SOME are meticulous planners, thinkers and tacticians. Some can use words, or actions to lift a team out of a slump.
Some are approachable, good at managing people, and some take it upon themselves to set the tone from senior to junior grades.
In country cricket, the captain is the figurehead as a lot of clubs opt for a leadership structure without a coach.
It's undoubtedly one of the most fascinating roles in sport and Warrnambool cricket has seen the impact a top-class leader can have on a team.
You need to know what gets them motivated. You need to know when to give them a rev up, or when to have a quiet little chat.Matthew Love
Cameron Williams' switch from Nestles to Russells Creek three seasons ago spearheaded two consecutive flags for a club that had previously endured a 38-year drought.
The leader can set the tone. In Creek's case, it set the tone for success.
When Brierly-Christ Church lured Mark Murphy back from coaching East Warrnambool YCW in 2017, it started the same pattern.
Murphy skippered for two seasons, leading the Bulls to a grand final, before handing the reins to Matthew Love who finished the job.
But what makes a good captain? The Standard has asked those with the most experience in the job to weigh in.
Current Brierly-Christ Church leader Love spent more than 15 years in Melbourne, playing both Victorian Premier Cricket and sub-districts before returning to the south-west.
For the 41-year-old, captaincy is about communication and reading players.
"For leadership in general, you have to be a good people person. You need to know how individuals tick," Love said.
"You need to know what gets them motivated.
"You need to know when to give them a rev up, or when to have a quiet little chat."
Love said leading by example was also vital.
"It's about doing all the right things yourself. It's a bit old-fashioned but I think you should lead from the front in a lot of ways," he said. "A lot of the captains I've played for and have a lot of respect for have got your back in a lot of ways.
"They stand up for the club, the team and individuals." Does a natural leader take on characteristics from their former captains? Yes - albeit subconsciously - according to Love.
"I think you naturally learn off other leaders with specifically taking notes as such," he said.
"It's about taking it in and applying it to yourself and your style of leadership.
"These days you need to have strong communication with everything you're doing."
Dennington coach Dustin Drew - a long-term skipper - said modern captains needed to be "ahead of the game".
Drew steered Dennington to an upset Twenty20 grand final berth over Brierly-Christ Church in January.
"We play so much limited overs cricket," he said.
"Generally, you're going to be chasing and posting, in 80 per cent of games, the 150 or 160-run mark.
"I never captained a side thinking you'd have 250 against you because in our competition, wickets are prepared by volunteers and while they're doing a good job and put as much time in as they can, they're (not paid) for it.
"Down in Melbourne, they're making 250 on genuine roads. Here, if you get 150 you're right in the game."
Drew said he captained simply with an emphasis on ring fields.
"You captain differently at places like Jetty Flat and Alllansford that are a bit smaller," he said.
"When you're playing at Reid, Dennington and Merrivale those scores of 150 and 160 win games.
"My style has always been about getting the batsman to take risks, building pressure with dot balls.
"You don't see too many guys apart from the Nick Butters, Cam Williams, Ben Threlfalls and Mark Murphys who can score really quickly at five an over and take the game away from you, so pressure is important."
Drew, also a greyhound trainer, said he "wasn't big on revving blokes up".
Instead, he opted away from the "spray" coaching and captaining style.
"In coaching and captaining, you're a manager, a communicator and you need to have the respect of players," Drew said.
"I always felt as a captain I played better. I felt I had the responsibility to do well.
"If you look at guys like Cam Williams, Nick Butters and Mark Murphy their form just skyrocketed and went up a notch when they took on captaincy.
"Their cricket stands up at just about every level. Some guys really thrive on it, others don't."
Former Allansford and Russells Creek skipper Ben Boyd - who led Victoria Country to a Australian Country Cricket Championship title in January - said it was important for skippers to weather all feedback.
Boyd, a bowler, also led Warrnambool three times at Melbourne Country Week.
"You have to take on all of that positive and negative feedback, whether its asked for or not," he said.
"You can't ignore the negative stuff. It will come at you when you win or lose and you have to be prepared for that." Boyd said his leadership style "subtly" changed as he switched between club and national level as the role had different demands.
"There's a lot of potential coming through ranks at club level so you want to help educate them," he said.
"At national level it's about getting them to perform what they're strong at and to leverage their experience.
"I request a lot of feedback. Your players are often Melbourne Country Week captains so it's managing personalities."
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