Sports Team Captain’s Stress at Universities 

The captain of any sports team has to take a lot of responsibility and has to necessarily multitask as a strategist, player, and finally in the case of a defeat has to take all the blame. A team with a weak leadership can never gel together. The captain has to make compromises and sacrifices in his role as a player to accommodate all team players and to put the needs of the team first in all his priorities. The role of a captain is to be motivated which in turn indicates that the captain can never have a bad day and always need to be motivated.

To date, there has been minimum studies inspecting captaincy stress, and none evaluating the influence of regularly team performances.

Team captains play an anessential leadership role within team situations. Mosher (1979) stated that team captains are a proper, elected leader of the playing group and need to share a vital relationship between the catcher and the team players.

Cotterill and Cheetham, (2017) found that most of the team captains were elected based on performance and suitability for the squad and their responsibility was highly essential for team performance and success in any sport

The study of captaincy stress is at a nascent level. Fransen, et al. (2014) espoused the leadership role of the team captain as focused on objectives, inspiration and ensuring that teammates execute their game their peak performance, encouraging harmony and cohesion within the squad and to coordinate with all outside influences. Mosher (1979) discovered three key elements to the captain’s role as leading the team under different situations, the connection between the coach and the players and represent the squad at official meetings.

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Smith (1986), reasoned that athletes face many situational stresses of life, training, and competition and these include rigorous training, meeting performance standards, injury, and preserving an interpersonal relationship.

These stressors tend to get increased due to the responsibility of being a player who is expected to revel with game skills combined with the leadership responsibility expected from a captain. Cotterill and Fransen (2016) found that though plenty of research has explored leadership from the standpoint of the coach, but limited research has so far been carried out in athlete leadership in the team and as well the role of the captain Voelker et al. (2011) initiated that the participants recognized the role of a captain as stressful because of the tall expectations one associates with the position.

Smith, Arnold & Thelwell (2018) identified that research has yet to exactly examine stressors confronted by sporting captains, who need to balance their role as a player and contend at an elite level, in addition to handling the responsibilities of a leader on as well off the pitch This shows that the study on team captain stress is highly pertinent to today’s environment. The study  focuses on identifying the challenges and problems of being a team captain and the perceived stressors that can diminish the performance of the individual and the team.

Review of Literature

Michael, et al. (2019) discovered that there is a relationship between high training workload increased levels of stress at certain periods. Adriana Kaplanova (2019) identified that coping strategies to control stress have a relationship with the selfesteem of ice hockey players, such as concentration, coping with adversity and freedom from worry. Anshel (2005) stated that intervention research is of supreme importance to better create a suitable approach to reduce sport performers’ stress Cotterill & Fransen (2016) recognized Shared leadership as a substantial constituent of a team’s success.

Luke (1984) stated that the role of a coach is to ensure the physical, psychological and technical characteristics of the team while the captain and rest of the players are in charge of putting these characteristics into practice during the game Raedeke & Smith, (2001) defined Athlete burnout as the athlete’s response to chronic stress that creates a sense of physical and psychological exhaustion to the anxieties of training and competing and make them feel sport devaluation in the sport they play

Sunanda (2018) discovered that the dimensions of occupational role stressors such as role insufficiency, role overload, role boundary, role ambiguity, responsibility and physical environment are positive relationship with occupational stress among the employees. Lopez, et al. (2015) found that time management skills appear to be a significant skill to coach student athletes at an early period in the twin career process. Gustafsson et al. (2008) found excess of sport, lack of recovery and huge expectations as the primary reasons of burnout through an interview of Swedish athletes. Tabei, et al. (2012) found a series of negative consequences that included excessive training and burnout as a consequence of athlete stress

Bhadauriya and Tripathi (2018) recommended that the coach should enhance the power of emotion in group situations and individual athlete. Bhadauriya and Tripathi (2018) highlighted that stress management approaches that sports coaches can utilize to assist better performance in sports contest. Yukelson, et al. (1983) stated that captains are basically chosen based on their performance as a player. Smith, et al. (2017) identified seven factors of stressors such as dealing with multiple roles, dealing with selection issues, team stressors, interactions with players, interactions with other personnel, extreme situations and scrutiny and criticism from the media. Rajwant (2017) recommended that usual exercise should be a part of athlete’s regular stress managing habit due to its several physical and mental rewards.

