What do you think makes a Captain? part 1 -Haikyuu!!

Header picture @elydraws on tumblr

Every team has their important position which is not limited to the role a player is assigned to but also the roles that may seem a little bit more trivial next to your amazing ace or quick-witted middle blockers.

Like every ship has a captain that directes it towards a certain goal, every volleyball team has his leader that helps them to withstands the most crucial times.

But what is it that differs the captain from all the other teammates?

What values and features does a captain have?

Does every captain convey the same image?

In today’s blogpost we will discuss the many differences, values, features and similarities that our most popular captain squad represents.

Foundation

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Everyone starts at the bottom and so does every captain when they start their position in a team. We can clearly see as the freshly new captains Futakuchi and Terushima play their first rounds in their new positions in season two many things change in the team’s structure.

As for Dateko which keeps their image of the “iron wall” and even amplifies it, Futakuchi sticks to the ways the former captains aspired the team to be, while he still searches for new innovative ideas to enforce the team’s strength even more.

His approach of recruiting a tall setter who would strengthen their already stable iron wall and gives the other tall players the chance to hit high balls, is shown very effective as they withstood many attacks from a strong team like Seijoh, making it far despite losing their 3rd years and recruiting new members per se having a whole new team.

Yet Futakuchi is still lacking his ways of controlling the team properly this goes especially for his underclassmen as he finally understood how his upperclassmen must have felt when he simply was a wing spiker not needing to think of the whole team and leaving everything to their former captain Moniwa. He is shown to be strict but at the same time not want to be too strict with his team as he struggles to find the perfect ways. When his teammates make mistakes especially the new ones he tends to let his temper go fierce and become angry, needing Aone’s support to lead the team and calm him down.

Something a captain has to learn and can’t have from the get go, needing to understand the way a team works and having the right mind and counter measurements by learning over time.

Terushima is seen as quite the opposite, he approaches his captain position with much positivity, changing the atmosphere of the whole team and as well the ways the former captains laid in front of them.

With a new image and new strategies even their practice differs as Sakunami mentioned in chapter 110 which consists of 2 vs 2 matches against each other which is unusual for a volleyball team. 

Even the banner as Terushima mentioned doesn’t suit the current team’s playstyle as they play rather for the fun and thrill than going for a proper strategy and thinking about it.

In the end of the match against Karasuno where they started to use a bit more of a tactical approach Terushima’s realization of what a captain means finally hit right before their last timeout at the last set. 

It showed that despite Terushima’s leisure and loose approach he is a good candidate for a captain which we will see later on, yet he misunderstood and paid less attention to what it actually meant.

Still he is adamant on making the team that they currently are to something different from the past but looks up to the former captains as he got to know the true meaning of it.

Last but not least we have Ennoshita Chikara who by means is not a captain yet but chosen to be the next one when the 3rd years leave.

As someone who once ran away Ennoshita is shown to have much insecurities and self-doubt ever since and doesn’t feel like he deserves to be next to his peers on the court, but despite what he thinks everyone else sees the potential he holds. 

A major part of his lack in the Karasuno vs Wakunan match came from his self-doubts and 

own comparisons to Daichi who was injured and therefore needed a replacement. 

Very late in the game he understood that a captain is not someone who has to go one way as he compared himself to Daichi and not seeing himself  in that role, but rather act to get the team together, use your own means and work together as a team.

Something the 1st years and 2nd years saw in him, which he didn’t see himself is that he is one of the few who can have a calm, strict and dominating attitude matching Daichi’s in crucial situations. We can see that especially prior to the Tokyo camp arc in which he makes sure that the 2nd years get the grades to come along, explaining that he never saw a failing grade in his life showing his hard-working and intelligent personality.

Reliability 

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Reliable, a trait that we can see in many of our Haikyuu captains yet truly only four of them can be viewed as reliable when compared.

While everyone depicts that reliability in their own way the first two that share a similar approach in that trait would be Karasuno’s Daichi and Wakunan’s Takeru.

As they are both the ones holding them together in crucial situations and do not waver under the pressures no matter how big they are. Even in the hardest times where a game seems almost lost or the opponents look just too strong to hope for a break, those two are the ones who don’t even falter or waver, not even for a minute.

