How to Become a Team Leader, Part 1: Win Your Class

July 25, 2012

Being a leader in the locker room can be a challenging task for a young person. Some of it may be God-given, but most of the qualities that make a good leader can be learned.

During my freshman year at Penn State, I paid special attention to how the team worked. Who were considered the leaders on the team? What qualities did they possess that made them strong leaders?

Michael Robinson

A winning mindset is communicable and will help you win your class, says Robinson.

I will never forget a conversation I had with a senior cornerback named Bruce Branch. I asked him why everyone on the team always seemed to be hanging out at his house and always wanted to know what he had going on. His response was, "We've been kicking it since freshman year."

That statement really stuck with me, and it made me assess my freshman year differently. What I learned was to win your class, because eventually, the players in your class will be the senior leaders on the team. If the leaders respect you, then the entire team will.

Now, winning your class is not an easy task. You must possess a strong work ethic and show that you care about the team and winning. I say "care about winning" because that is why we play: to win.

Winning is universal and easy to understand. At the collegiate level, where every athlete is competitive and works hard to win, the mindset of winning is something your teammates can see and feel. They can hear it in your voice when you speak and see it in your eyes.

As a team leader, you must understand that not everyone will like you as a friend—that's nearly impossible to achieve—but they will respect you, and that's what's most important.

Return to STACK.com for Part 2 of this 3-part series to learn about the most important communication skill of effective team leaders.

Photo: Eric Schwabel

Topics: LEADERSHIP
Michael Robinson
- Michael Robinson is a six-year NFL veteran and Pro Bowl fullback for the Seattle Seahawks. He hosts "The Real Robinson Report," a sports show delivered...
Michael Robinson
- Michael Robinson is a six-year NFL veteran and Pro Bowl fullback for the Seattle Seahawks. He hosts "The Real Robinson Report," a sports show delivered...
Must See
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 6,012,696
Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs Antonio Brown Juggles 3 Footballs
Views: 1,214,177
Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout Patrick Willis' Homegrown Off-Season Workout
Views: 1,230,103

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 1,018,026
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,983
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,834
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,798
Paul Rabil's Box Jumps Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 851,480
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,381
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,163
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,214

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

The Art of Strength and Conditioning Coaching

The Art of Strength and Conditioning Coaching

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

Mental Warm-Up: How to Build Confidence Before a Game

Mental Warm-Up: How to Build Confidence Before a Game

How Mentally Tough Are You?

How Mentally Tough Are You?

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

The Athletic Brain: How to Learn to Anticipate

The Athletic Brain: How to Learn to Anticipate

Tips to Be a Better Leader

Tips to Be a Better Leader

Does Home Field Actually Confer an Advantage?

Does Home Field Actually Confer an Advantage?

6 Ways Sport Parents Are Doing It Wrong

6 Ways Sport Parents Are Doing It Wrong

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

Why Athletes Must Focus on Developing Their Own Identity

Why Athletes Must Focus on Developing Their Own Identity

A Coach Describes What Its Like to Cut Players

A Coach Describes What It

Using Sports Imagery as Pre-Performance Routine

Using Sports Imagery as Pre-Performance Routine

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?

Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?

5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

How Nik Wallenda Prepared to Walk Across the Grand Canyon

How Nik Wallenda Prepared to Walk Across the Grand Canyon

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

Stress Exposure Training for Basketball

Stress Exposure Training for Basketball

What's Your Backup Plan When 'Plan A' Fails?

What's Your Backup Plan When 'Plan A' Fails?

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

4 Tips for Building Confidence

4 Tips for Building Confidence

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

Study: Athletes Think Faster, More Accurately Than Non-Athletes

Study: Athletes Think Faster, More Accurately Than Non-Athletes

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

Q&A: How to Deal With a Tough Coach

Q&A: How to Deal With a Tough Coach

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

YardBarker