Teaching Leadership in high school sports

Teaching Leadership To Players On An Annual Basis

Teaching and providing leadership is a vital component of a football coaching staff responsibilities. Coaches are not only expected to control the direction of their teams, but to also mold the attitude and character of their players. And, one of the key results of effective leadership is the development of other leaders.

Senior leadership is considered by many coaches as one of the most important factors for a successful team. Despite motivational speeches and t-shirts, team leaders control the locker room and ultimately dictate the direction of the team.

Leadership is not an uncontrollable factor and coaches should have a plan to teach leadership to their players, especially the seniors. Championship teams have leaders who are not only good role models, but also reminds other players to stay in line.


  • 1st – Position: Seniority invites the chance to lead but is the least influential.
  • 2nd – Permission: Follow a person instead of a position.  Younger players have to know the leader as a person.
  • 3rd – Production: Talk must become action. Hardest worker and most committed. Follow because leader gets things done.
  • 4th – Personal Investment: Sacrifice by serving others separates great leaders from good leaders. Personal investment means deepening your relationships with teammates by putting their needs before yours
  • 5th – Personhood: The final level is reserved for those who have been producing and serving others for years.  It is for a select few who have had an influential presence or aura about them throughout their career.



Coaches should plan meetings with their upcoming seniors in the spring of their junior year. These informal meetings should help define leadership and also include food. Players will receive handouts and articles as well as explore leadership, watch videos and do some role playing.

The goal of the leadership program is to develop unity and a tight bond within the senior class. Games and conversations will help your players to gain a deeper level of mutual understanding.


Because senior leadership is crucial to the success of a team, it is important that coaches stress this to their senior players. The greatest influence on a team will come from these players and coaches must ensure that this influence will be positive and not negative.

Challenge your seniors to think about their LEGACY.  They should be able to define how they want to be remembered and use their influence to make it happen. This legacy will define their goals and expectations.

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