Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lou Holtz and Leadership- What does your team expect from you?


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".
I think teams do a good job of explaining what they envision the team to be. The promotion of tryouts is a shot-gun approach, hanging up a proverbial shingle and hoping the right players (and lots of them) come to tryouts. Paired with some direct communication to desired player targets, this is usually an effective strategy for fielding a team.

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?"
Coach Holtz developed three subsequent rules and expectations he has used in his role as a leader:
  • Do the right thing
  • Do the best that you can
  • Show people you care.
If you use this advice as a team leader in ultimate, you're really offering your players more than a place on a roster. You've built a team and a culture that people want to stay with and people want to join. Too often we've seen teams add players to the team for family/relationship reasons and cut more deserving players. We've seen good players get away with too much, and players not know where they stand with the captain/coach. We've also seen players question what the goals are and how the team is progressing. All these problems can be answered with leadership that makes people know they will be taken care of, and need only focus on their task and job.

A very simple leadership guide for long term gain both on and off the field.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Will the Lady GEE GEES gallop to the UPA College Championship?


Here's a round-up of the Canadian schools that have played in this spring's UPA sectionals thus far.

While it seems that we have more mens teams entering into the series, it is yet again the women that offer our best hope to make the UPA College finals. Last year UBC won the championship and we wondered if we would get the chance to see a Canadian championship. UBC seems to have fallen back a bit this year but will be a favorite to return to the finals.

Ottawa's Lady Gee Gees seem to have taken a step forward this year. They enter regionals 18-1
with a major tournament win and an impressive showing at President's Day. They possess high end talent ( Anne Mercier, Kate Crump, Alex Benedict) and a "supporting cast" that could be the stars on many college teams (Sam Morris, Sonia Komendia, Kathryn Pohran, etc).

Can Ottawa win? It seems very possible but their major competition will come from the following:

California-Santa Barbara- Ottawa beat them head to head 15-11 at Centex
Stanford- 1-1 versus UBC, and lost to Ottawa in only matchup.
Oregon- Have beaten every team they have faced except Santa Barbara

As fans, we await the results to happen and hope, for a second year, we have a canadian team at the top of the UPA college podium.

Bellingham Invite- 1-3 record Pres Day Invitational 2009- 4-4 record The Stanford Invite- 2-5 record Women's College Centex 2009- 6-1 record (15-3 loss to Ottawa)
Wash/BC College Women's Sectionals- 6-2 record, finished 2nd and qualified for regionals

Pres Day Invitational 2009- 6-1 record, two forfeits Women's College Centex 2009- 7-0, champions Upstate NY College Women's Sectionals- 5-0 record, champions and advance to regionals

Trouble in Vegas- 6-3 record
Standford Invite- 2-4 Record
Wash/BC College Open Sectionals- 5-2 record, finished 3rd and qualified for regionals

Carleton University
Queen City Tune-Up 2K9- 2-4 Record
Spring Phling- 4-2 record
Roll Call, D.C.- 2-0 record, missing data
Upstate NY College Open Sectionals- 3-2 record, finsihed 3rd and qualified for regionals

Michigan College Open Sectionals- 2-3 (did not qualify for regionals)

Michigan College Open Sectionals- 3-4 record, (did not qualify for regionals)

* Waterloo beats Toronto 11-2 in the 3rd place sunday bracket.. marking the first time in at least five years Toronto loses to Waterloo)


East New England College Open Sectionals- 4-3 record, forfeits third place game and regionals opportunity. (Would be interesting to know what happened).

College Easterns 2009- 4-2
Did not enter into sectionals

Double down tournament champions (Deafeats Michigan. Michigan State)
Did not enter into sectionals.