11 Qualities That Make a Great Team Captain

I have been the team captain on most of the basketball teams that I have played on most of my career. But just because your coach doesn't name you team captain it doesn't mean your not a leader on your team. There are several teams where the person that shakes hands with the referees and other team captains before the game are not the actual leaders of the team. Over the years I have had some really great seasons leading my team, and others have been not so great. So with all the experience, I have gained I put together some qualities that will help you become a more successful team captain and leader.

There are many perks to being a team captain. The best one I can think of is that it prepares you to be a leader outside of sports. But there is also a price to leadership and that price is a steep one. There is pain, sacrifice, disappointment, sweat, hard work, time commitment, and obstacles. But what all successful leaders know is the price is well worth it.

I really like John C Maxwell's definition of leadership, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” A good team captain can prove to be a difference maker between success and failure. In this article, I will show you some of the important leadership qualities that separate a good team captain from a bad one.


  • Being A Team Captains Prepares You To Be A Leader In Life Outside Of Sports

Being a team captain is really not much different from leadership positions outside of the sports world. It is very similar to leading your school newspaper, leading your household, or managing a Mcdonalds.  Because most of these qualities are transferable to other aspects of life these are qualities that can greatly help you for your entire life.


  • How the Team Captain can make a difference

  • Different Leadership techniques

  • How to become a great team captain

(If you'd like to score more points with easy to implement steps that will help instantly then click the image below...)

(If you'd like to score more points with easy to implement steps that will help instantly then click the image below...)

1. Commitment and Passion

If you want your team to give 100%, then you will have to show that you are committed and passionate about winning. When your teammates see you getting your hands dirty, sprinting the court every time and going hard in practice they will also give their best shot.

It will also help you to gain the respect of your teammates and give new energy to your team, which helps them to play better. If they feel that you are not fully committed or lacks passion, then it would be a nearly impossible task for the captain to motivate the team to play hard and achieve the team goals.

2. Positive Thinking

Being optimistic means being hopeful of something positive to happen. The team captain should be good at motivating his teammates. Give them hope to go on playing their game no matter what happens. Never fail to give a positive outlook for what the team can accomplish.

Positive thinking enables you to perform at a higher level of play you never thought possible to happen. If you think you can or you think you can't your usally right.

3. Confidence

To be an effective team captain, you have to be confident. People are attracted to confidence and follow confident people. If you are unsure about yourself and your abilities, then your teammates will never follow you.

As a leader of the team, you should have some swagger and assertiveness to gain the respect of your teammates. This does not mean that you have to be overconfident, but your team should know that you can handle yourself on the court.

4. Vision

Great leaders have a vision, they have a clear idea of where the team is headed and what they are trying to accomplish. This vision is usually handed down by the coach through the team goals they set. But these goals are echoed by the team captain all throughout the season.

Having a clear vision gives the team their marching orders, great leaders tap into the emotions of their teammates.

5. Good Communicator

The best Captains try to perfect the ability to speak effectively and persuasively. If you are unable to communicate your message effectively to your team, you can never be a good leader. Words have the power to motivate people and make them do the unthinkable.

If you use communication effectively, you can also achieve better results. It is also important to know who you are communicating with. Some of your teammates may shut down if you yell at them, but other teammates might start playing harder. So its extremely important that you recognize what style of communication works best for each of your teammates.

6. Inspire Others

Probably the most difficult job for a leader is to persuade others to follow when they are unhappy with their role. The best way to inspire your teammates is by setting a good example. When the going gets tough, they look to you and see how you react to the situation.

If your down 20 points at halftime and you come out the second half going harder, they will follow you. But if you pack it in and accept the loss they will too. As a leader, you should think positive and this positive approach should be visible through your actions. Stay calm under pressure and motivate them.

(If you'd like to score more points with easy to implement steps that will help instantly then click the image below...)

(If you'd like to score more points with easy to implement steps that will help instantly then click the image below...)

7. Recognizes Teammates Strengths And Weaknesses

As team captain, you should study your teammates. Recognize what they are capable of doing where they like to shoot from, what they're most likely to do when they drive left, where do they like to run too on the fast break. This information is very important for you to help your teammates get in the best position to do what they do best.

8. Helps Teammates Be Successful

After discovering your teammate's strengths and weakness now is time to make sure they're getting the most out of their abilities to help the team.  If a teammate is best when penetrating, but for some reason this game he wants to try his luck with three-point shooting.

It's your job as team captain to communicate to him in a way that he will receive it that it would be best for the team if he focused his efforts on penetrating. Or let's say you know that your center stops playing hard if he doesn't touch the ball it is your job to make sure he gets it enough to keep him going hard.

9. Take Responsibility

One of the most important leadership qualities is the acceptance of personal responsibility. Never complain, never explain. Instead of making excuses, make progress. You should not criticize or blame others when something goes wrong. Instead, focus on the solution, on what can be done.

When things go wrong in the game (and they will) no matter whos at fault a good captain will try to find what they could have done themselves to prevent it from happening, and what they can do to stop it from happening again.

For instance, if your team makes a turnover as a result of someone not being able to get open on the wing. Even if you're not in the play a captain thinks maybe I could have set a screen to get him open or suggest to the guard to maybe dribble the wing out (this is where the guard dribbles over to the wing, and the wing goes to take the place of the guard).

10. Know Your Teammates Personally

It is no coincidence that the most successful teams I have been on are also the most closely knit teams I've been on, we hung out outside of practice and genuinely liked each others company. I'm not saying that you cant have team success if you don't like each other, but I am saying its much easier and a much more enjoyable process when you're having fun together.

As team captain you should get to know his teammates, on a personal level. This also is a way for you to figure out the best way to communicate with this player and build trust. Trust is a very important tool to establish on a basketball team, its how individuals come together to play as one.

11. Focus

Team captains always focus on the needs of the team and the situation. Focus on results, on what must be achieved by yourself, and by others. Great captains focus on the strengths of the team, on the things that the team does best and try to figure out how those strengths can be used to the maximum.

Your ability as a leader is to make sure that everyone is focused and concentrated on the most valuable use of their skill set is essential to the performance of the team.



In most cases, the team captain resembles the team coach, they are an amplifier of the coaches message. If you possess all the aforementioned qualities then you are all set to become a highly successful team captain but if you lack some of these qualities, then you have some work to do as all of these skills are learnable. That is where your commitment, passion, and integrity come into play. Good communication skills also play a vital role in success and failure of a leader. Get to work, if you desire to be a leader on your team you have already taken the first step by seeking out how to become a better leader by reading this article. Since you've come this far you might as well go a step further and start putting these qualities into your daily journey If you do I have no doubt you will be a successful team captain.





What I learned from getting cut from the team... the second time.  

(Book Recommendations)

Old School Grit- The willpower to persevere with passion and a sense of purpose is what matters most in whether a person succeeds or fails, is what this book is all about.

COMPLETE CONDITIONING FOR BASKETBALL -This is a very comprehensive book on basketball-specific training schedules and methods.

How To Be Better At Basketball In 21 Days- This book has basketball drills that can help you develop basic skills, tips on how to increase your basketball shooting accuracy, and how to toughen your mental state so that you play with confidence, courage, and control.

 Audible- You can listen to them if you don't like to read

QUESTION — Have a question about Basketball? Post a comment on one of our social media pages !

BYL on Social Media:

DISCLAIMER: This blog contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you. This helps support BYL and allows us to continue to make content like this. Thank you for the support!

QUESTION — Have a question about Basketball? Post a comment on one of our social media pages !