"The strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack."
- Rudyard Kipling
Coaches and team captains are the one's that the team looks to for support, guidance, and leadership.
Just because you aren’t the coach or aren’t designated as a captain, it doesn’t mean you aren’t a leader.
Here are tips for being a team leader:
a. Walk the walk: lead by example. Leaders work hard, encourage teammates, and don’t make excuses or complain.
b. Life long learner: never stop learning: There is always an opportunity to learn something new and of value.
Stay flexible vs being rigid: If you are flexible, you are willing to learn from mistakes and improve. If you are rigid, you are likely to continue to make the same mistakes and blame others.
c. Support and gratitude: It's important to build relationships with coaches, support staff, and teammates. You can’t support a teammate nor can you be supported by a teammate if you don’t take the time to build and nurture those relationships.
d. Awareness: If you are aware and have taking the time to nurture relationships, you will understand how to motivate your teammates.
i. Before competition, recognizing which teammates just need inspiring word to get fired up versus the ones that need encouragement.
ii. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to just act and react based on our emotions. Leaders are able to encourage and motivate their teammates by drawing from experience rather than emotions.
iii. After competition, know which teammates need a kick in the butt and which need a shoulder to cry on after a loss; and celebrating success with the team and remembering to give props to a teammate(s) who performed well.
e. Respect: Displaying sportsmanship to opponents and officials are the ultimate signs of respect and gratitude.
f. Vision and Mission: At the end of the day, you have to know what you are striving for, and what your ideals and expectations are as an athlete and as a person. This is what fuels your fire and passion to play and compete.