So you've decided to start your own team? Congrats! The first step is finding players.
You'll need at least 14 active players on your roster, but most teams have more to cover players who can't make it every week. The average roster size in Summer 2016 was 19 people.
Some ways to find players:
- Friends: Start by asking your friends, course. Get them to ask their friends. too!
- Matchmaker: Add your team info to Matchmaker, and check there for players that need teams, too.
- Forum: Post in the Personals Forum that you are looking for players. Remember to specify what you are looking for – skill level, competitiveness, etc.
- Hat Leagues: Join a Hat League - they are a great way to meet other players.
- Events: You can sometimes find new people at VUL events. See the calendar for the list - you can attend or even volunteer at an event.
The next step is to build your leadership group. Running a team takes effort, but you don’t have to do all the work yourself. Enlist others to help the season be more fun!
Each team can have up to 4 Assistants. We recommend you share duties with your Assistants, and one of them should fulfill your duties when you miss a game.
Some possible duties to share:
- On-field leader: Connect with other captain, manage the game, etc. The main Captain usually has this role, but others can help.
- Coach: Help players improve their skills and strategies, highlight upcoming VUL clinics.
- Spirit captain: Ensure the team upholds Spirit of the Game, plan any spirit games, submits Spirit Tie photos.
- Administrator: Ensure there are enough players each week, submit game reports.
- Communications: Share VUL news with the team, pass questions to the VUL, etc.
- Social captain: Coordinate game snacks, after-game drinks, team parties, etc. as well as highlight upcoming VUL social events.
This is a dedicated role -- all teams must have one. The Guru is responsible for having a solid understanding of the rules and supporting the team with rules during games. The Guru can be a player or a captain. Their duties include:
- Read the latest rules and ensure they understand them.
- Take the VUL Rules Quiz before the season starts.
- Bring a rulebook (online or physical) to the field in case something needs to be looked up.
- Explain rules at the field if questions comes up. NOTE: the Rules Guru is NOT a referee or observer: they are there to answer questions about the rules, but not to make calls or interrupt the game.
The VUL offers free Mentors to all teams. These experienced players can help teams with skill development, strategies, spirit activities, etc. They usually work with a team for a full season, but they can come out just for one game. They can remain on the sideline or join the game, as desired by the team.
Contact our Coaching Coordinator via firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like a mentor!
You need quality gear to get through the season: cleats, jerseys, discs, and field cones.
Our partners will help you gear up:
- Rackets & Runners is our official Gear Retailer. They carry a variety of cleats that are perfect for ultimate, as well as our jerseys, hats, discs, and field cones.
- Oddball Workshop is our Apparel Partner. They can create high-quality custom jerseys for your team.
Starting a season can be rough if your players are out of practice. During the season you may see areas that need improvement, too. Some options to develop your team:
- Clinics - The VUL runs free skills clinics at the start of each season for Beginner & Intermediate players. Encouraging your players to attend allows them to get better and meet other players. View the clinic current schedule on the Calendar.
- Camps - The VUL runs an Intermediate Bootcamp in the Spring and a Beginner Camp in the Summer. They help players improve over multiple sessions with focused coaching and scrimmages.
- Players Guide - Refer your players to our extensive online Players Guide.
- Practice - Run a team practice to build your players' skill and confidence, develop team strategies, and bond as a group. Select a drill from our Players Guide or you can try finding inspiration through the Ulticoach App.
- Advanced Practice - Some elite touring players are more than happy to lead a practice for you team for a small fee. Want to take things to the next level? Contact our Touring Coordinator for info via email@example.com.
- Mentors - Get a mentor for extra help at the field. See the description under Share the Load, above.
- Coach training - In 2017 we hosted our first Coaching Conference, and we also work with BC Ultimate to host NCCP Coach Training sessions. Check them out to build your skills as a leader.
Every team has different goals: some are competitive and others are casual; some never practice while others have a playbook. However, the main reason everyone plays ultimate is to have FUN! To help your team grow and stay together over many seasons, remember to focus on everyone having fun.
Some ideas to maximize enjoyment:
- Make sure that everyone is involved in the game.
- Throw to new players; they won't get better if you don't! Focus on building skills early in the season, and then wins will come later.
- Engage all genders: Is everyone included in the play? Ask them.
- Vary positions: Give everyone a chance to be a handler, or pick up the disc after turnovers.
- If someone is struggling, see the Skills tips above.
- Go for drinks before or after your games (check out the VUL Clubhouses for venues you can get discounts at), or have a BBQ if you're playing at a grass field (note: food is not allowed on turf fields).
- Warm up and cool down together at the field.
- Give everyone a chance to lead a spirit game or cheer.
- Get team jerseys so everyone feels like part of the team (see Gear above)
- Attend tournaments! A road-trip to a weekend tournament is a great way to bond a team. It can be the highlight of the year for many players.
- Develop a team culture: what makes your team unique?
- Ensure you have a variety of Assistant Captains to help lead and support the team.