Sunday, January 22, 2012

Midwest Captaining 101 Clinic Recap

What a weekend. 12 hours of clinic time split between the fieldhouse, auxiliary gym, and classroom. 6 coaches. 65 players representing over a dozen teams in attendance.

For an outline of the weekend, check out:

At the beginning of the weekend, I encouraged players to come to the clinic with an open mind and to be willing to listen to and learn from players with backgrounds different than their own. The coaches did a great job at covering an incredible breadth and depth of information. Seeing players furiously taking notes on the knowledge being dropped by the coaches was awesome. The players were SO engaged, and asked lots of really thoughtful questions. It was really inspiring to see such a desire to learn from these players.

Robyn teaching a session on "Team Structure and Developing a Team Identity"

The majority of the players in attendance at the clinic play for teams that are uncoached. The captains and team leaders shoulder a tremendous amount of responsibility developing a vision for the season, planning practices, taking on administrative tasks, etc. While some knowledge is passed on from year to year, many of these players struggle to figure out how to get their team to the next level. Our goal with this clinic was to equip these players with more tools to lead their teams, covering topics such as basic O / D fundamentals (and how to teach them), practice planning, matchups and game-time adjustments, how to get the most out of the players you have, among many other things.

Our coaches have played at the highest levels of the sport, and have wide range of backgrounds, from helping grow young college women's teams to coaching and captaining elite college teams to captaining elite club teams. While none of us claim to be an expert, our experiences over the years have helped shape us into the players and leaders we are today, and our hope was to share that with these younger players.

Over the course of the weekend, we also had the opportunity to meet on a more individual basis with the leaders of several teams including Oberlin and Grinnell. What a joy and privilege to interact with players with such vision for their teams and such passion for our sport. THIS is why we do what we do!

Paige Hill, one of the captains of the Grinnell women's team, was the driving force behind the clinic, organizing all of the on-the-ground logistics. The Grinnell men and women were also gracious enough to offer free housing for everyone who needed it. A huge thank you to them for their hard work, as well as to all of the coaches and players who made this weekend such an awesome, rewarding experience. The future of ultimate in the Midwest is bright thanks to so many invested players and leaders, and we look forward to watching all of these players lead their teams to glory this season!

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