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A Team of Leaders

"How will I choose my leaders this season?" That’s the question that haunts many coaches’ minds as they begin their tryouts, practices, and even into their first games. Sometimes the best option is not to choose one or two captains, but instead to develop leadership qualities throughout the entire team. In a blog for The Season, Murray State University Assistant Baseball Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Andrew Morgan gives some tips on developing leadership among all of your players to help your team reach optimum performance.

First, Murray suggests instilling a culture by creating a sense of community and building relationships throughout the team. But that doesn’t mean taking the entire process of creating this upon yourself. Instead, Murray says the important aspect is giving every athlete the opportunity to be involved in discussing, generating, and implementing the culture. This will give them ownership and also help gain buy-in. Another aspect of developing community and ownership is to make every athlete a captain, instead of choosing just one or two, as there are multiple leadership roles on a team.

“Part of this sense of community is also getting each individual to understand that their success directly influences the success of the team,” writes Murray. “By making everyone feel that they have a say and responsibility in the success of the team is key. Coaches should realize that all members of the team should take up leadership roles.”

Of course, this means determining the leadership roles that each athlete will fill. As Murray explains, athletes need to know who to go to in different situations, so making each player’s role known is important. Some of these roles might include tactical, motivational, external, or even social leaders. 

“Every member of the team can occupy a leadership role, and one leader can occupy multiple roles,” writes Murray. “By naming one team captain, you are eliminating members of the team that may have leadership qualities in areas that the team captain does not. Another way to identify leadership roles is to identify each individual player’s leadership traits, leadership attributes, and leadership behaviors, or lack thereof.”

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Last, Murray stresses the importance of taking the time to develop a relationship with each of your players. When a coach takes the time to get to know their athletes both on and off the field, this builds the players trust in not only the coach’s abilities, but also in the fact that their coach cares about them. This also leads to more buy-in from the players, which can mean greater success. 

According to Murray, creating these relationships also shows that coaches are committed to their team. This commitment can also help build athlete buy-in, as they will be more willing to invest in the team and their teammates. Of course, not every relationship will be exactly the same.

“The relationships between the coach and the players must be defined,” writes Murray. “The overall general relationship of authority figure and mentor must be established. This is important so that there is no gray area on who the ‘boss’ is. But not every individual relationship will be the same. The coach must understand what type of mentor each individual player needs to be successful.”

We’ll send ALL OF YOUR COACHES a weekly email newsletter containing instruction, advice and valuable information on:
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  • RISK MANAGEMENT: Keeping your athletes safe at practices, during games, off-eason training, etc.
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