How is a softball team captain selected? From my experience, often it is a team vote and the coaches have the ability to veto the team if they think the player is not the right one. Or, for many it is simply a team vote, and whoever gets the most votes for captain is it. Because we want the one that is going to have the most players look to them, or be able to talk to them if they need to right? I think there is another option though.
What if we gave the team some guidelines in their choice. We can even have a questionnaire that they fill out on each player and the one that appears to fill the most desirable attributes of the leader for their team will be the captain. It does not need to be a questionnaire that is handed in if you prefer, but the team needs to consider the qualities that the coaches put forward when they are making their choice. This would need to be done in writing. So you give the team a list of the qualities and they need to in writing and they need to establish how they feel that their selection for captain fills these or at least some of these qualities. That way it is not just a random choice because they are friends or because the one they chose was the captain last year.
Following are some qualities that you might consider in your recommendations for a team leader.
Softball Team Captain Qualities
Well that’s a no brainer. You want the player to feel confident enough that they are not afraid to come to the coaches if they have something that needs to be discussed. It could be a concern if they have something that a team mate brought to them that they do not feel comfortable about talking to the coaches about. Bottom line is they can not be afraid to approach the coaches to talk.
How does the player conduct herself? Does she blame her shortcomings on something or someone else? For example, how does she react or respond when she makes an error, or is late for practice or a game. A player who takes responsibility and is willing to make changes or does not keep doing the same negative thing over and over is one who is accountable.
A player who boasts her abilities or can never admit that they made a mistake is one who needs a leader rather than one who can be a leader. Leaders as we know need to lead by example and if she is one that the other players see as arrogant and self serving, they will not want to talk to her. She is always right might be how they feel about her or she might have a group that she hangs with and might not be interested in being there for everyone.
How does the potential team captain show up to games or practices? If she is coming unprepared and for example does not have her cleats on when it is time to go, others will eventually follow suit. If you give homework, she needs to be one of the players who hands it in on time every time. How does she stay prepared during games? Do you need to keep reminding her to get ready to go on deck or is she late getting out of the dugout when it is time to go back on the field? A good softball team captain will be ready all the time.
Control of her emotions is important for a captain. One who can stay calm under pressure and does not react when the other team does something that was questionable or during a close call, has self discipline. She also needs to be able to hear what others have to say without having an emotional reaction. Good communication is key in this quality.
This would refer to her teammates as well as to the logo on her jersey. She also needs to be loyal to all of the players and not just her friends. This can be a rare quality depending on how the team was formed or how long the team has been together. When you have a group that has new players on it which happens to most teams every year, a good captain will work to include the new players and to help them blend into the team.
A player who is able to be discreet and keep any discussions between another player and herself and the coach if necessary is critical for a good softball team captain. One who talks to her friends about an issue that was brought to her is going to lose loyalty and can damage team cohesion. It will also likely be the catalyst and beginning of a potential blow up through the season. We all know what those are like and how damaging they are to the group and their potential for success.
The Selection Process
The bottom line is that the softball team captain needs to be someone that all of the team can trust. The coach also needs to be able to trust her because they are relying on her to be the liaison between the players and the coaching staff. It is not enough for everyone to simply like the team captain. There is much more involved in their position than just wearing the C on their jersey.
If you allow the team to select their captain, making the players accountable in their choice will ensure that you will get at least half of the preferred qualities in the team captain. Again, the coaches can even use the information in their selection if they are the ones that choose. It is a good idea to have the team participate in team captain process to ensure continuity and a sense of ownership by the players.
Following is a good article about the 3 C’s of being a good captain.