The role of the team captain

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Perhaps one of the highest positions of honor is being selected as team captain. I had the good fortune of earning this title my senior year in high school and with it came a good deal of responsibility. Like any thing else in life, you can either treat it as if its nothing or you can rise to the occasion and make the most of the situation. As the year progressed, I learned some crucial things that are important to leading the emotional drive of the team.

The first and most crucial part of being a team captain is encouragement. You have to motivate your team mates, regardless of their category or experience. You have to find ways to bring out the best in those around you and this is normally done by bringing constructive criticism but mostly by motivating fellow competitors even when they dont believe in themselves. In all honesty, this took me some time to develop. Leadership isnt something that is always fun, but with this title, you have the potential to really leave a lasting impression on your team.

Another part of being a captain is to remember that talk is cheap. In short, win. If you expect to lead your team and provide support, you have to lead the way in more than just words. You have to win tournaments and continually place. You have to make it to the state tournament and qualify to nationals. The first reason you want to do this is want to do well. The second reason is that it lends you credibility when you go to encourage someone else. If you have never placed in your category and you are talking to someone younger, it is hard for them to believe what you are saying because you havent walked it out yourself. On the other hand, if you have won big and in multiple years, this can make you a pivotal leader who drives the team by setting a positive example.

Lastly, a team captain should be a good example of sportsmanship in relation to other teams. When there are freshmen or sophomores on a team, sometimes they need to be reminded that although you are in the middle of a competition, you have to have respect for other team members. In return, you will win respect from both your team and other teams. Once again, you have to walk this out and not just talk about it.

So as the new year begins, each team has a captain who will set the tone for the year. To the captains....realize that your role is key and that you have the ability to leave a lasting impression on your team if you walk out a path of leadership. Walk out the path of motivation, success and respect and you will notice growth amongst yourself and your team.

That is exactly right. It is annoying when you have a captain who slacks off and is a bad example. Our team has 2 co-captains each year, and each year I have been on the team, one was dedicated and the other one was not deserving of the position at all, and was only a captain because they were a 4-year senior. That is good advice for captains and I hope I'll get far enough that I have the opportunity to follow it some day :)

On my team, we don't have a team captain. Our coach just doesn't think we need one. However, I think that the principles Brian listed are ones all varsity members should follow.

Ha! I think I said the same exact thing extempt girl did few years ago! I'm Captain of my team this year and I'd like to think I'm doing ok, but based on what brians saying I think I need to be less critical on my team and more supportive....

How do you encourage enthusiasm towards practicing and aiming to win to other members on the team? This year i am captain of my team and i dont really know what to do as far as motivating other members. To them everything else that they do like cheerleading and swimming chump their participation on the speech team. Im not trying to get a miracle out of them but id like to give them some sort of motivation to be more active. Please help with some advice

Hi Alexismolan23,

I would say there's definitely no easy formula and it might not be easy. But it definitely can be done and will be a rewarding experience.

Your team will want to be inspired by telling them their potential and how success at forensics tournaments could help them in school, in the college application process, and make them better prepared for life.

Public speaking is one of the most valuable life skills and mastery of forensics will be enormously important throughout school and life.

Fire them up, you can do it! Congrats on being captain of your team and best of luck this school year.

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