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Varsity captains demonstrate leadership qualities

Sabrina Szos, Staff Reporter

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Staying late after practice, Matt Johnson ’15, varsity boys’ basketball captain, helped his teammate with shooting skills. The following day, that same player scored 30 points during a game. Assisting and supporting their fellow players are just a few contributions among the many that team captains make to lead.

Each team captain is carefully chosen, based on certain criteria set by their coach. Being a responsible and experienced hard worker are all crucial attributes. Potential captains must prove they can lead their teammates.

The process of choosing a captain for each coach is different. Some have nominations while others use a voting process. As for Pat Ambrose, head varsity boys’ basketball coach, he chooses the captains himself as it’s obvious who meets the wanted criteria. When chosen, each captain is expected to help lead and guide their team.

“We have coaches, but sometimes the players are afraid to go to them,” Johnson said. “If we didn’t have captains, [the players] would be too scared to ask questions. We’re there to help them as much as possible.”

The captains instruct their teammates on things they can improve, push and encourage the players, help with drills and keep practice and games going smoothly.

“They have a role of establishing a culture of our team, especially when it comes to effort and behavior,” Ambrose said.

Captains help on and off the court or field. They are able to talk to players in a far more personal setting, allowing them to form friendships and gain trust. By doing this, the captains learn things that are happening within the team that can affect the way the game is played, and they can then deal with any issues as needed.

“The captains are the connection between the coach and the players,” said Sarah Walker, head varsity girls’ lacrosse coach. “Sometimes there’s drama or frustration that I can’t see, and that’s where my captains can help bridge the gap between me and my athletes.”

Whoever is chosen to as a team captain should be able to effectively lead their team, since their leadership skills will be directly affecting their teammates. It is extremely important that the captains are trusted by their teammates and are able to know what’s going on to ensure things within the team run smoothly, Ambrose said.

“If you have a fantastic team captain, they can set the tone and it seems like everyone can be on the same page,” Ambrose said. “If you have a poor team captain, the team can fall apart quickly, and there can be poor team chemistry.”

Not only do these captains learn about their teammates, but they also learn more about themselves. The responsibility that they are given has the ability to shape them as both a leader and also as a person.

“[I’ve learned] how to be an even better leader and how to vocalize more,” Johnson said. “[I have] To bring it everyday. Since you’re a leader, you can’t slouch.”

Similar to how the captains learn about themselves, the coaches can also learn. Since the captains are close with the players, they are able to tell the coaches if there is something they can do to make their coaching clearer. The coaches subsequently learn more about their teaching styles and how they can help the team. They also learn more about their players and watch them grow not only as players, but as people as well.

“I’ve learned that anyone who’s going into a team captain role is going to see change within themselves,” Walker said. “Whoever they are as a player and a person prior to taking on that role is going to change no matter what. They have a position within the team; they have a title that can do good or bad things for a player.”

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Varsity captains demonstrate leadership qualities