A Leader in Every Locker – Coach’s Guidebook

A Leader in Every Locker is an interesting read.  It definitely challenges the status quo of having captains and letting them be the leaders of the team.  If nothing else – this will challenge you to think differently about how you “lead the leaders” on your team.  Check out more leadership tools that they offer at www.aleaderineverylocker.com.


Notice to the Reader

WARNING!   What you are about to read may:

  • Seem contrary to a lot of what you learned from your experience as a student-athlete.
  • Turn out to be at odds with the way most teams are run.
  • Challenge the basic premises of leadership; particularly that leaders possess “the right stuff.”
  • Be disturbing because it may raise issues with some of your deepest beliefs.

A Leader in Every Locker takes you beyond the out-dated team captain model of team leadership. After a decade of research and development, this book reveals a transformational leadership model that fuels the growth and development of all your student-athletes.



The Academy for Sport Leadership has designed a practical curriculum and useful resources for transforming your team into a high-performing learning organization. We’ve integrated the 21st Century model of team leadership into our programs and processes. And we’ve designed resources to help you develop a leader in every locker!

Here’s the catch though: It takes more than simply appointing a couple of players to the role of team captain.  At the heart of the leader in every locker framework is the core belief that every student-athlete has the ability to learn and develop leadership skills.

After a decade of research and development I’ve identified eight essential roles that affect the internal dynamics of a team—high school or college. When these roles are filled and played well it makes it easy for team to be close together, helps the team build identity, and creates an environment in which trust, morale, and commitment freely emerge with players focusing more attention on one another through building of interdependent relationships.


8 Roles of Team Leadership

Dobbs’ 8 Roles of Team Leadership sets a foundation for building a peer-based leadership system. The following values and priorities are vital to constructing an infrastructure for effective team leadership.

  • Inclusiveness and participation
  • Influence
  • Initiative
  • Abundance-based mindset
  • Autonomy
  • Self-organizing
  • Community
  • Equitable

What others are saying…

I must admit my professional bias towards the model of “A Leader in Every Locker” that Dr. Dobbs describes in this, his latest book. I too am a proponent of a shared leadership model and believe that leadership is not a gift reserved for a small minority, but that it can be learned and enhanced in most people. It is our responsibility as coaches, educators, and leaders to raise up a future generation of leaders. After all, isn’t helping others in their leadership journey the ultimate testament to our own leadership capacity? With this book Dr. Dobbs gives a clear and convincing argument to the importance and need to adopt this 21st century model and a path as to how to transform your leadership environment from hit-or-miss to intentional.

-Juan Pablo Favero, Associate Head Coach Women’s Soccer, San Diego State