Ultimate's growth is leading to more ultimate teams sprouting up throughout the land! Instead of one mixed team that plays savage most weekends, we're seeing schools with anywhere from two to six different ultimate teams in their program.
While your first priority as team captain is to serve your own team, your whole ultimate program could use your support. We don't say this to stress you out. Instead, we believe that strengthening your school's ultimate program will actually help you strengthen the team that you hold most near and dear.
Whether it's your A-Team, your B-Team, your women's team, your open team, your DIII team, or your DI team, they're your sibs and part of your job is to help them improve. Not only is it good spirit, but creating a relationship with your sibling team(s) will help your team too.
Ready to dive in? Here are 3 easy steps to strengthen your school's ultimate program as a whole:
1. talk to each other
Being a captain isn't easy. We know. That's why having other team leaders in your back pocket can help. These are people you can tap when you need new drill ideas, have questions about good tournaments to attend, or simply need a louder sideline during the game-to-go. But ya gotta have an open communication system in place!
Another benefit of working well with your sibling teams is that your program will gain more overall weight on campus. A strong on-campus presence can be helpful when it comes to recruiting and requesting more school funding... plus, it doesn't hurt your social rep either!
How: Team leaderships should meet semi-frequently. If you're not sure how to get started, try:
- Starting a group message with the other captains
- Meeting to brainstorm ways to bring your teams together
- Putting people in charge of carrying out your ideas (delegate!)
- Meet later to evaluate how it went
Aside from communicating with other teams, it's also important that you communicate with your own team. Encourage them to look outside of the roster for throwing buddies and to attend sibling teams' events.
2. get your crews together
Once you're buds with the other team leaders, it's time to get your players together in the same physical space. Sure, you probably already rage to Rihanna together, but there are so many other ways to build inter-team relationships.
Plus, can you ever really have too many ultimate friends?
How: Think about events that allow for more than just small-talk. If you throw a party, theme it so that teams must come together and organize themselves before the big event. Some ideas for fun activities include:
- Plan a Spring Break trip together
- Go to the same tournaments
- Host a non-romantic speed dating event
- Combine players across the different teams into mini teams for epic party games and challenges
- Get a weekly pick-up game going on the weekends
- Play in a mixed or split X/Y tournament together
Depending on how well you already know the other teams, the fun might feel forced, but just embrace it and eventually it'll all fall into place! The more enthusiastic you are, the more everyone else will get into it.
3. lift up your fam
Your sibling team's success reflects on your team. A strong program is more visible in the ultimate community, and as a result, it's better at attracting new recruits.
Already sharing a common love of ultimate and goofiness, you're well on your way to making fast friendships with members of other teams in your program. Just make sure you maintain them the way you would in any friendship.
- Be there for them. Acts of service go a long way, and like any friend, you have to show your sibling teams that you really do care about their success. If they ask for volunteers for a tournament they're hosting, step up to the plate line, and encourage your teammates to do the same!
- Stand up for your sibs. It's important for all cross-program teams to support each other, but here we're specifically talking to men's teams about supporting their women's teams. Sports culture is hugely male-dominated, and with all that power, you gotta use it to lift up your ladies team to get the same recognition and respect that you do. "Our community needs male allies that believe in the inherent value of female athletes" (Skyd Magazine, Gender Equity Action Group).
- Don't let drama get in the way of something good. You're all friends, so try not to let drama divide your teams or force people to choose sides.
- Hype and heckle each other! At tournaments, stay to watch each others' games! Even when you're exhausted, we can't emphasize how much this means to the team on the field. Afterall, sidelines win games!
By getting to know the individuals on your sibling teams better, you'll create bonds that will improve your school's ultimate program and create a lasting, supportive environment in your community.
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Over to you
What are some challenges to bringing sibling teams together that you've faced? Has your ultimate program hosted a fun event that brought people together? Share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments!