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Volleyball/Team Captain....So many ways to choose one!


Hi Coach Houser,

I play on a college team, lower level, and I had a question about becoming team captain. My coach wants people to nominate themselves as team captain and then have the team vote. Is it okay for me to nominate myself if I am an underclassmen? How do you usually choose captains? It has been done differently on each team I've played on, so I'm curious how you do it.


Good evening and welcome to  
I'm sorry it's taken me so long to answer.  I'm a high school math teacher, club coach, etc.  So much to do every day.   
I, personally, have a very short list of requirements for a team captain:
a) They must have incredible character;
b) They must be a solid player (not necessarily the MVP, but someone who is on the court a lot);
c) I prefer her to be a quick learner, b/c when she has to speak to refs, give teammates advice, etc., her brain will be tested.

I do not expect my team captain to be a cheerleader.  However, she MUST be a role model.  "If the team captain can get away with x, then all of us can."  

A few characteristics that preclude my players from being captain:
a) too often breaking team rules;
b) unnecessarily struggling with academics;
c) not respected by teammates, doesn't work hard enough at practice.
I'm sure there are more, but I can't think of them presently.  

I have coached approximately 75 teams (Varsity, JV, club).  I have only picked a captain(s) one way:  I decide who will be the captain(s) and I announce that.  I told my team at practice last Thursday who our speaking captain would be.  My players will not nominate themselves or their teammates.  They will not vote.  My players don't vote on anything.  (Kids don't vote on where to eat, when to go to bed, or what grades are acceptable.  Do they?  No.  Therefore, my players don't vote on who will be their team captain.)

In almost all cases, the more power a coach gives to players (or parents give to their children), the more unhappy, un-united, the team will be.  The less power the players have, the less likely the players will dislike each other.  Sure, they may be angry with a coach's decison; but, a team can function in that fashion.  A female vball team, however, will usually not function well if the members are mad at each other.

OK, back to your question:
* If you want to be speaking captain, then yes, sure go ahead and nominate yourself.  Sounds as if your coach really doesn't care who nominates themselves.  However.....
*** the older players like you?  If you're voted team captain, will it destroy friendships (like when a teacher becomes the school principal)?  
***  .......and, you may want to find out if the coach gives his captains any punishment powers or expects the captain to snitch.  If so, then this may not be something for a soph or a junior.  

I'm glad that you emailed me.  I hope you come back soon!
And, if you really want to have some fun, please visit us at  I think you'll love the camps, the smiling faces, the team pictures, and the private lessons we offer.  Please let me know if we can ever do anything for you!  

Coach Houser  


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Tom Houser


I can answer any type of volleyball question: middle school, high school, college, club, coaching, playing, etc. (I am not, however, a athletic trainer! If you have a knee, ankle, back, etc. question, I'm sorry, but please search for another expert.)

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32 years coaching varsity, JV, club.

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BS degree from Va Tech in Math Education. MS degree from Va Tech in Secondary Administration. In the fall, I'll be starting my 31st year teaching high school math!

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