Others Succeed

In order to help your team succeed you must first figure out what makes them tick. By discovering this you can help alleviate and avoid stressful situations. This will, in turn, help push your teammates harder to become better players.

2. Impact On The Team’s Success

With your time and energy invested in yourself and the team, it is quite easy to feel you had a part in any success the team endures.

3. Leadership Positions In Youth

By obtaining and holding leadership positions at a young age, you are given much more practice and experience to prepare you for future leadership positions. Perfecting leadership skills now will help streamline your learning for later on in life.

Risks of Leadership:

1. You Will Always Be Watched

As a captain, there will always be more expected of you by your coach, your teammates, and even your teammate’s parents. All eyes will be on you as you navigate yourself and your team through amazing and sometimes difficult moments.

2. Trust And Respect Are Fragile

What you say and do only a daily basis is extremely important. You must always watch what you are saying or doing and be cautious of who is around you. If you want your teammates to follow you, they must first trust and respect you.

3. You Won’t Always Be Liked

Leadership roles often put athletes in some pretty tough positions. Doing the right thing is not always the easiest thing to do.

4. Jealousy

Jealousy is almost inevitable within youth sports. Teammates may become jealous of your leadership position and begin to think you are given more attention from your coach or even more playing time during games.

5. Dealing With Conflict

Many people tend to avoid conflict. However, your job as a captain is to face this conflict straight on. By stepping into this role, it is your responsibility to help your coaches and teammates deal with difficult conflicts.

6. You Will Take The Heat

Similar to the success of your team, when things go wrong, you will (unfortunately) be the forefront of responsibility. As a leader of your team, the blame may fall on you for mistakes and mishaps.

7. Caught Between A Rock And A Hard Place

There will be many situations where there is no clear win. You cannot please everyone, and as a leader you will be asked to make difficult decisions. Doing the right thing may not be the favored choice, but it is extremely important.

8. Disappointment

Disappointment is often a common feeling among leaders. Even if you are making all of the right decisions and putting your team first, others may still not agree.

Get out there and get to work!

Want to learn more about my in-depth, effective leadership course? Click here to contact Erika Westhoff Performance today. 


‘The Team Captain’s Leadership Manual’ by Jeff Janssen, M.S.