What a Captain Does in Volleyball and Why it is So Important | GMTM
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What a Captain Does in Volleyball and Why it is So Important

ByRebekah Morris

Published on Thu May 06 2021


4 min read

What a Captain Does in Volleyball and Why it is So Important

Being a captain for any sport is a privilege that one must not take for granted.

Every team will vote and choose their captains differently. Sometimes the coach will let the players vote for their captains, sometimes the coaching staff might deliberate and choose the captain themselves, and sometimes there might be a different sort of revolving captain council happening for the team.

No matter how the captain is picked, once a captain their role on the volleyball increases to one of a leader. And because of that responsibilities and roles evolve.

Being the best player on the team doesn't automatically give that player the right to be a captain. Sometimes the best players on a team should not be a captain.

Being a captain goes beyond playing level and into something a little deeper. Captains need to inspire and motivate others to reach a goal that everyone is working hard for.

What A Captain Literally Does

A captain is the person who will stand with the referees and other team before the match and do the coin toss to see which team serves and which team chooses the side of the court they want to start on. That's what everybody gets to see the captain do.

There is also a floor captain, who might be a team captain or might not be. Floor captains are usually players who never leave the court and players who understand the rules of the game and are able to be assertive in their choices. The floor captain will talk to the R1 if there are any questionable calls or plays and will relay the decision back to the coach and teammates before the game continues.

Being A Leader Behind the Scenes

Behind the scenes, behind everyone's eyes, the captain is also the person who helps lead the team. They build the culture, with the coach, that the team wants to continue.

A captain supports the teammates while also pushing them to be their best, to work harder than they think they can work.

A captain pushes herself in the weight room so that people will follow.

A captain addresses any conflicts before a conflict turns into a problem.

A captain cheers for their teammates the loudest.

A captain gives 100

in every drill during practice and during games to show that nothing else besides being all in is acceptable.

Qualities Needed To Be A Team Captain

There are numerous qualities that a captain should have in order to lead a team well. Here are some qualities that are very important for a captain to have or emulate while leading a team to reach a desire goal:

  • A captain puts the team first. They have a team focus on put their own beliefs, thoughts, and performance  behind the vision of the team.

That doesn't mean that a captain doesn't work hard or work on their own game, but it does mean that they understand the bigger picture and will put the team first to focus on what the team needs as a whole instead of what an individual player needs.

  • Communication skills are needed as captains will be the people who are the go-betweens to the players and coach.

A coach wants to have a good relationship with the captains and so the captains have to put effort into that relationship and be able to communicate well with the coach. A captain also needs to know their teammates and work to have a relationship with the players in order to grow the team bond and gain trust between the team.

  • A captain needs to be intense.

"Go, go, go, go" a captain yelled at me while I was in college, encouraging me to run after a shanked ball from a different player. Their intensity doesn't need to be the loud kind, it can even be a quiet kind of intensity, but through their intensity one should be able to see a captain and that the captain is committed, competitive, and concentrated.

  • Every person on the team matters and a captain respects every person and the role that each of them play.

If a captain respects a teammate, then respect should be given back, especially if the captain is working hard and has many of these qualities.

  • A captain is "always on," and has a strong work ethic and understand that she is a representative of the team.

A captain is a captain during the season and during the off season as well. If the captain is going to the weight room during the off season and attending open gyms than people will see what is expected.

  • A positive attitude will win players over and inspire others to continue to be positive even amidst moments of doubt or frustration.

That doesn't mean the captain needs to be a cheerleader all of the time, and along with a positive attitude a captain needs to set and push for expectations when those expectations aren't being met due to laziness or a lack of trying.

Why These Tips Are So Important

Again, being a captain is a privilege. It is a hard job and one that should be looked upon with pride if one is doing it well.

There are going to be moments as well where a captain might mess up, they might make a mistake or have a bad day and not be the captain that they should be. If that happens, apologizing to the team and acknowledging the flaw will go a long way with the team and hopefully earn some understanding and trust.

No one is perfect, not a captain or a coach, and during these moments it's important to address the situation.

These qualities are qualities that a captain should have or work to have so that they can be the best captain for their team.

Whether your goal is to go to state, to have a certain record, to beat a rival team, or to be conference champs, the captain is a person who will help lead the team to the success of failure of that goal. If a captain possesses all of these qualities, there will be a higher chance for success than failure.

Rebekah Morris is a contributing writer and former D-III volleyball player at Minnesota-Morris, with over a decade of experience at the club, high school, and collegiate levels. She currently serves as head coach at her former high school in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

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