Leadership is imperative in team sports. It fosters and maintains success in every facet of a player’s life. The question becomes does age define who can be an effective leader? How young is too young? More so than any other time, children have a voice, and they want adults to know they are observant and capable. Considering this gives fresh insight on what was once thought unmanageable for youth. With the right foundation, children can be effective sports team leaders. Below we have put together a list of why youth make efficient sports team leaders and included what adults can do to help them along the way.
1. They love to talk
If you ever feel short on friends, walk into a daycare; you will have plenty with a lot to say about everything and endless questions. Youth harbouring an innate joy for talking is great when it comes to leadership. Being able to communicate is vital to connecting with team members and establishing a community. Adults can manage this by continuing this innate drive children have for communication. Keeping that talking flame blazing will bring collaboration by helping them remain team players.
2. They are honest
Children speak from the heart. They mean what they say and say what they mean. This honesty can aid them in being effective leaders because they are able to relate to other children and, in turn, keep each other accountable. For example, if Billy knows Jimmy loves video games and assumes that is probably why Jimmy missed Saturday practice, then Billy can motivate Jimmy to put the field before the console. This level of interaction develops maturity and responsibility in the long-run as well. However, adults should be vigilant and teach youth that bullying is never the goal. Educate them on what bullying is, and remind them that helping your teammate become better for himself and the team is the goal in mind.
3. Easily motivated
Youth are often very eager and excited about the things around them. They find joy in everything, and this energy can be very contagious and beneficial. Leadership in every realm involves continuously inspiring those around you. This is especially true in a team sport where losing games from time to time may cast shadows of melancholy and fatigue. When this happens, it can be difficult for an adult figure to out what is wrong and ease the emotional turmoil. When kids get emotionally blue, it is easier for someone their own age to pull them to a positive emotional state.
Unfortunately, negative energy can be just as contagious as positive energy. Adults should constantly monitor how kids are feeling to avoid an unintended domino effect of tears and self-doubt.