Often times players want to be good captains or leaders but simply don't know how. They don't think in terms of communication, or team first.

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A Team Captains Guide to Developing Winning Culture

Many years ago, early in my coaching career I was fortunate to have strong leaders on my teams. I was a young coach and focused on skills, systems and tactics to win games. We won a lot of games. Playoffs, championships, awards, trophies and accolades came our way. At the time I didn’t realize how key our captains were.

A few years later we had a solid team, but young. We only had two seniors on that team, both happened to be the two best players in the state. After that we were young, raw but talented. That team was frustrating to coach, both of our two seniors finished as #1 and #2 in scoring in the whole state…. But we missed the playoffs.

We ran the same systems, tactics. How could we lose, we had all the pieces needed but we couldn’t win? The reason was, our leaders and the culture they created. We would run stairs as a team and our best players would skip sections, which lead to younger players doing that. Think about it, if a freshman sees the leading scorer in the state do something, he’s going to copy it. I remember saying, “You think you can skip sections of stairs and go win a championship?” We couldn’t.

That summer I studied everything I could on leadership and winning cultures. We struggled for several years after that trying to undo the poor habits and culture on our team. We lost a lot.

Finally, we had one of the least talented teams I’d ever coached. But the players and leaders wanted something better. We started building the culture the right way, our leaders were amazing. That team won more games then the previous 3 years combined. While we didn’t win the championship like some Hollywood movie, it was one of the most fun teams I’ve ever been on.

I look back at one of the most successful teams I coached, we had a player. He wasn’t a strong player by any means, but a special one none the less. As a freshman he didn’t play, Sophomore he didn’t play, Junior he didn’t play, and as a senior he played very little. But he was voted team captain by the other players. His work ethic, attitude and total commitment to the team was contagious. His willingness to give, to do what it took to help another player propelled our team to new heights.

When he scored his first high school goal late in the season during his senior year, I’ve never seen players celebrate. That was when I realized, as much as we want success for ourselves, we are never truly as happy as helping someone else achieve success.

After these highs and lows, I have developed our Leadership lesson.This is how we develop our leaders, and give our team captains guides to follow. They intern help develop our team culture and that culture has led to success on the scoreboard.

I hope you can take these lessons and adjust them to fit your program or team.

Attitude of a team is a reflection of leadership!

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Your Instructor

Coach Mac
Coach Mac

Coach McIntosh is the Head Hockey Instructor at Complete Hockey Player.

Started out as a Defensemen, he transitioned to Goalie where he played through Juniors and College.

He has coach a variety of levels and ages all over the world. From small kids to College, and as far as Tiwan

Using the 4 pillars of a hockey player he has created lessons to develop a players skills, athleticism, intangibles and their game knowledge.

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