Monday, August 24, 2009

Coach

My freshman college season was in 1999.  The prior off-season the Hodags had decided to undergo some giant changes.  For the first time ever, there would be tryouts to make the team in the fall.  The now-classic logo made its debut on the front of our three all-cotton jerseys, colored baby blue, white, and black.

The captains elected to implement this new paradigm were Opie and Simon McNair, a mathematics grad student from Canada far older than anyone else on the team.  He was set to play his fifth year of college disc that season until, shortly after the fall began, he learned that a change in the UPA's eligibility guidelines rendered him, sadly, ineligible.  The rules before had established eligibility starting the moment you became a UPA member and for five years afterwards.  The subtle change that year was that your clock started ticking when you joined the UPA or any other worldwide governing body of Ultimate.  As a Canadian, he'd been a part of CUPA before joining the UPA, and that got 'im.

After a short bit of soul-searching he decided to stay on board with the team and act as our coach through the season.  Being the most experienced and oldest, he guided that young team through the transitional phase from ragtag runners throwing the fris', to the disciplined national power the Hodags are today.  He stuck around the following year as well, and he and Opie put the pieces in place one practice at a time.

It has come full circle for me now.  Last week I spoke to the captains of this year's Hodags and they extended the offer to have me coach the team this year, in a role far more involved and critical than the advisory roles Muffin and I shared last year.  I, of course, accepted.

My main duties will be planning and running practices and implementing team-wide concepts and strategies as directed by the team leadership.  I expect that as the season progresses we will delineate our roles on the team more specifically, but I am mindful of their leadership and plan on limiting my role where I feel the captains and officers need to take charge.  To put it another way, I think my main contributions will be in getting the team ready to play at a tournament, and then providing strategic adjustments in games, and their job will be to make sure the team is actually performing when it's go time.  I am the study guide, they are the test-takers.

I'm incredibly excited at the opportunity.  The styles of practice and leadership that I've been providing as captain of Madison Club have been well-received, and I feel like we're on track to do great things.  I'm anxious to throw lumps of freshmen on my potter's wheel and build them up into a new generation of KM dominators, as mindful of sportsmanship as they are of fundamentals and hard work.

Hodag Love!

9 comments:

Vector said...

Wow, congratulations! You have a lot to offer those guys, and I'm sure you will receive as much as or more than you give. Best wishes for an outstanding 2009-2010 campaign.

Anonymous said...

Nice, Hector. Looking forward to seeing what you do with these guys. Good luck this season!
Will H

Anonymous said...

CUT rules

Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Whit said...

I'd also suggest that you try to take tournament player management off the shoulders of your captains as much as possible. Let your best players focus on playing and inspiring/leading the others on the field. You worry about distributing playing time, evaluating who is/is not playing well, etc.

Beef Supreme said...

Whit is right on. That was by far the most problematic aspect, for me, of not having a coach in college. Congrats. Hope I'll see you next month.

ttt said...

So does this mean Muffin is coaching Bella Donna?

Anonymous said...

Muffin, you need to coach Bella! Not only can you lead them to a championship...you can beat Teddy's team in the process....

Anonymous said...

http://testingultimate.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/the-upa-magazine/

any response?