High school practices have started in some parts of the country, while others are still counting down the days until tryouts begin. Whether you’re already outside on the field or still working out indoors waiting for the snow to melt, it is never too early to establish yourself as a leader this season.
Coaches love players who can help lead their team. Leadership shows itself in many ways, and you don’t have to be the team’s best player to do it. In fact, you don’t need to be in the starting lineup or even have a guaranteed roster spot when tryouts begin to have a positive influence on the rest of the team. While vocal leaders are valuable, you don’t have to be a “rah-rah” guy either to be a leader.
Here are 10 ways to lead by example for established players and those trying to prove themselves:
- Be the first to the field each day. Show that you can’t wait to practice.
- Listen attentively—with eye contact—every time a coach says something.
- Hustle everywhere you go. Being the first on and off the field gets noticed.
- When a coach explains or demonstrates a drill, be the first to do it—and do it correctly.
- Bring consistent energy every day. Pay special attention to your energy level during the middle of practice and games.
- Finish first in conditioning exercises. Embrace the difficult things.
- Practice at game speed. It’s the best way to prepare and it is contagious.
- Arrange a team-building activity that includes everyone away from the field. For example, volunteer to help a charity as a group or arrange a team breakfast.
- Stay late to work on your game. You’ll be surprised at how many teammates begin to stay with you.
- Treat every player with respect as a valued teammate, regardless of role or age.