Friday, January 12, 2007

Team Foundation - The Business Perspective

When I speak of foundation, I'm talking about what sets your team for the season. I've, recently, been reading Start Your Own Business.

How is this relevant to Ultimate? Well, in the book one of the major themes (there are others that apply) is about the business plan. Those of you in the know, are already aware that a business plan is key to determine what your business is about and what directions it will take over the next five years. This is a living document that is meant to be updated every year.

In Ultimate, the equivalent in my mind is the playbook. Playbook might be too general a term if the document is support to describe all the things like goals, mission statement, etc.

I've talked about the playbook before, but quiet simply it's important. So, what has this book added to what we, as coaches, should include in the playbook? Here are a few ideas:
  • Executive Summary
  • Team Description - Describes the history and includes any rituals as well as yearly events (parties, meetings, etc.)
  • Philosophy for coach, team, offense, and defense
  • Basic Skills Description
  • Competition analysis
  • Strategy
    • Offensive plays
    • Defensive sets including zones
  • Development Plan
    • Goals short and long term
    • Drills
That's my latest version of what I think should be included in the playbook. Maybe we need to call this book the teamplan, and it's possible that not all of these described sections need to be given to the players, but the coach/captain and leadership need to go through the process of writing these things down.



Anonymous said...

Are any others reading business books and thinking how they can relate to Ultimate? Anyone? I think this is great, and I wish it would happen more often, not in planning a team or making a playbook, but in organizing leagues, tournaments, etc... What are they reading at UPA headquarters? The sport has made tremendous strides over the years, but are people actually studying how to keep growing and promoting the sport? Can Ultimate grow faster and better than it currently is? I wish more people would get involved with Ultimate from a business perspective...

Taylor said...

Check out the Ultimate Revolution. It was a big survey put on by UPA about changing the sport over the next 5 years. It was more to see how the ultimate community feels about moving toward a pro level sport and how that will change the game. Sounds good to me...

Vickers said...

Couldn't agree with you more, Peter. One of the jumps to becoming a 'serious' sport is the development of non-player positions - meaning, people need to be thinking of the short(1 to 2 years) and long term(2-5 years), not just the single season.

Strategy and development are things you've mentioned; also, a team needs to consider meaningful fitness training. A programme should be designed and followed for an entire year, including the offseason, preseason, season and playoffs. It should reflect important tournaments and build towards the goals outlined by the coach/captain.

The business plan holds a lot of key components that can (and should!) be transferable to a serious sporting team in general. The problem lies in being serious.

I think we're beginning to this in Ultimate - teams in Toronto have started a 'club' system (I know we've talked about that years ago) that looks to have a feeder team growing into the 'big leagues'. It's an attempt to have a bigger vision but I'm not sure if the vision is there and being actively worked towards (but not being part of it, what do I know!) We've also seen the start of fitness programmes for ultimate. These are starts but there's a long way to go.