Coaches, athlete consider process of choosing team captains, acknowledge its importance

Ethan+Katz+%28center%29%2C+tennis+player+and+senior%2C+talks+to+his+teammates+on+the+court.+According+to+Katz%2C+although+the+tennis+team+does+not+have+captains%2C+he+looks+forward+to+mentoring+his+younger+teammates+and+lead+the+team+well.+

Ethan Katz Submitted Photo

Ethan Katz (center), tennis player and senior, talks to his teammates on the court. According to Katz, although the tennis team does not have captains, he looks forward to mentoring his younger teammates and lead the team well.

Daniel Kim

According to Football Head Coach John Hebert, sports provide a foundation for coherent teamwork and success and at this school, team captains are an example of that leadership.

In almost every sport, new team captains are chosen to help lead the team each year. For example, in football, according to Hebert, he chooses team captains very frequently.

“Each week there will be four captains (last year it was two due to COVID-19 protocols) that walk out to the middle of the field for the coin toss,” he said via email. 

“In the course of the 2020 season, 11 different players were selected captain at least once,” Hebert added. “I typically name the captains for each week prior to Thursday’s practice in front of the team, which usually results in an uproar of applause.”

Hebert said he names captains frequently in order to acknowledge the players that regularly give their all during practices and games. In fact, Hebert said an athlete may even be named as a captain consecutively if they repeatedly show exemplary performance.

“We tell those selected that they represent us and all that we do as a team because they earned it,” Hebert said. “If someone that has been named captain has an outstanding game while fulfilling that role, they (will) likely earn it again the next game if they have a great week of practice.”

Another example of student leadership can also be seen on the tennis team. Although there are no official team captains chosen by the coach, according to Ethan Katz, tennis player and senior, seniors often take on the role due to their experience on the team.

“Usually the seniors are thought of as the leaders and do what a normal team captain would do,” Katz said.

For example, according to Katz, a senior has served as a team captain for him by teaching him.

“A (senior) has helped me by connecting with me on a more personal level which helped me improve by learning under them and looking up to what they are,” Katz said.

However, not all sports team captains are selected in the same manner. According to Frank Dixon, the women’s soccer head coach, the process of deciding team captains for his team involves more steps than usual.

“The Girls’ softball head coach, Emily Good, told me about some leadership courses that she used with her team. I purchased the textbooks and we have used them ever since,” Dixon said via email. “It is now a requirement that candidates for captain take both courses and help teach a course before they can be considered for the captain’s position.”

Additionally, instead of frequent team captain selections, Dixon said he selects the team captains once during the season.

“We now select the captains either just before tryouts or immediately after tryouts.  This depends on how confident we are in our selections,” Dixon said. “Sometimes we need those few extra days to be sure we are making the correct choice.”

Katz said he believes, regardless of the sport, a team captain should demonstrate a whole list of attributes.

He said, “Great leadership, communication, confidence, as well as caring and compassion because these are all needed in order to be considered a leader of a team.”

Becoming a team captain with these qualities can be a challenging and important role; however, Katz said he is looking forward to portraying one this year.

“I plan on helping to lead the team when I become a senior,” Katz said.

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