Their first instinct is to show that everything seems okay while everyone is starting to doubt, which makes them even more reliable than their own coach as Ukai stated when he saw Daichi already taking care of things on his own with no words, same for Takeru.

For Oikawa it’s a bit different, in crucial times he is the one being the most composed and works out a tactic meanwhile. His team relies on him but the atmosphere of protection and security that Daichi and Takeru give off does not apply fully for Oikawa since he has a different connection and ways of pushing his team. His confidence and the seriousness he takes in role as a Captain as depicted in his words, “believe in me” shows that he obviously tries to shoulder the burden of the team.

A whole different type of reliable in contrast to the others is Ushijima who is reliable in a sense of making sure that nothing will go wrong and he stays adamant on it. When it comes to the worst he is the one mending things out with his own means but despite being someone who truly connects with his teammates and makes them feel they can rely on him, he gives off the feeling of a strong leader which you are inclined to believe in as he showed his success through his actions. In a way his confidence and seeing losing not as an option encourages his teammates to challenge him and as well give everything they have to be able to stand next to him.

In Goshiki’s case he gets fired up to become the new Ace but also relies on his captain, Semi does as well as he doesn’t hesitate to believe in Ushijima.

Stability

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Ever heard of the term to have a burden on your shoulder?

Only someone who can heave that burden and make others feel safe can give the feeling of stability within the team.

Again Daichi and Takeru are our role model examples exuding stability.

In Daichi’s case even as a serving specialist his reassuring words and actions combine as he stabilizes the team’s mood and motivation back on track, for example when he first encountered Oikawa’s serve and didn’t show on the outside that he was afraid of it, despite that he didn’t give in to try and receive it.

For him tackling the main problem is the way to solve it or at least minimize it to a point where it won’t hurt the team’s balance.

Takeru is very similar to that as he approaches problems just like Daichi. He tackles the main source and minimizes it as well as to think of countermeasures.

With a determined mindset to become the next little giant and get his team much farther in the competition he says the right words at the right time to make sure everyone stays focussed and in formation, for example when Tabi was down due to his misses he used the “is that girl watching you?” card on him. That is only possible due to his high amount of tolerance and dealing with pressuring situations that he learned to overcome due to his siblings he had to take care of as the 2nd son while his elder sibling neglected those responsibilities.

He respects both allies and opponents which keep him on high energy at all times, accepting the challenge and heaving the responsibility at the same time.

One more of the captain squad can be sorted in this category, one person which doesn’t seem to embody it unlike Daichi and Takeru.

Kuroo the captain of Nekoma.

Why of all people Kuroo?

Despite his sly and laid-back nature especially that provokes those around him he is someone who takes a lot of responsibility.

We see in many scenes that Kuroo actually cares about what is happening to his members may it be on the court or at practice, even when it comes to eating habits as we see him scolding Kenma for not eating properly.

He lives his captain role outside the court as well, making sure that especially wild members like Lev are under surveillance and don’t cause the balance to waver which he loves to keep.

While valuing each and every member, he makes sure to make a meaningful cheer before every game.

Does it ring a bell?

“We’re like the blood in our veins, We must flow without stopping, keep the oxygen moving and your mind working.”

A cheer that is worth an own blogpost but for short- he makes clear that every team member is connected and needs to do their part to keep the game in motion.

He sets the stability before the match even starts and keeps doing that throughout the whole game. When Lev is seemingly slacking off Kuroo makes sure that Yaku takes care of him and asks him continuously if he really practiced.

But this trait is often overseen since Kuroo is just as cunning as they other Haikyuu characters mentioned which doesn’t make him a less proper captain fitting this category

Encouraging

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While stability is nice and good there are times it won’t help to just make sure there is a certain balance because taking responsibility doesn’t easen the burden on all people.

Here comes the trait which is often overseen yet so important in our captains – to be encouraging.

In hard situations depending on the many individuals of the team and the current events happening as well as the tension building up encouragement that is used specifically for someone is something that not every person can do, you have to be empathetic or at least know how people react and act around you.

