Picking Captains

Discussion in 'Coach' started by 808SoccerCoach, Aug 9, 2014.

  1. 808SoccerCoach

    808SoccerCoach New Member

    Jul 29, 2014
    With my team picked and the first few practices behind us, I have turned my attention to picking team captains. in my experience, team captain's have been vital to building a successful team. leadership and communication can not always be left to a coach… especially while in game on the field… and having effective captain's can be the difference between a team folding in crunch time under pressure or pulling together, turning the tide and scoring a winning a goal at the end.

    in my experience as an assistant coach, i've had the luxury of seeing how several different coaches approach the assigning of team captains. the most popular are by player vote, coach pick or some combination of the two. i've seen these different strategies work well or fail depending on the situation.

    With my first go at this as a head coach i'm trying to take the best of everything i've seen so far and put my own personal spin on it based on books i've read about leadership and nation building. Let me preface this by saying also, that based on my experience as well as the information i've seen on the subject is that there are two very effective ways of governing: democracy and military dictatorship.

    As Americans, we have seen first hand how well democracy has worked in this country. It is the basis for personal individual success and freedom that we have seen in our nation. On the other hand, other countries have found success and STABILITY using military dictatorships. Obviously, some of these countries under military dictatorships also suffer huge humanitarian atrocities, but they are also extremely effective at getting a large group of people to act in unison towards a common goal.

    That being said, I will employ a means of determining team captains that take both strategies into consideration.

    There will be 2 team captains. The first will be elected via vote by players and coaches. Players receive 1 vote while coaches receive 2. We will total the votes and the player with most votes will be elected team captain. The second team captain will be determined by "physical force". We will have a single elimination tournament with all remaining players. 2 opposing players will be stand on opposite ends of a 10 by 10 square coned off. A ball will be rolled into the center the square, at which time players will need to run into the square, grab the ball and try to leave the square with the ball in their possession. Kicking, punching, tripping and hair pulling will not be allowed, but I want to see them "fight" for that ball.

    I really believe this best of best method will allow for the team captains to be the best of both worlds… one will be able to politically get what he wants done because he is popular and the people's leader. The other will be able to get what he wants done because he is respected physically by the other players.
     
  2. nicklaino

    nicklaino Member+

    Feb 14, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    How old are the players? In the adult game

    First captain has to be a starter. He helps team mates to do that he has to be able to play his own position well first before he can help team mates.

    He has to be a leader on the practice field. Their is such a thing as peer pressure . Sometimes he has to put his team mates under pressure in practice.

    He has to have team meetings with the coaching staff so they are on the same page on what they are trying to do in the game tacticly.

    In games their is more adjustments then actual coaching. The coaching is done on the practice field.

    Most games are won on matchups. Teams with best matchup Wins the game.

    Coach has to make an adjustment they usually did it at the half. The captain can do it in real time now. Wait you will find yourself on a bad matchup. It won't get better by itself. You most likely will be behind at the half.

    A good captain in the adult game can make a difference of four more wins then you would have had with a bad captain or no captain.

    A captain is not a popularity contest. Coach should pick the captain.
     
  3. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    #3 rca2, Aug 10, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
    For U-Littles I used the captain position as a development tool. I assigned co-captains on a weekly basis and rotated everyone through the positions. It worked well, and was part of my team building strategy.

    The players voted on a team name. That is as much democracy as I allowed U-Littles. I coached U10 and U12 girls. Allowing them to vote on a captain is a bad move if you want to build a strong, i.e., unified, group.
     
  4. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Just have 'em run ladders, last one standing gets to be captain. For life.
     
    Ihateusernames repped this.
  5. blech

    blech Member+

    Jun 24, 2002
    California
    This is a u8 team, right? Put me in the camp of rotating captains at games.
     
  6. 808SoccerCoach

    808SoccerCoach New Member

    Jul 29, 2014
    what happens if you get a weak captain for a game? how can you expect him to rally the team?
     
  7. 808SoccerCoach

    808SoccerCoach New Member

    Jul 29, 2014
    i like this idea… i'm going to try and incorporate this into our selection process. thanks!
     
  8. 808SoccerCoach

    808SoccerCoach New Member

    Jul 29, 2014
    have you found that the other kids accept the appointed captain as leader? what if he is not a natural leader or the other kids do not respect him? i assume you take this into account when you choose?

    everything i've read has said that the government (in this case team captain) must be given the power to govern by the governed (the kids on the team) in order to be successful. Otherwise, you need someone who can maintain power by force.
     
  9. blech

    blech Member+

    Jun 24, 2002
    California
    They're 7. They'll be fine.
     
