The Coyote sports teams all have differing leadership styles. Whether everyone takes on a leadership position or designated upperclassmen serve as team captains, each team has their own style that works best for them.
The golf teams, soccer team and tennis team, to name a few at USD, tend to find that having designated captains works best for them. On the other hand, the softball team does not have captains set aside.
Communication is key
Abby Dufrane, a sport management major and captain of the golf team, said their coach picks captains based off of who he thinks would make a good leader. She said she likes being a captain because of how important the girls on the team are to her.
“I definitely have taken these girls in my arms in almost a nurturing way,” she said. “They mean the absolute world to me. Without them, I know I couldn’t be as good as a leader.”
Dufrane said team captains are important because they develop leadership and they give the team someone to talk to besides the coach.
“If you don’t have team captains, it almost becomes just a scramble, no one knows what’s going on,” Dufrane said. “There’s no communication.”
Katlin Ptacek, a senior economics major and one of the captains of the soccer team, said having team captains is important for communication.
“I think the biggest thing is just being a liaison between the coach and the players,” Ptacek said. “A lot of it’s just organization things too like what time, to be where. Just trying to keep the team on the same page.”
Ptacek said the soccer team votes on new team captains every spring.
Barbora Kollarova, a senior finance major and captain of the tennis team, said for her team, communication with the coach is very open so her role as team captain is to set an example as well as make sure the newer players understand the rules.
“I think it’s about having some person there you know you can go to whenever you need something,” Kollarova said.
One thing that Kollarova said could be hard about being a captain, is not becoming too bossy.
“I think it’s just very tricky to find a balance to be a person who has a voice and resolves the problems when necessary but also show people that you treat them equally,” Kollarova said.
Everyone is a leader
Team captains aren’t necessary for every team, though. Christy Warnock, a senior human resource major and softball player, said her team doesn’t have captains because their coach doesn’t want to designate one single leader.
“He (the coach) wants everyone to be a leader, from freshman to senior,” Warnock said.
Warnock said she thinks this works well for the team, but the players also know who to go to if they have questions.
“We all know that there’s kind of, just like there is on every team, a little bit of a hierarchy just based off of age,” she said. “So everybody knows like, ‘hey if we have a question we can ask the seniors,’ just because we’ve been around the block a few times.”
With this type of leadership, Warnock said she has seen younger players emerging into leaders of their own.
“I think it takes a little bit for freshmen, but once you kind of play a little bit and get into a groove, they start to emerge a little bit,” Warnock said. “Then definitely sophomore and junior year you start to see the players kind of come into their own.”