Traits Of A Great Team Captain
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Every serious paintball team needs to have a captain.  Either one will be named or one will naturally rise to the top.  Otherwise, the team won’t last – without leadership, the team will just be a group of people playing recreational paintball.  While there’s nothing wrong with that, anybody who is serious about the sport will recognize the value of having a team captain and try to make sure his team has one.  If you plan to compete, this is a non-negotiable – you MUST have a team captain to handle the details of the competition and be the formal team representative.  When choosing a captain for your team, here are some critical skills and abilities a team captain will need to lead your team to victory. 

GENERAL LEADERSHIP ABILITIES
The first and most important skill a team captain must have is the ability to lead.  This doesn’t mean he is the best paintballer or even a great athlete.  It means he must be willing to scout for talent, take responsibility for missteps, motivate the team members, accept criticism without getting discouraged, learn quickly from mistakes, gain the respect of teammates, and many other things that you would expect from a great leader.  Once you’ve spent some time with a really good leader or a really bad leader, you’ll understand what this skill set is all about.  Every team captain will approach leadership differently (just like any coach, business manager or other leader) but the core skill set is the same.  At the end of the day, he must be able to make the hard decisions and be respected by his team for who he is and how he represents the organization. 

OUTGOING PERSONALITY
The team captain will be called on to represent the team in all formal competition.  This means he will need to be comfortable talking with strangers, handling public situations, providing feedback (tactfully) to someone with whom he may not know very well and articulate well with media (or other similar outlets).   He must also be a great salesman.  If your team shows strength and promise in competition, it is likely you will begin to seek sponsors or other assistance.  Your team captain must be ready, willing and able to make contacts to seek these types of support. 

ABILITY TO LEAD IN TOUGH SITUATIONS
Have you ever had to fire someone?  Break up with a boyfriend/girlfriend?  Tell someone you wrecked their car?  These are all tough situations and the team captain will have his fair share of them.  Maybe there is a member who needs to be kicked off the team or moved to a different position because he isn’t able to perform.  Maybe there is an alternate who is showing a great deal of promise and the team captain is the one who must tell the 1st string player that he doesn’t get to play that day so the alternate can be tested.  There are many situations where the team captain won’t be popular.  A good team captain will recognize that the team comes first; his popularity will be a distant second or third at best.   

PAINTBALL SKILLS
In the list of important traits, why is this item last?  Well, simply put, because a team captain’s least important skill set is his ability to play an amazing game of paintball.  He needs to know a bit about each position and have an excellent eye for talent and shortfalls, but he doesn’t need to be a master player himself.  His job is to lead the team, not be the team!  He won’t necessarily have the toughest position during a match, but he will have the toughest position on the team off the field.  The team captain will be in charge of running most practices, often acting as the “coach”.  He needs enough knowledge to know how to train his team members on appropriate shooting and movement; he also needs to understand the field positions and what constitutes success in those positions.  He doesn’t however, have to be the best player on the field. 

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