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UK Coaching Team
Rapport Building and Communicating

How to Select and Empower Your Captain

Researchers based in America have discovered that only a small portion of leadership competence is hereditary. To analyse what this means for the appointment of captains in sport, Mike Dale speaks to the experts about the relationship between a coach and their captain

Research conducted by the University of Minnesota in 2006 revealed that only 30% of leadership competence is hereditary. The remaining portion must be learned. Or, in other words, taught. 

Choosing a captain shouldn’t mean chucking the armband at the team’s loudest and more confident member. They should be selected diligently, and their leadership qualities should be honed on an ongoing basis.

Further, the coach’s relationship with his on-field leader is vital.

It should be founded on:

  • good communication
  • trust
  • overlapping responsibilities. 

The captain should set the gold standard in discipline and work ethic, as well as being:

  • respected
  • confident
  • passionate
  • vocal and supportive of others. 

But, important as they are, these characteristics alone should not set the template for the coach’s decision on who to select.

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UK Coaching Team