Saying this may even be unpopular. We live in a society nowadays where everything needs to be sugar coated for everyone. F*ck that. There is a time and place for sugar coating and in the realm of sports, being in the locker room, on the field, ice, court, in practice, etc sugar coating messages to your teammates and team is useless. Your teammate just messed up and this is the fourth time in a row he/she has done so, it’s starting to really hurt the team. Bring him/her over and make them a hot chocolate and say “great job out there, but you can do this wrong, don’t do it again next time, thanks!” Get the hell out of her. They mess up one time ok, they mess up twice, you get in their ear, they mess up three times, sit the fuck down and don’t even think about trying to go back in the game. Simple as that, when your team is performing poorly, you think sugar coating messages and putting a cherry on top of everything is going to get results, good luck.
From my experience leading a variety of ages from 12-14, 14-18 and 18-22, saying the unpopular thing and not sugar coating anything is the best way to get results from your teammates. Make no mistake, not everyone is going to take how you say things correctly, some may see it as negative some may see it as motivation. Therefore more importantly when it comes to not sugar coating messages, be up front and be direct but also be concise of how each player responds to how you speak. As a leader you are looked upon to speak up and say something, leave it to the players on the team that are there to bring everyone together and make everyone relaxed but as a leader you are there to stand up and speak to your team, they are listening so make it useful. As a leader if the message from the top is, we are not dealing with any bullshit, any complaining, any mistakes, or anybody not doing their job, then the team will get the message and either accept it or deny it. If they deny it, it is now your job to make the message undeniable, show them why you are instilling a no bullshit culture in the locker room. Show them WHY you are trying to instill this code of conduct! Don’t just wait for the perfect moment to speak up and shine, you have to be comfortable with saying the unpopular thing. This goes for the team and the coaching staff, look the coaching staff nominated you as a leader for a reason, so if you don't like something say something. Are you seriously content with being able to sit back and just watch all hell break loose, take control and say something. Saying the unpopular thing will suck that is a fact you will rub some people the wrong way and you will hurt some feelings for sure, but at the end of the day you have to make sure your teammates and coaches know you care so much so your opinion is to only benefit the team and each player. When it comes to game time, you’re not their friend, I am here to do a job and I expect everyone to be here to do the same.That is the standard you hold for yourself, so make sure your teammates know it and follow it. Personally from my experience leading teams every teammate knew not to talk to me, or bother me when it came to games or practice. They knew anytime they said or did something I did not like I was going to jump down their throat about it. How? Because from the start I accepted no bullshit from MYSELF or anyone. Sure, I was not the most approachable guy on the ice, during games or in practice but off the ice, I let guys know I cared, I wanted to help them, see them succeed off the ice and be mentally right so I did whatever they needed to make sure they knew I cared about them as people but on the ice we have a job to do. Being the leader and saying the things no one else will say will surely intimidate some teammates and be afraid to even look you in the eye, but remember during game time it is all business. Outside of the game or practice, let your teammates know you care for them more than you care for yourself. Here is a mentality when it comes to leading that I hope will help you, “doing it and saying it are two different things. You allow yourself to slip up, you give the ok to the other guys they can slip up.” Saying the unpopular thing is uncomfortable so get used to being uncomfortable or it will be a long road for you and the team.