The Pitfalls of Choosing Team Captains

We will be posting the first drafts of each chapter of our book. This is the chapter on The Pitfalls of Choosing A Captain.

It’s an act of graciousness to be a good follower.

My daughter was on a new club soccer team in which half the team were friends of hers from a previous team. The captain selection process seemed arbitrary. Right before every game, the coach would need a captain to start the game, and she tended to choose the same person, Anna*. Anna is a good player – there’s at least a half dozen players at her same level – and she’s a good friend of my daughter from playing on the same team the previous year. Even though the captain’s duties on this team was solely to represent the team before the game started and determine who kicked off, my daughter felt like Anna was “coach’s pet” and resented her and the coach.

The Pitfalls of Choosing a Captain, Act of graciousness to be a good follower, How to Coach Girls

The Pitfalls of Choosing Captains

Girls are not developmentally ready to have permanent captains for a sports season or an academic year until they are at least 18 years old. It doesn’t matter whether these captains are assigned by the coach or chosen by the team members themselves through a voting process.

Having an assigned captain or captains gives power to one person too early on, which makes for poor followers.

If you think about it, who usually gets chosen as a captain on a sports team? It’s usually the strongest and most skilled player. This athlete already has status by way of her skills. Additional recognition can lead to resentment by her team members which will play out with petty comments, undermining, and rumblings of a minor rebellion.

The most skilled athlete may not have not feel comfortable leading the team. She may not have the personality and leadership skills to lead at this particular moment in time. It isn’t necessarily the best experience for her either to be thrust into a leadership position if the rest of the team isn’t on board.

… to read the rest of the chapter, you’ll have to wait for the book to come out.

p.s. To learn more about How To Coach Girls, check out Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. It’s available for purchase here.

How To Coach Girls Alison Foley Mia Wenjen coaching book for girls


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