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O’ Captain, My Captain- Tips for High School Seniors Who Don’t Receive The Title

20130128163451-CaptainI was a member of my high school’s Dance Team for my junior and senior year. My senior year of high school I was one of four seniors graduating. I had been on the team the least numbers of years compared to the other three seniors. Two of the girls had been on the team since sophomore year, and the other girl had been on the team since freshmen year.

The team had spent all summer bonding at dance camp, learning new routines, and getting ready for the new school year. The coach named the captains of the team at the start of the fall season. She named the girl who had been on the team since freshmen year, with which I had no issue. She named one of the other girls that had been on the team since sophomore year, which I believe the coach made captain just because she had been on the team longer. I thought I should be named captain because I had stepped up throughout the summer. I had choreographed a dance that we performed at the football games, and the younger girls looked up to me. I was upset about not receiving the title and that night after practice, I came home and spoke to my Dad. He had not been named the captain of his high school football team because he was not the quarterback. He told that I could still be a captain without the title, it was more about being a leader and someone the rest of the girls could look up to and respect. He told me to continue acting and behaving the same way I always had, and not let the title bring me down.

School is starting this week, and I cannot help but wonder how many seniors feel snubbed when they don’t receive the title of captain. I wonder how often conflict arises between coaches and parents when their kids don’t get the title? Or between coaches and athletes when they feel snubbed? Or between the captains and other members who feel their teammates didn’t deserve it? My junior year and first year on the dance team, there were six seniors graduating. When the coach announced who the captains were, one of the seniors was so upset she didn’t get the title, she quit.

What is the best way to handle this conflict if you are not named the captain and you feel like you should have?

  1. Think before you speak. The girl on my team quit before talking to the coach. She also made a lot of negative and nasty comments about the girls who had been named the captains, as well as the coach. Before jumping to conclusions, try to put yourself in your coach’s shoes and ask yourself why they may not have made you captain? Are you frequently late to practice? Do you have leader qualities or are you more of a follower? Don’t talk badly about other teammates or your coach, that just appears immature.
  2. Approach the coach. Once you have put yourself into your coach’s shoes, if you still don’t understand their decision approach them calmly. You could say something like, “Hey Coach, I have been thinking about the title of captain and I was wondering why you didn’t choose me? Could I have done something differently? If there were certain qualities, you were looking for I was hoping to work on them throughout the year”.
  3. Remember it was not your teammates choice. Your coach chose them; they didn’t put themselves in that position. Therefore, don’t take your anger and frustration out on your teammate, this will just further drama and conflict. Team conflict can cause losses, for a team to win they have to work together.
  4. Accept the decision and keep pushing forward. Despite not receiving the captain title initially, I did what my Dad advised and continued to act like a leader. My hard work paid off and at the start of the Winter season, my coach announced that I was being made captain because of my hard work and leadership skills.


Abigail Clark M.S Negotiation and Conflict Management


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