10 Traits of Highly Successful Captains

  1. Create a structure. The bare minimum of captaining would be emailing people once a week through the kickball.com distribution tool. This is also how you can make your team the bare minimum of fun. A good social structure thrives on communication and sharing, which is where everyone's favorite social media tool comes in super handy: Facebook! Create a private Facebook group and invite all of your players to it. Create events for every game. Share links to costumes you're thinking about wearing for theme weeks and parties. Post the pictures you took of each other at games. Send eachother links to events that have nothing to do with kickball but you still want to hang out with each other. If you build it, even teams of complete strangers will become the best of friends in no time!
  2. Be the change you wish to see in your team. I may be cribbing from a (misattributed) Ghandi quotation here, but leading by example is the #1 way to create an environment of awesomeness that is infectious and easy to get on board with. Negativity breeds negativity, but the inverse is also true. Simply by being an enthusiastic and positive presence on league nights you will bring everyone around you up to your level.
  3. Go to the Sponsor Bar after your game. Maybe you have a bar you like better than the sponsor bar. There are 6 other nights in the week! WAKA Kickball is about community and camrederie throughout the league, and being a cliquey team that only hangs out with eachother and eschews the league bar for some other favorite spot is a quick way to put a hard ceiling on social opportunities on your league night. Social opportunities are what we're all about! If you have a specific concern about your bar (the service is slower than you'd like, the parking situation isn't great, drinks are more expensive than you'd like), talk to your Community Coordinator! They're there to help, and they want you at the bar: they can talk to the manager about staffing up, work with neighboring businesses to create parking opportunities, and contact liquor and beer representatives to obtain player-exclusive specials. On top of that, get to know the bartenders and introduce yourself as a captain, make sure they understand your value! Bartenders know that happy captains = 20 more people coming to their bar on league night = mo' money.
  4. Do not yell at refs, and ABSOLUTELY do not yell at players. The #1 mistake that people make that can kill fun is forgetting this simple fact: WAKA Kickball is not a competitive sports league. Everyone loves to win because winning is fun, but it's only fun when you do it the right way. Somebody let a ball get behind them in the outfield and you gave up a perfectly preventable run? Explain to them how to make that play in the future, don't yell at them for screwing up. Ref called a runner out even though he was clearly safe? So what? The ref is a human being volunteering their time and doing their best to make your experience better. Yelling at them does absolutely nothing but make everyone around you have less fun, and makes you look like a jerk on top of it. Your players look to you for cues on what approach to take to kickball, and its up to you to decide whether your team is going to be angry, combative, and sullen or happy, respectful, and enthusiastic.
  5. Open lines of communication to your Community Coordinator. WAKA CCs are always reaching out to captains and listening, they desperately want your feedback! Do you love the way your schedule was arranged? Tell them about it so they know to keep it up! Are you unclear about a rule or policy? Ask them! Do you know of a field venue or partner bar that you think would be a better match for the league in the future? Your CC is dying to hear about it. We pride ourselves on responsive customer service, but we need to hear from you in order to take care of you.
  6. Foster friendly rivalries between teams. Nothing brings a group together like a common foe, and having "rivalry" games is a great way to make a week of kickball special. Pump it up to your teammates, talk smack on the GMOT, and generally get excited to go up against your nemesis! Get together with the other captain and make a team bet, or a trophy, or something else that gives the game weight above and beyond bragging rights.
  7. Show up in force at league parties. Parties are the heart and soul of WAKA Kickball, and making sure the whole team wants to come out for these shindigs can elevate you from Captain Meh to Captain Awesome. Help your league's Community Coordinator get out the info and get the dates on people's calendars; your players are way more likely to read an email from you than they are an email from the league!
  8. Don't skimp on theme night. Theme nights can be a little intimidating for more introverted or newer players, and they're definitely going to be looking to those around them for cues on how into a theme to get. If their captain doesn't care that it's theme night and just wears their t-shirt and shorts as usual, it's a solid bet that most of the players aren't going to dress up either. If they're getting messages from their captain that say "Can't wait for theme night, here's what I'm wearing." then all of a sudden you've got a team full of awesome costumes!
  9. Contribute to your league's GMOT. Many leagues have a blog known as the Ghost Man On Third which players can contribute to by submitting posts, pictures, and videos. Reading about the exploits of their team in a public forum will make your players feel far more connected to the league, and good posts can lead to local notoriety and more interaction with other teams. Contribute!
  10. Stay involved, and take ownership of your team. The basic truth of being a captain is that your team is what you make it. If you're involved, active, enthusiastic, and interested in making your kickball team an awesome group experience, the fun will come! Take ownership of the team, and you'll be surprised at how easy it is to take your league nights to whole new levels.
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