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How to Be a Good Captain of a Sports Team

author image Eliza Martinez
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.
How to Be a Good Captain of a Sports Team
A team captain needs effective leadership skills. Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Being the captain of a sports team requires certain traits that promote other team members to respect and follow your direction. However, the captain isn't necessarily the best player on the team. Not everyone can handle the position of team captain. The coach and members of the team generally agree on who is best for the position. Some teams have multiple captains. Understanding why the captain's position is important to the success of a team helps you carry out your duties for everyone's benefit.

Personality Traits

An outgoing personality is more conducive to being a team captain, but isn't the only important trait for motivating and supporting your team. The Association for Applied Sports Psychology emphasizes the "3 Cs" of being a good team captain. The first is caring. As captain, you must care about the success of the team as well as the success of each player individually. Courage is the second "C" and requires the captain to be prepared and work hard to set an example for the rest of the team. The third is consistency. A team captain must use consistent communication with the team members and always play to the best of his ability at each practice and game.

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An effective team captain leads her team members by influencing them in a positive way. This involves putting the most effort into each practice and game and expecting the other team members to do the same. You'll also lead by helping solve conflicts among team members, understanding all the rules of the game, building team spirit and coordinating ideas into action. The Leadership Expert website suggests taking charge, doing more than is expected, taking responsibility for your strengths and weaknesses, leading with actions rather than words and avoiding thinking you are better than the rest of the team. This will motivate your team to act the same, creating a cohesive unit that performs well and wins games.

Working Together

As the captain, you might have more authority regarding some decisions, such as what plays to use or what uniforms to wear. However, working together as a team to make these decisions fosters a team feeling as well as respect among players. A captain does this by meshing the needs and talents of each team member with the ultimate goal of the team, which is winning games. For example, this might mean switching the playing position of a couple players if their skills aren't helping your team score.


Some people are born leaders, but this doesn't exclude others from being an effective team captain. If you'd like to be the captain of your sports team, talk with coaches and players who have held the position, advises the Association for Applied Sports Psychology. This is a valuable way to learn the attributes and skills that will help you. Reading books written by coaches and professional sports figures is another way to gather information about good techniques for a team captain.

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