    Aaron d repped this.
  10. nicklaino

    nicklaino Member+

    Feb 14, 2012
    Brooklyn, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    How did that work out for Steve Sampson when he told John Harks he will be captain for life? :)
     
  11. rca2

    rca2 Member+

    Nov 25, 2005
    #11 rca2, Aug 10, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
    People have to learn how to manage groups by doing. There is not much opportunity for pre-teens. I don't expect the captains to "rally" the team. I don't expect the players to need external motivation; they loved to play soccer. They played approximately 15 minute shifts, 50 to 75% of the match. We played an organized high pressure defense so the pace was fast. For motivation all they needed was a lot of positive encouragement and an enjoyable experience. Which everyone supplied, coaches, parents and team mates. Team chemistry is so important.

    What I used captains for was to lead warmup exercises, take the coin toss, and during the match resolve any issues regarding who was going to handle restarts (although the system included positions designated to handle restarts). This usually only came up at penalty kicks. I expected them to lead by example, which is age appropriate for U10s. I don't know about U8s. That is pretty young, especially for boys, to have social skills.

    I don't believe in the "natural leader" concept. (The Type A personalty concept is not a leadership concept. It is about dominance and personality.) Which is why I chose to develop leadership skills in all the players. I demand that everyone respect all their team mates. (And their coaches, officials, and opponents too.)
     
  12. elessar78

    elessar78 Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2010
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    I was being facetious. Just for the sake of clarity, DON'T do that.

    You seem to be expending a lot of thought-energy on things that don't really matter (player selection and captains). Spend more time figuring out how to teach them to perform soccer skills.
     
  13. GKbenji

    GKbenji Member+

    Jan 24, 2003
    Fort Collins CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Again, 808... they are EIGHT YEARS OLD. The only thing you need a captain for is to say "heads" or "tails" and hand the referee your game ball. Don't overthink this. Leadership skills are important, but this age isn't there yet. YOU are the one who will be "rallying the team" and make decisions. Let them all be captain for a game or two.

    I usually don't select full-time captains until U13-U14. Until then, the captain's band is ceremonial (again, just for the coin toss) and is rotated through the whole team in alphabetical order.

    When I do use permanent captains, I have two steps: 1) vote by the players, 2) coach(es) look at voting results, and make the final selection. Often there is a clear gap in the votes after one or two players, and most times players make good selections. I've seldom had to override the team voting. I have, however, added a co-captain who wasn't voted, or was lower in the totals, who I think would be my top choice. I also may add alternate captains--again, worthy players who may have been lower in the voting, or to "balance" any divisions in the team--who get to be captain if the regular captain isn't present for some reason.
     
  14. tablesetter

    tablesetter New Member

    Oct 10, 2011
  15. danielpeebles2

    Dec 3, 2013
    whoever is responsible for snack that day is the captain, when they are young. The last time we were in a league that did captains I let my snack bringer select a co-captain. they always selected one of the players that hustled, so that worked out fine.
     
  16. 808SoccerCoach

    808SoccerCoach New Member

    Jul 29, 2014
    just wanted to give you guys an update on this… last night we picked captains.

    we picked 3 captains by way of the following methods:

    1. team vote (democratic) - although most of them voted for someone i didn't think was fit for the job… so i used GKBenji's comments and just rigged the election.. i picked someone i thought would do a better job. they're 8 so i'm hoping they don't have the cognitive ability to figure out i rigged it… you think they'll be mad if they do figure it out??

    2. the "by force" method (military dictatoriship) - things got a little out of hand.. we have a couple pretty big and aggressive kids so they made short work of the rest of the kids. one of the smaller kids actually twisted his ankle after he was being drug down by one of the big ones… he cried… and i don't think his mother was too happy… so in retrospect maybe it wasn't that great of an idea. but either way, we have a captain in place that can take things by force.

    3. endless ladders (elessar's suggestion) - apparently he was stated he was being facetious when making this initial suggestion. i didn't see the second post until now so… now i feel a little silly. regardless, i thought it was a good measure of a players heart and "want to". it ended up taking the majority of the practice and then some time afterwards… about 1 1/2 hours in total… we had a couple go down with cramps… but in the end we had one left standing. i was impressed with his fitness and his heart. he is obviously someone we can count one when times get tough.


    anyway, thanks for the help on this one guys… i probably should have listened to you on the "by force" method… that one didn't turn out so well… and i wish i had seen that elessar was joking about the endless ladders… but either way, we just got past another major hurdle and can focus on our training now and getting ready for the upcoming season. games are coming up and we need to get prepared.

