Another summer season looms and teams and players eagerly await their tryout process. People are finishing workout programs, people are getting outside to work on throws, and advertisement for tryouts are being sent out by e-mail and posted on sites.
Every year you hear the same thing from almost every competitive team, regardless of division or city
- We're a competitive team dedicated to winning/development
- Our goal is to reach nationals/upas with a top x finish (Usually the goal is overestimated and never met)
- Every spot on the team is up for grabs
- There is always extra themes that are common for teams ("fun", "great learning experience", "serious" "young".
The only problem with this overall strategy is people have heard the same message every year, and we're getting desensitized to the messages of hope, fun, and lofty performance goals. We know that not all spots on good teams is available. We know that particular skill sets are wanted, and you're wasting your money if you don't fit that mould. And we know that the tryouts are an imperfect process based on people's mind's eye making a decision on who's good and who's not.
So, what strategy changes can I suggest? One easy change to stand out among teams is when it comes to Leadership. Like all areas of life, Leadership is in desperate supply when it comes to ultimate.
Lou Holtz, former US college football coach and national champion with Notre Dame was a heavy accented odd looking man who wouldn't strike you as a great leader or a man who could lead others to greatness. However, Holtz was a man known for his wit and his character as a coach, recruiter, speaker and studio analyst.
What was the secret for this man? A lot more simple than you might think. Holtz sold players on his program and the chance to win just like ultimate teams do every spring, but he also sold his players on a philosophy- He could be trusted to do what was best for the school, for the team and for each and every player. In the world of college football, that is rare to this do.
Holtz has many quotes about his time as coach and on leadership, but his quote (about what players want/expect from a team and coach) is my absolute favorite:
Coach Holtz advises that players ask the following three questions to evaluate your leadership:
- "Can I trust you?
- Are you committed to excellence?
- Do you care about me?"
- Do the right thing
- Do the best that you can
- Show people you care.
A very simple leadership guide for long term gain both on and off the field.