Being captain of any team is a significant and prestigious position. In elite sport, the captain plays a vital role in both team and organisational leadership. To date there has been minimal research investigating captaincy, and none assessing the impact of regularly losing performances. A captain of a women’s national basketball league team participated in an in-depth, semi-structured interview reflecting on her experience during a losing season. Following Schutz’s (1967) framework, a social phenomenological analysis approach was taken, with seven higher-order themes emerging: being captain; relationship with coaching staff; relationship with teammates; team development; stressors; stress management; and self. Results suggest that while poor results affect all team members, there are increased levels of stress for the captain. The captain is expected to lead by example and avoid external expression of negativity. Further strains are placed on the captain, as they are the conduit between coaching and playing groups. As a result, the captain needs to have good support networks, from a variety of sources, to cope and minimise the impact on personal performance.
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