Thursday, December 9, 2021

Do You Value Your Team Captain?



Doug Browne

“Oh, no way. I wouldn’t want to be captain of this team under any circumstances,” Sandy remarked after practice.

Most CTA or USTA participants are well aware of the number of challenges team captains have each season with a wide variety of issues. Most importantly, a large majority of the players are cooperative and support the captain and the pro.

Depending on the team, the captain plays a large role in the success of their team. A dynamic captain will assist in the following:

  • Team roster
  • Practice day and time
  • Practice ideas
  • Players attending practices and matches
  • Team line-ups
  • Away match drivers
  • Team meetings

In my career, I have been blessed to be surrounded by a number of hard-working, committed, talented leaders who did an outstanding job as team leader. The good ones always follow through and make sure the job has been completed.

During their orientation meeting, this captain welcomes suggestions and will go over point-by-point the pros and cons of each idea. She also will allow ample time to entertain complaints and players who offer solutions to problems.

Now on the other side of the ledger, there are certain captains who only serve their own agendas, and this can be dangerous. This particular player wants to gain an edge so she will be taken care of each week during the season.

For example, there is a certain type of player who may not really be at the correct level and fears playing time, so she volunteers to be captain in order to manipulate the weekly line up. This selfish act will undoubtedly divide the team, and there will be anarchy.

Tennis facilities also must be aware of the captain who favors her friends and does not allow new players to advance. Unfortunately, it is common practice to have captains who do not look at the big picture. In the short run, the selfish captain is happy to help their friends on the team, and they are not concerned about the future.

It is vital to have the club pro work closely with each team so he can steer each team in the right direction. The moment the pro sees an injustice; he must step in and have a meeting with this team captain. In order to see each team thrive, there must be as much transparency as possible. When the entire team is included in all team communications, players feel they are in the loop. Even if the pro has a team captain who either favors players or desires to manipulate line-ups, the pro must step in and act.

I urge all team players to reward their exceptional captains with their loyalty and support. When a player hears the gossip, which may divide the team, please step in and act. Sadly, there are always a few players on every team that complain. Even though the captain had an open meeting before the competition began, this player just can’t stop their selfish behavior and wishes to be destructive.

In order for any team to thrive, each player must support their captain, their pro and their team. Yes, one must expect to make some sacrifices for the good of the team, but in the long run, there will be team harmony. Without a doubt, there will be hiccups during the season, but supporting your captain is a great way to solve any problem. Good luck!


Since 2000, Doug Browne was the Collier County Pro of the Year three times, and has been a USPTA pro in the area for 28 years. Doug was also honored in the International Hall of Fame (Newport, Rhode Island) as Tennis Director during the 2010 summer season. Doug has been writing about tennis for the last 19 years.




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