Picking up a teammate when she's down, being a liaison between the players and the coaches, running errands for the team -- those are all well and good.
But being able to pack a perfect snowball and pelt the coach in the head with it, that is what makes Kate Pinchbeck a special leader.
"It was snowing, and we were all in the van freezing," said Pinchbeck, the junior co-captain of the North Carolina women's tennis team. "And Jen (Callen) is out there talking, so I said, 'Let's all get these snowballs and throw them at her.'"
Said Callen, the first-year UNC coach: "It was unfair. It was a surprise attack."
But it was just what the team needed after a grueling tournament in Madison, Wis.
Held from Feb. 8-10, the National ITA Indoor Tennis Tournament hosted the nation's best teams. The Tar Heels proved they were one of them by beating two teams ranked in the country's top 15.
The success can be attributed to premium talent, the coaching of Callen and the leadership of players like Pinchbeck.
"I look at her, and it just makes me laugh," said No. 2 singles player Julie Rotondi. "It's unintentional, just the way she is. She's so short, combined with her accent."
Pinchbeck is from Edmonton Park, Australia, and maintains her thick accent. She also has developed a perspective that her coach appreciates.