Selecting Your Captain

| Posted inWeekly Blog

So how do you select your leader?  Do you know who will be your captain from last year or do you need to get to know your players first?
What a great photo of my daughter Bridget and her Basketball Coach, Justin on Mt Wellington in Hobart.  Congratulations to the Logan Thunder team taking the Silver in the Australian Basketball Club Championships for Under 14’s.  It is the best a Queensland team has ever achieved so well done.
Bridget was the Captain and her leadership was inspirational.  The girls loved her and she had a great coach/player relationship with Justin.  Bridget would listen to his calls on the sideline and would lead the team in performing different strategies called by the coach.
Justin would give Bridget two minutes at half time to talk to the girls.  Other teams were amazed, other coaches looked on in awe that a coach would trust a player to have precious time during an important break.  And at the end of the tournament when Bridget’s heart was broken with the loss of the elusive Gold, all the other teams and coaches rallied around her and were all touched by her passion and dedication and were inspired by her performance and unselfishness towards her fellow team members. I was very proud of Bridget and could see why Justin chose her as Captain.
What are some important qualities a captain should have:
•    Demonstrates leadership
•    Shows respect to others
•    Is respected by others
•    Motivates others
•    Inspires others
•    Responsible
•    Leads by example
•    Can speak publicly
•    Confident
•    Trustworthy
•    Approachable and friendly
•    Organised
•    On time for games and trainings
•    Understands instructions
•    Committed to the team
Selecting your captain is a very important coaching decision for the season.  A captain’s job carries enormous responsibility and is not just a title but a commitment to the team until the job is done.  I have had a few captains over the years and also been one myself at National League Level.  I’ve tried a few strategies to select my captain and none as successful as Katie Walker (former Firebird).  Katie would have to be the most caring, encouraging and responsible captain I have had the pleasure to coach.  I first made Katie my captain when she was a teenager and I was able to see the qualities that make a great captain.  Last year we would have a fitness evening once a week and the girls were exhausted.  Katie would always finish first and then would run with any of the girls struggling to finish.  She would glide up next to them and push them home being her usual encouraging self.   Having a captain like Katie made coaching so easy.
In the past I have selected the most difficult player (a complete flop and caused a lot of heartache), the most talented (sometimes the player may struggle with her own game because the overwhelming feeling of responsibility), the quiet player (this can be a mistake as captaincy doesn’t make the player communicate any more effectively), the outspoken player (can stop them from voicing their constant opinions although as a coach they can be hard work) and I have also selected a player that I didn’t know enough (can be a mistake as they may not be able to handle the pressure of captaincy).
A captain needs to be a person you, the Coach, can trust.  Someone you can rely on to help get your message across to the players. Someone who can give you feedback and you can work with.  Your captain is a person you respect and respects you.
The Captain and the Coach can be a formidable team and a strong working relationship makes it an enjoyable and exciting season.
Choose wisely as your Captain may be one of the most important coaching decisions you will make for the season.
Written By Melissa O’Brien