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The pandemic has left many of us feeling stressed and a bit anxious. It has been difficult at times to stay positive and our confidence can take a bit of a hit.
Becoming a new Tower Captain, can be challenging in the best of times, and often we may feel as though we lack confidence in the role. There will always be better and worse ringers than us, but in order to do our job as effectively as possible, here are a few techniques which might help build confidence.
Have a clear understanding of what your role as Tower Captain involves. This might require speaking to your local vicar and also the previous Tower Captain. You could ask others in your guild what they think the role is but having a focus on what you are trying to achieve will help direct your efforts in the right areas.
In every band you will have a variety of different ages, personalities and ability. They all need a different style to help them perform at their best. Know how to make the quieter ones get more involved, whilst ensuring the experienced ones get a good ring too. At the end of a practice, everyone should feel they have achieved something, even if it's just a good time.
A structured approach will help you oversee the ringing and ensure nothing is forgotten.
Don’t allow the negative voice in your head to throw you off keel. Take control of it. Confidence grows when the voice in the head changes from ‘Are you sure that's right?’ to ‘I’m sure something's not right here’.
Develop a positive image of yourself by limiting comparisons to others. This requires further self-reflection and actively adjusting your mindset. Visualise yourself as the Tower Captain you want to be and then actively seek out the skills you require.
In normal times, the advice would be to visit other towers to see how their Tower Captains handle the practice and if you see a well-run practice, ask the local Tower Captain how they constructed the evening. Don’t assume it's fluke. An experienced team needs little managing, but it takes time to achieve this level of competence.
However, we don't live in normal times so instead, reflect on practices that were inspiring, stimulating and well run. Which practices did you always look forward to going to? Such practices don't just happen, even if it might look like that. You can learn a lot from them and don't be afraid to ask for advice from those running them. You could even ask them to become your mentor.
‘Fake it ‘til you can make it.’ This old adage belongs in the hallowed halls of cliches from the past. It has been banded about since the 1970s and is regularly invoked to encourage pretence with regards to one capabilities. There is a fine line between this sentiment and a flat-out lie, so use with caution.
Tower Captains are at the coal face of setting the culture and atmosphere in a tower. They are the make or break of how individuals are recruited, utilised, encouraged and developed. They may well be the cause, directly or indirectly, of why individuals decide to leave a tower, or quit ringing altogether. What makes types of Tower Captain exist, what traits to they have and do these traits affect their behaviour. A simplification of course, but you'll recognise some familiar types.
Training is available to help you learn more about being a Tower Captain:
A presentation by Christopher O'Mahony with plenty of ideas and amusing insights including advice on 'The Art of the flounce' and the 'Beaufort scale of ringing.' It's probably been a long time since we've seen any of these, but I'm sure they'll be back:
Nice to know that even the best have to deal with the same issues as us mere mortals.