Good teams have good players and coaches.
Great teams have great LEADERS on the team and in their coaching personnel.
The definition of a leader, is “one that leads or guides,” and we have found that there are many different styles of leadership examples among coaches and player on and off the field.
One of the most fundamental aspects of leadership, is that in order to lead…the person leading must have established a level of respect from their team. Leadership is earned.
This is why we believe that appointing leaders or team captains on a team – often backfires.
Leaders evolve and develop over time, and their skill set of leadership is one that comes through the relationship building process with their team.
Just because a person is the most tenured team-mate, or is appointed as a team captain, does not mean they necessarily have the tools to lead the team. If the other players do not respect them or trust them, or if the leader sees her leadership role as some sort of ‘power’ or ‘boss-like position,’ they will typically fail with their team-mates. On the softball field it takes ALL the players buying into the same goals and committed to the same purpose to make a team successful. Any kinks in the chain, and the team will not succeed.
It is important to recognize the different types of leaders that we have seen on the softball field.
Each valuable and offering a positive role to the team in their own ways. While some may be louder than others, the reality is that each player has the ability to be a team leader and to use their personality strengths to offer team leadership.
Remember, there is not just one concrete way to lead…
- The first type of leader is what we call the Chatty Cathy! Chatting, and ‘talking it up’ is often a skill set coached among teams to keep up the momentum and energy on the field. The chatty Cathy leader is the girl who is always yelling out the counts and the next plays for her teammates. They are constantly chatting up their players with positive commentary both offensively and defensively. This player keeps the team focused and on the same page during each and every play of the game. Almost every team has a Chatty Cathy leader, that keeps their teammates heads in the game, and offers on the field coaching during games. This is often a learned and coached leadership behavior, and it is important that Chatty Cathy’s teammates see her as authentic. If you look at college teams, you will see that the majority of the players on the field are Chatting up the game and trying to maintain the focus of their team mates.
- Positive Polly! Positive Polly’s are perhaps our favorite leaders. While they may not be as noticeable from the outside looking in as the Chatty Cathy, they are certainly imperative players to have on the team. They are the girls that tend to lift everyone up on the team. A teammate strikes out, and they genuinely from the heart do or say something to empower them. If they see someone on the team getting down on themselves, they tend to gravitate toward them with a hug or positive word of encouragement. These players are often unselfish leaders, and are most willing to do whatever it takes, even sacrifice themselves for the sake of their team. Their actions often go unseen and unheard, but they are paramount in keeping their teammate focused on the positive. The Positive Polly on our personal team never believes a game is out of reach, and genuinely thinks we can make a comeback no matter how far behind we get. She is truly a blessing.
- Action Annie! Action Annie may not talk a whole lot, but her actions on the field and at the plate enable her to lead by example. She is that player who leads by doing/performing, and by staying mentally strong and competitive, she helps her teammates find a way and will to follow suit. If Action Annie can get a hit, so can they. If Action Annie made a strong play, they can too. These leaders are often overlooked because they may lack non-verbal skills, but they lead nonetheless and typically earn the respect of their teammates through performance.
- Even-keel ELLIE. Ellie maintains control no matter what is going on around her. She is that foundation player, who other teammates look toward to right the ship. Ellie is mature, and vocal and disciplined and is a pillar of strength for her teammates to look to. She is the girl who is able to be the voice of reason, who may not speak a lot – but when she does commands attention and respect from her team mates. Ellie may not get overly excited, but it is her consistency in performance and emotion that makes her such a valuable part of the team.
True leaders, coach. True leaders are genuinely invested in the good will and success of their teammates. Leadership can not be faked. Leadership is about taking responsibility when the rest of the team is making excuses. True leaders on the field, and in life do not want to take all the credit, do not blame others – and invest themselves into the people and goals of their team. Leadership is unlocking the potential of others for the greater good of the team.
Who leads your team? How do you (or your daughter) play a leadership role on the softball field?