Leadership is something all teams need for success, but it’s not always something easily defined or developed. We can’t say do this and do that and you’ll be a great leader for your volleyball team. Here are a few tips to help you move in that direction, though.
Tip #1: Be a model player
A leader need not be the best player on a team, but they do need to represent its ideals. This is mainly about attitude and effort. Leaders turn up on time and follow team rules – written and unwritten. They work at least as hard as everyone else. They don’t complain or whine, but instead get on with what needs to be done. Leaders don’t make excuses. They also respect the coach(es) and everyone else associated with the team. I could go on, but I think you probably get the idea.
All of this may sound like stuff that isn’t part of on-court leadership, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It is the foundation of being the person the other players look to when it’s competition time. A leader doesn’t just turn up for match day and have everyone follow them. They earn that right by what they do in training, at meetings, during strength & conditioning work – basically in every facet of being part of the team.
Tip #2: Communicate
It doesn’t take a loud voice and a constant stream of chatter to be a good leader, but it does take the ability to communicate with teammates. Talking is the most obvious example of this, and all leaders do need to be able to speak at the right time and in the right manner for the circumstances. Communication can just as importantly come from a look, a pat on the back, or a gesture, though. It’s about being connected with teammates and making sure everyone is on the same page.
Tip #3: Put the team first
You cannot be a good team leader and a prima donna at the same time. A strong leader is focused on the team’s objectives, not on their own. Even if they are the best player, a leader nevertheless keeps the focus on the team, not on their own performance. They don’t let their own success or failure individually impact how they interact with their teammates, knowing it’s the team’s success which is what’s important at the end of the day. This is perhaps the hardest part of on-court leadership as we all tend to get caught up in how we are playing, especially if we’re struggling. A good captain puts that aside for the sake of the team.
Think of the word respect and how someone earns it. That will take you a long way toward understanding what you need to do to be a good on-court leader for your volleyball team. Leadership starts with respect. Everything else builds from there.