Finding and Building Team Leaders
By David Jacobson, Positive Coaching Alliance
Every team needs players who are leaders. During game action, when a coach’s voice may not be heard or heeded in time (or at all!), it helps to have players who can take charge of situations.
Players who are leaders also can help teach in practices and drills. Sometimes, just the sound of a peer’s voice can get through to players when a coach’s voice can’t. Also, players may use language or examples when demonstrating skills that a coach might never even think of using.
The first challenge is identifying potential leaders. One way to do so is to resort to sandlot days: Give your players two minutes to name two captains who will pick teams for a drill or scrimmage.
You may get the two most popular or talented players as captains, and that may not be a long-term solution. But at least you will know which players already occupy leadership positions in the minds of their peers, who are willing to take leadership and/or has the respect of teammates.
This is merely a starting point. It is a good idea to cultivate more leaders both for the good of your team, and because as a Little League Double-Goal Coach®, who wants to win and teach life lessons, imparting these leadership qualities helps meet your “second goal.”
You never know when a player’s leadership abilities will emerge. The players who did not speak up as a captain in that first practice may have just had a bad day. With a little success on the field, or new friendships formed on the team, those same players may be emboldened within just a few days.
The more you as coach, and your players, experience different types of leadership, the more flexible and adaptable your team will be as you meet situations throughout the season that call for different forms of leadership. And the more leaders you will help produce for situations beyond the field.
For more ideas on getting the most out of your players while teaching life lessons, take the Little League Double-Goal Coach Course at www.positivecoach.org/LittleLeague.