Captains: Leaders On and Off the Field


Carley Nielson

This year’s Spring Captains, (from Left to Right) Kelly Settineri (12) from Softball, Tori Powers (12) from Track and Field, Hannah Minsky (12) from Lacrosse, Keller Brown (12) from Volleyball, and Nathan Brawner (12) from Baseball, know just what it takes to be a true captain. To captains like those at San Juan Hills, a posiitve and onvolved team leader is necessary to build and continue successful programs, which is what makes SJHHS sports so unique.

In sports, the margins between winning and losing can often be defined by the amount sheer willpower of the teams. When two teams of equal skill match up, it will almost always be the team that is willing to work the hardest that comes out on top. In dark times when everything seems bleak for a team, it is the captain’s job to step up and make the difference for his team.

Alfonso Herrera (12), captain of the San Juan Hills High School’s boys soccer team, said, “A strong captain to a team is very important. A captain has to be mentally strong but also has to be tough physically. He might not be the strongest in the team but as long as he gives it his all and makes every challenge he’s supposed to it makes a big difference in the game. You have to give it your very best winning or losing.”

Every successful sports team needs a strong coach to unify the team and focus them towards victory. This has been an accepted fact for decades, but even the best coaches need a leader as a delegate among the players in order for the team to become truly motivated.

This is no different at San Juan Hills, according to the captain of the girls basketball team, Katie Edwards (12). She said, “Captains know better than anyone the struggles their team goes through so they can provide support no coach or parent can.They have a responsibility to make sure the team gets it done during games and they can influence the attitude or energy of the team.”

As well as being a leader on the field, these captains must be a leader off the field. Hannah Minsky (12), captain of the girls lacrosse team, summed it up when she said, “For me, being a captain is about being there for your teammates to the best of your abilities and acting as a role model on and off the field.”
Captains must have good relationships with their teammates and, in particular, know what makes them tick. Different people are motivated in different ways, and it is the captain’s responsibility to know these differences. Herrera said, “Most importantly you have to know your players because you play with a lot of different personalities and a captain that also takes time to get to know his teammates as people and not just players will ultimately achieve far more respect and effort from them.”

A good captain benefits the entire team, but the work that it takes to be captain can teach valuable leadership skills that can be useful in the future. Marissa Cordero (12), captain of the girls soccer team, was injured halfway through the season and learned how to contribute through verbal communication instead of actions. She said, “I had to help my team in every way I could without setting foot on the field, I used words of encouragement and motivation to contribute to the wins that my team earned.”

While communication is essential, captains also must present themselves in a certain way when dealing with players. They must have the respect of their teammates, but they can’t be too friendly so that their authority is not challenge.  Herrera learned this lesson, saying, “I’ve learned that you can’t treat your players as your friends because they won’t take you serious. You have to let them know that whenever you’re on the field, it means business.”

The importance of a captain can not be emphasized enough, for a good captain can turn an unmotivated team with talent into one of championship-caliber. It is imperative that the athletic teams at San Juan Hills continue to choose strong captains so that they can continue to  facilitate and ensure the progress of successful teams in the coming years.