Let’s start with the more simple kind of encouragement coming from our easy-go-lucky captains Terushima and Bokuto.

Terushima is not someone who sees mistakes as something crushing and makes sure that his team as well thinks that way. He motivates them through the always repeating cheers to have fun and try new things, as well to go all out.

As he continuously does that neither his team nor he  himself does give in to the seemingly high pressure and improved plays of Karasuno.

A little bit similar yet different is Bokuto, Fukurodani’s captain who is known for being loud and energized, but there is a certain twist in how his team gets encouraged. Many people think it comes from Bokuto not giving in and wanting to score as much as possible as well as being able to land powerful spikes he practiced for so long.

But due to Bokuto being moody and easily dejected, his team gets their time to shine and show off their skills which the audience and opponents easily oversee when Bokuto is in his full blast. 

Meaning, whether Bokuto is dejected or not his team draws the encouragement either from his confident words or the fact that they can handle the situations well even when Bokuto is out of play which means their own insecurities are of no matter anymore as soon as Bokuto self-destructs.

Being a captain who can bring the best out of his team in both ways as he uses his own insecurities to erase the ones of the others.

Kuroo who we earlier discussed has a provoking nature doesn’t directly encourage people but rather rile them up to an extent they want to prove him that they can be better or take up his challenge. In some ways he does for example use that trait to get Tsukishima to block for them which is in a twisted way an encouragement to get invested into volleyball, the problem is though he often hits a nerve with other people which means the possibility of his provocation making the other person either do the opposite or even leave is not always low.

Last but not least in this category we have Moniwa and Oikawa who are the more empathetic types of captains depicting a more pure kind of encouragement.

While Moniwa doesn’t put much trust in his own abilities. the more he dotes on his team members and is sure that no matter in which pinch they, they can make it work out. He doesn’t hesitate to praise them for something done well, give advice when needed or when something went wrong he apologizes in their stead as he feels the fault is on his shoulders, making the other’s feel bad about being down and quickly getting out of it to seem Moniwa stopping the blame-shift on himself.

Unlike the other captains he is more on the side-lines as the supportive kind of person not being too strict and has a more mellow side, he even gets his other team members when he sees conflict to solve problems when needed and leads them to learn solving them themselves.

As Futakuchi mentioned when Moniwa was encouraging them and confidently talked about their next moves, he criticised him for using you guys instead of we. Since Futakuchi didn’t like the fact Moniwa encourages all of them and is so motivating yet he doesn’t count himself in that equation which makes his team even more adamant to show him what they are really made of and that he is a part of that as well.

Oikawa’s encouragement is easy to see in many ways as he doesn’t do it in a hidden way nor does he take a more supportive approach.

Just like Moniwa he sees great potential in his team members but is a core member unlike Moniwa who is trying to take a more passive role.

He makes sure to tell his members when they did something well or give them advice in a way they won’t feel criticized which he does with much caution and sensitivity depending on the person he talks to choosing his words wisely.

Harsh when needed or laid-back to not be too pushy like Kunimi’s case, he knows how to speak to any of his team members.

When someone makes a mistake though it is quite often seen that he either blames himself most of the time for not giving them a better toss or genuinely says that it’s not a problem and they can get the point in the next round which he truly means.

Yet that encouragement and easy-going attitude for mistakes doesn’t apply for himself and the 3rd years know that too well, concluding in returning the encouragement and healthy motivation that their captains gives them in many different ways,

The interesting thing especially the 3rd years do encourage Oikawa back with simple words but rather with actions, discussions or even teasing to get him back from his pressure train.

In that sense he and Moniwa share the blame-shifting on themselves when mistakes are made.

So today we discussed the traits: Foundation, Reliability, Stability and Encouraging which we have seen in some of our captains.

Tomorrow we will continue this never-ending blogpost with the next traits: The brain, Trust, Values and matter of position!

Until then you can tell me your guesses who you would sort into those categories in the comments.

Stay tuned for part 2 and grab yourself a tea while you wait~

  • Makii

Part 2

-Not enough blogposts for your tea? Here you go!-

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