    Aloha!
     
    dcole repped this.
  17. keeper dad

    keeper dad Member

    Jun 24, 2011
    As a parent and rec coach I am stunned. I thought, when I initially read the original post, that you were kidding about all of it but especially the by force method. These are 7 year old kids who I am guessing for some this might be their first athletic experience. What is the "by force" 7 year old going to do on the field in a game? Are you expecting he is the one that will chest bump and intimidate the ref as we see in the professional ranks? Are these captains, at 7 years old, going to coach, instruct, correct their teammates during a game? Regardless of the what the league/club may call itself at U8 this is rec soccer and the only thing that should matter is learning and skill development. What was learned by this process? I think you sent these messages; the coach is always right and you have no say (vetoing the popular vote), brute force is one of the most valuable assets for a soccer player, and running till you puke or collapse isn't dangerous - it's expected. Not what I would want my 7 year old to learn.

    I guess I have always thought, is there a need for designated "full time" captains? Even as my son has advanced to high school never has his club, freshman or JV teams had full time captains (Varsity does and needs them) the decisions were always game day decisions based on recent performance or other factors. When he was a freshman the coaches opinion was that the starting keeper was always a captain as he would most likely be on the field 100% of the time and the other was someone that had earned the position through recent events.

    I have looked at the captain role, in the rec game, as a reward that can be "customized" for each player. By rotating it every game you can reward the players that have shown skill improvement or demonstrated your teachings have sunk in. It gives the opportunity to reward the non-star players when they have reached a milestone (scored their first goal, tracked back to help out, built the attck from the back, stopped playing kickball, etc. It can also be used to keep the "daisy picker" engaged in the game and possibly encourage more active participation. To single out only the biggest, strongest, fastest or your teacher's pet really sends the wrong message to children at a very impressionable age.
     
  18. CoachPaulTX

    CoachPaulTX New Member

    Apr 28, 2014
    Dallas, TX
    Club:
    Aston Villa FC
    My captain each week at this age level (U7s and U8s) synchs with the snack schedule. The job of my captain is to pick heads/tails (they are pre-coached as to which way to pick if they win) and make sure the team has snacks after the game. If you are looking to an 8-year-old to "rally the team" then good luck to ya...
     
  19. danielpeebles2

    Dec 3, 2013
    we don't name captains in our current league. the ref tells us which way to go and who kicks off after talking to the kids about having fun and not hitting with elbows and such. my older son often takes charge and tries to help the newer players out, about as much as an 8 year old can do such things. There's generally at least 1 aggressive or fast player distributed to our team and I generally just pull those 2 to the side and tell them to make sure the other kids take a turn at throw ins and goal kicks.
     
  20. dcole

    dcole Member+

    May 27, 2005
    Your posts are cracking me up. Trying to decide whether the quoted post above about "force" is my favorite or whether I prefer the notion of devoting three entire seasons to teaching, in order, the rainbow, diving headers and backheels!

    I wonder if anyone other than me knows that all of your posts are in jest? Either way, keep them coming!
     
    McGilicudy United repped this.
  21. GKbenji

    GKbenji Member+

    Jan 24, 2003
    Fort Collins CO
    Club:
    Colorado Rapids
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Okay, that last was the giveaway. We've been trolled!:rolleyes:

    The only real problem here is that it was far, far too believable that there's a U8 coach out there doing these things. At least, 808's most recent post is the only one that's truly over the edge. The rest, you can unfortunately imagine it happens all the time.

    And 808, if you're not trolling... stop and rethink what you're doing. Seriously.
     
  22. blech

    blech Member+

    Jun 24, 2002
    California
    I knew ellesar78 was being sarcastic. I keep hoping 808 is pulling everyone's leg. Hoping.
     
  23. dcole

    dcole Member+

    May 27, 2005
    I have to say that you lot are pretty gullible. The total universe of 808's posts are an absolute hoot. In one post, he suggests picking a team of U8 players based on who has the biggest feet. In another, he says that he focuses on teaching one piece of "flair" per season, with his three seasonal picks being, get this...diving headers, rainbows and back heels. He goes on to ask for drills teaching the back heel and when someone suggests he focus on dribbling he says something like, "novel idea, got any drills for that?" In this very thread he suggests that he picks captain of his team by having seven year olds literally (i) fight for it and (ii) run until they drop. If anyone thought the guy was being serious about any of that stuff, you need to get a new supplier, if you know what I mean.
     
  24. danielpeebles2

    Dec 3, 2013
    [​IMG]
    he's Will Ferrel on half-caf.
     

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