It’s been said that leaders are born, not made, but this could not be any farther from the truth. While some people are born with effective leadership skills, many people are not and need help to develop those skills. Leadership is an important skill all student-athletes should possess. For this reason, I have listed five tips to help improve on your leadership skills.

1. Be optimistic

After losing a big game or having a hard practice, it’s easy to be hard on yourself and others. But by being pessimistic you aren’t helping anyone and may be actually bringing the whole team down. Keep high spirits and share your optimism with the whole team; it will motivate others to keep being positive.

2. Offer to help out your teammates

If you notice a fellow teammate is struggling at some position or skill, don’t discourage or belittle them; offer to help. By spending a little extra time to help your peers, you will show how much you care about the team and you will motivate others to help out too.

3. Show your dedication

Effective leaders show their dedication in a number of ways. Go to practice early and stay after to improve on your skills and to help others. Push yourself to practice at 110% every time. Ask your coaches for constructive criticism and what you can work on outside of practice. Doing such things will prove your dedication and will also rub off on others.

4. Take responsibility for your actions

No one is perfect. We all will have our bad days and make mistakes. When you make a mistake, whether in school, practice, or a game, take responsibility for it. Then express how you plan to avoid that mistake again, whether by practicing more or concentrating more at that skill or position. Your teammates and coaches will admire your honesty and dedication.

5. Make the team your priority

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to be the best player you can for personal benefits. However, leaders show that their main focus is the team as a whole, not just individual statistics. Leaders will take their skills and incorporate them so they fit well with the team.

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