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GET MENTAL : Erika Carlson    Leadership is huge factor in sport success. It’s a common myth that leaders are born, not made. The...

GET MENTAL : Erika Carlson

   Leadership is huge factor in sport success. It’s a common myth that leaders are born, not made. The fact is, effective leaders have a specific set of skills. And, contrary to popular beliefs, there are a variety of personalities that can lead effectively. 

   Through education, self-awareness, and lots of practice, leaders can be made. And by the way, you don’t have to be a team captain to be a leader.  

   On the field and off, leaders come in two general types. The first type is a vocal leader.  These athletes are the heart and emotion of the team. They are comfortable being outspoken and being “in charge.” It’s important for these leaders to be hard working in order to earn the respect of the team. Communication is their strength and valuable leaders use a varying combination of encouragement, instruction, and enforcement. 

   The second type of leader is a “leader by example.” These leaders might have a quiet, yet strong personality. They put their heads down and get the work done. Leaders by Example are often highly competitive, have a very strong work ethic and make the whole team work harder, faster and smarter.  

   Take a moment and decide, which type of leader are you? 

   If you are a vocal leader, consider the following:

>>Which type of communication does your team need more of?

– Encouragement

– Instruction

– Enforcement

   Your homework is to use this type of communication throughout your next practice.

   If you are a leader by example consider the following:

>> What part of practice (warm-ups, drills, fitness, scrimmage) does your team need better leadership?  

Your homework is to increase your intensity, focus and execution at your next practice to encourage others to follow your lead.

Simple steps each day can make a BIG difference. Regardless of your status on your team, find the style of leadership that suits your personality best and get to it.


Erika Carlson is a certified mental trainer and owner of Excellence in Sports Performance in Pleasanton.


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