Delegate! Ultimate team leadership structure and roles

Posted on: on Sep 25, 2019 2:57:40 PM

Captains Resources - Delegate-1 


If you're a captain that feels overwhelmed with too much on your plate, we've got good news - you've got a squad of teammates that you can round up to help!


Not only does spreading the workload make captains' lives easier, it gives more ownership to teammates, keeping engagement and involvement high. AND it gives leadership experience to more folks that can help them land a job post graduation!


Sustainable ultimate programs have multiple leadership positions (and oftentimes multiple captains) that split up tasks and work together so players can play and teams can grow.


Even if your org structure works for your team, we're hoping this post will shed some insight into other options so you can build a leadership team that fits your team culture.


You do not by any means need all of these leadership positions on your team! But consider implementing a few if you haven't already to make your team management run smoothly.


TEAM leadership roles

1. captain

The captain is the head honcho that makes things happen.


Though the captain is often the catch-all for whatever tasks aren't done by other members of the leadership team, the most effective teams have captains that can focus on strategy and team development.


If you're a newly selected captain, we highly recommend subscribing to the Captain Resources Blog for tips to take your leadership game to the next level!


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Co-Captains. As mentioned above, a lot of teams will have multiple captains who divvy up responsibilities, depending on their own strengths. 


Junior Captain. Some teams also like to have a junior captain in the mix so when the senior captain(s) graduate, there will be a smooth transition of leadership, as the junior captain will carry over into senior captain status the following year.


Coach(es). Suffice it to say, having a coach makes a captain's job much much easier. Coaches and captains can divide up responsibilities as they see fit, but generally a coach will help oversee the leadership team, call lines, advise on strategy, and plan practices. Getting a coach will definitely take good teams to the next level of excellence, which is why we've supported the Coaching Development Program run by USA Ultimate for years!


What makes a good captain. Many teams will select the best player on their team to be captain, but after talking to over 50 certified coaches, we learned that person doesn't always make the best captain. Here's what coaches said are the best traits to look for in an effective captain.



Science tells us that having a spirit squad will 10/10 times boost your team's spirit. With individuals exclusively focused on fun and player involvement, you're way more likely to rock those pieces of ultimate culture.


Spirit Captain. There are two different working definitions of the Spirit Captain. One is the person who leads the spirit games or team cheers, who brings spirit gifts, and takes team costumes to the next level. The other is the Spirit of the Game expert who helps teammates understand and follow the rules in addition to handle spirit problems with the other team. Both seem important to us, and they should probably be called different things to avoid confusion!


Outreach / Recruitment Chair. This person, often an underclassman, is in charge of bringing in rooks and keeping them involved. Depending on your team and campus, it could also fall under this player's purview to partner with other on-campus organizations.


Social Chair. Parties, themes, bonding activities, galore! Often overlapping with the Spirit Captain, this person is in charge of making fun things happen and upping the ante for shenanigans.


Equity Chair. If inclusion and safety are important to your team (which they should be!), an equity chair can help keep that in check. Be sure to include all the A / B / dev teams, and consider including your sibling team as well if that's right for your program.


3. logistics committee

Please take this off your captain's plate if you haven't already. Those logistics rockstars are true team players, handling the behind-the-scenes grunt work to get your team organized, registered, and signed up for tournaments so the rest of the team can play worry-free.


Treasurer. The money person. This person collects dues, manages the budget, and sometimes leads fundraising efforts.


President. This is usually the point of contact between your school and your team. They'll get your team registered as a club or sports organization, will make sure everything is submitted for the USAU college series, and will often register the team for tournaments as well.


Secretary. Though not as necessary as the others, it is helpful to have a person in charge of documenting leadership meeting notes, sending out emails, and scheduling field time.


Fundraising, Tournament, and Travel Chairs. For teams who fundraise, host tournaments, and/or travel extensively for tournaments, it can be helpful to have a point person in charge of each of those projects. Take a load off, and help someone else develop their leadership skills!


Five Ultimate Account Manager. While we're not officially part of your team, your Five Account Manager (AM) will work tirelessly to make your gear ordering process as fun, easy, and error-free as possible.


We'll design your artwork (fo' free), collect your player info and payments, and remind you about deadlines to make sure your gear arrives when you need it. 


While we do need one point person on your team to communicate with, we've taken all the heavy lifting out of it, so there's no need to have a leadership position solely dedicated to your team gear order!


Recruit your Five Account Manager by getting started on your team order today:


Start an order!



get a peak at successful team org structures in action!

Now that we've gone through some common leadership positions, let's take a look at how real teams organize their leadership.


We've got the inside scoop on top teams like Riot and Pitt as well as some smaller, developing teams to give you an idea of what could work for your team!


See how real teams organize their leadership!