The questionnaire comprised 45 Likert scales reflecting the different dimensions of captaincy stress. Captaincy stress statements were measured on a five-point scale measured as I, 2, 3, 4 & 5 and coded as very low stress, Low stress, moderatestresshigh stress and very high stress. A total of 600 team skippers who captained their teams at the twelve games (Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Football, Hockey, Kabaddi, Table Tennis, Tennis, Weightlifting, Handball, Swimming and Volleyball) in the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) organized Tamil Nadu State Inter University Sports competition 2018 -19 held between January to March 2019 were taken for the study. The table 1 KMO value is 0.871 and the significance of Bartlett’s test of sphericity was 0.001 and hence the data was found normally distributed and designating that EFA can be applied

The table 2 shows the rotated components matrix. The analysis yielded eight components explaining a total of 87.297% of the variance for the captaincy stress factors. The percentage of variance explained complies with the condition that the cumulative percentage of variance extracted by the factors should be at least 50%.

The first dimension to classify was responsibility and accounted for 8.595 percent of variance. The components that make up the responsibility dimension include owning responsibility for defeat, no respite for sickness, being unable to abstain practice even for a single day, multi-tasking, team members giving up on tough situations, daily routine, inadequate authority and having no say in selection process. In sum the responsibility traps one into a daily routing where one has no respite to shy away from accountability for everything that happens with the team.

Sunanda (2018) discovered that the positive relationship between responsibility and occupational stress among the employees. Cotterill and Cheetham (2016) highlighted the captain’s capability to communicate efficiently in different settings to diverse groups as an imperative skill. McGrath (1970) inferred that an inequity between demand and the person’s ability can create stress. Bucci et al. (2012) recognized that the major responsibility of a captain is to continually set the standards of behaviour for the team which can be easier while the team is winning rather than when the team s losing.

The second component that separated was the management factor that included statements such as receiving contradictory instructions from coach, no motivation from management in case of a defeat, focus on end results, game plan differing with the approach of the coach, not having a good trainer and poor travel arrangements for away matches. The factor constituted 7.431 percent of variance. This factor is more based on the rapport shared by the team captain with the coach and team management. Bhadauriya and Tripathi (2018) highlighted certain stress management approaches that sports coaches have to utilize to assist outstanding performance in sports contest. Tabei et al. (2012) found stress to fluctuate based on individual differences and environment, that are pertinent to athletes.

Jowett (2007) identified that evolving a positive coach-athlete rapport was the foremost focus with most of the sports teams. Frost and Uttley (1981) identified that the captain has the ultimate authority on what ensues on the field, and the role of the coach tends to be as an adviser to the captain

The third dimension to classify was labelled as team cohesion which encompassed six components like playing with non-cooperative members, getting a feeling of being let down, non-motivated team members, poor accommodation for the team members, poor training facilty and putting individuals first. This dimension accounted for 5.562 percent of variance. For a team game it is highly necessary that members should cooperate as a team and individual brilliance alone cannot win all the matches. Smith, et al. (2017) found that team stressors influences stress among cricket team captains. Bhadauriya and Tripathi (2018) recommended that the coach should stay to the employ of cueing terminology, players should be grouped jointly for the reason of decreasing fitness level of stress and should think and block out stress aggravating thought.

Carron Bray & Eys (2002) documented that team cohesion played an important role in a team’s success and engagement. Northouse (2010).posited that players inside the team need to accomplish significant leadership functions. Cotterill and Cheetham (2016) found playing with different players, the transition as a captain, and an intense media analysis are challenges faced by a captain

The fourth factor that classified was categorized as self-esteem and comprised statements such as self-respect, no benefits being captain, poor form on a single day getting over emphasized, getting chided for performance of the team, being self apologetic for mistakes and team members not taking prompts properly. This dimension accounted for 5.280 percent of variance. Adriana K (2019) identified that coping strategies to control stress have relationship with the self esteem of ice hockey players. Lee (1984) identified the search of the task goals and pursuit of positive spirit among team members as the broad accountability placed on team leaders

The fifth dimension that isolated was named emotion that involved statements such as family members not understanding pressure, getting emotionally drained after tough matches, getting irritated with host team behaviour, groupism and backbiting among team members and poor umpiring decisions. This dimension accounted for 5.280 percent of variance. Bhadauriya and Tripathi (2018) recommended that the coach should enhance the power of emotion in group situations and individual athlete. Rumbold, Fletcher & Daniels (2018) defined emotion focused coping as behaviour that is necessary to express emotions.

Fletcher, et al. (2006) identified that Stress was linked with negative emotions, unwanted behavior’s, discontent, too much training, poor mental health, low well-being, fatigue, and underperformance. Kroshus (2014) stated that sport as well as non-sport factors such as family concerns and academic pressures can create stress for trainers and athletes. Apitzsch, (2009) found the non-availability of a socio-emotional captain on the playing field would lead to a collective collapse and a heavy defeat for the team

The sixth factor recognized as time included statements such as the need to practice for long hours, academic career getting affected, time consuming strategy sessions, captaincy killing time and no time for studies. This factor accounted for 3.195 percent of variance. Lopez, et al. (2015) found that time management skills appear to be a significant skill to coach student athletes at an early period in the twin career process. Sapolsky(1998) indicated that when stress extends over a period of time the stress would turn out to be distress and subsequently hinder sport performance

The seventh dimension that emerged was identified as fitness attributes and concerned with components such as the need for captain to be cent percent fit, team mates skipping fitness sessions, injuries and lack of facilities for training in away matches. This dimension accounted for 2.773 percent of variance. Rajwant (2017) recommended that usual exercise should be a part of athlete’s regular stress managing habit due to its several physical and mental rewards.

The eighth dimension sorted as training attributes included statements such as a sense of inferiority when facing better trained teams, prefer a coach who can mentor the playing skills, being handicapped by lack of training equipment’s and aborting training during rainy days. Eigen value as 2.773. Which is less than that of fitness factor hence, it can be considered as the eighth factor of involving in captaincy stress. Michael, et al. (2019) discovered that there is relationship between high training workload and increased levels of stress at certain periods. Richard (2005) identified athletic performance as comprised of a multipart set of cognitive, emotional, and motoric rejoinders and whose effect as echoed in performance under competitive conditions.

The figure 1 and table 3 show the CFA with eight captaincy stress. The EFA performed is the first stage of purification. In the next step a CFA was performed, estimating the eight factors for 43 captaincy stress components. When the eight dimensions were allowed to correlate, the fit statistics recommended an excellent model fit. CFI= 0.898; GFI = 0.636; NFI = 0.869; AGFI = 0.677; RMSEA = 0.091 and RMR = 0.063.

The table 4 shows descriptive statistics. The reliability of the eight factors as performed through reliability test was considered sufficient as they are above 0.70. Based on the mean value, it wass found that responsibility (3.7526), management (3.5110), team (3.6956), self esteem (3.8965), emotion (3.7189), time (3.1905), fitness (4.0967) and training (3.6625) are the eight factors influencing stress among sports captain.

This paper takes a look at the contributors of stress among sports team captains as perceived by sports team captain themselves. Hence, team managements need to understand these factors and act in ways to ensure that the players are free of stress. The team captain has to be stress free if one has to put in peak performance. Stress is contagious as the team captain who is under stress may vent out the stress on his team mates affecting the performance of the whole team.

Even a small stress is risky as when it gets sustained over a period of time, this again can lead to lowering of performance. The paper will also be useful to people involved as sports team coaches as they can understand what causes anxiety to them and habitually cultivate stress reduction factors. This research has been based on captaincy stress of state level twelve sports captains in Tamil Nadu and hence, can be done to various districts or national level regions. This research can in future be extended to identify the stress relievers that can act as moderators for the stressors that have been identified as part of the study.

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Sports Team Captain’s Stress at Universities . (2022, May 04). Retrieved from

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