Guest Author - Sandra Eggers
Every league team needs a captain, and itís advisable to also have a co-captain. Many captains repeat season after season, some because the love doing it, but mostly because nobody else will volunteer.
Being a successful league captain does not necessarily mean winning. The entire team experience is about group camaraderie and building lasting friendships. Winning is fun too, and some teams are formed for the sole purpose of winning, but most players just like to have fun with a nice group of friends.
The team captain in league is like being a leader in the workplace or being a parent at home. You need to be organized, communicate clearly, and most of all be flexible. No matter how much planning you do, there will always be last-minute firedrills and emergencies that need your attention.
Team players appreciate a captain with good leadership qualities. You wonít get paid for being captain, and you will have to make sacrifices, but itís all worth it for an unexpected ďthank youĒ from a player who recognizes all the work youíve put in.
If your league team feels like you have things under control, they are more likely to be supportive and responsive whenever you need something, and you will always need something, like a last-minute sub, or more players for a rescheduled match. Gaining the respect of your team is of utmost importance. A co-captain can come in handy to help fill in when life gets in the way and you canít focus on your team. Donít hesitate to name someone to this role.
Just like the leader of any group, team, or family, communication is key. Communicate clearly and communicate often. Decide what you want to say and say is succinctly so that players need only to glance quickly at the email to get your message. Some prefer text, so figure out who that is, and adjust your communication accordingly. There are others who only respond to a personal phone call. Itís all part of the captainís job.
After organization and communication, a captain just needs to be flexible, and have patience and understanding with the team. There are so many rules and exceptions that your players will impose on you that your flexibility will help diffuse most situations. Mostly it happens with doubles players who will or wonít play with certain people. Just try your best to accommodate, and explain with empathy when you cannot grant their wish.
League tennis is a fun and rewarding experience. Being captain of a league team can be the same, but itís a whole lot of work too. On the plus side, though, one of the perks is that you get first priority to put yourself in the lineup.
Have fun on the courts!