Monday, June 04, 2007

Tournament 3 - Lesson 1 - Understanding the Error

One of the tricky things being a captain is your the coach and a player. Many times you'll be one of the stronger players on the team who has learned to perform certain actions well in the game. You've had the opportunity to make errors and now they don't happen as often. The challenge is when your developing players make those errors it is hard not to lose your cool.

Pictured Above: Some space for myself. My pose after a backhand throw at TUF. I must have fooled the mark so much that he's on the ground photo left (that or it's warm up). Photo taken by Jaleel.

I tend to watch games and see errors and make a joke about it. That might not be the best approach, but at least I'm not berating my players. The real challenge is that you need to accept errors as part of the learning process. It's impossible to impart sporting knowledge without a period of experience where that knowledge is tuned and transformed into successful actions on the field. This may mean that an error might happen more than once.

Not only does the captain need to realize this, but the team needs to understand this too. It's that balance between becoming a better team overall and having success for a particular moment.

Over the weekend, for the most part, I saw positive Ultimate from seven different teams all over the spectrum of coed teams. I was particularly impressed with one of the teams, Booyaka, and saw how far they have come from their inception three to four years ago. Though their team changes quite frequently, they've allowed their players to learn and make errors to get the experience they need.

On the other side of the coin is direction after an error. Errors are fine and part of the learning process, but there's nothing wrong with discussing how to stop the error. The obvious things like drops and misfires need no discussion, but finer points such as where to go on a poach and why the particular break throw might not be the best option are good to discuss.

Three tournaments into the club season my fun tournaments are done and the more serious Ultimate gets into full throttle. It was nice to reconnect with the local Ultimate touring community, but now we all need to focus on our teams and figure out how to bring individuals and teams to the next level. Just take a meta moment and think about how you're going to handle errors.