Dating players traits
Not only is this role also vital, it is the single most important factor for a team's success, argues Wall Street Journal editor Sam Walker in his book "The Captain Class." Eleven years ago, Walker embarked on a research project to to determine the commonalities of the world's greatest professional sports teams throughout history.
An idea for a Journal feature ended up becoming a book, and by the time he was done, Walker had analyzed more than 1,200 teams dating back to the 1880s.
He used a strict and rigorous grading system that resulted in the 16 best teams in history, judged by how consistently they won championships as well as performed at the highest level in their league.
Walker was as surprised as most of his readers would be to see that the one common element of these teams was the nature of their captains — or, in the cases where no captain was formally named, their informal player-leaders.
"The world puts a lot of pressure on athletes, especially captains, to be champions and paragons of virtue," he wrote.
"But these two things do not always correlate." As an undergraduate student at Wake Forest University, Tim Duncan helped his professor write a psychology textbook chapter entitled "Blowhards, Snobs, and Narcissists: Interpersonal Reactions to Excessive Egotism." It became the perfect prologue to his career as the captain of the San Antonio Spurs.
"It also put Buck Shelford front and center where his teammates could see, hear — even feel — the aggression pulsing through him." Soviet men's hockey coach Viktor Tikhonov speaks to his team ahead of their 1980 Olympic loss to the Americans.
Future captain Valeri Vasiliev stood up for his teammates after the game when Tikhonov blamed the loss on specific players.
What you may not have given as much thought to is the role of captain, the player-leader of the team.
They easily won the 1987 World Cup and had a 49-game winning streak. One lasting impact of Shelford's legacy was his revitalization of the pregame ritual, an ancient war dance of New Zealand's Maori tribe that the All Blacks performed before games.