How to: Being a Good Captain

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First, thank you for being a captain. It’s the front line of volunteering in the AFDC.  Taking on a leadership role is one of the best ways to give back to the Ultimate community.

As a captain you have an immense effect on your team’s experience. New players often recount the great time they had with their first team or how much they learned from their first captain. Many players credit captains as having hooked them on Ultimate or shaped the way they play the game.

The AFDC would like as many players as possible to share in that experience. We’d love to encourage all captains to provide a similar foundation while still applying their personal style. Here is a list that we hope will prove as useful advice to all captains.

Top 10

  1. Demand that your team conduct itself with good spirit.
  2. Listen and respect your teammates AND opponents. Be ready to diffuse tension, not instigate it.
  3. Be informed and communicate often with your team.
  4. Show up often, be on time, and start games on time.
  5. Have fun and make sure others do too.
  6. Know the rules and safety policies.
  7. Most of our leagues are Co-ed, set an example of female involvement on the field and in the huddle.
  8. Make an effort to involve new players on and off the field.
  9. Encourage your team to attend league social events.
  10. You have support. Your league commissioner, other captains, and AFDC board members are always willing to lend advice and help solve problems.

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Essentials

  1. Demand that your team conduct itself with good spirit.
  2. Be informed or know where to find important info.
  3. Communicate with your team.
  4. Communicate with your team regularly.
  5. Communicate with your team frequently.
  6. Communicate with your commissioner.
  7. Communicate with other captains. (Are you detecting a pattern?)
  8. Check and reply to emails.
  9. Have good attendance.
  10. Show up to the Draft.
  11. Show up to the CRM if you are a summer league captain.

Basics

  1. Have fun, yourself. Players will follow your lead.
  2. Make an effort to see that your players and the other teams you play are having fun. Be inclusive.
  3. Listen and respect your teammates AND opponents.
  4. Be early. Stay late.
  5. Know the schedule (link)
  6. Introduce yourself to your team. Get to know all the players.
  7. Have cones at all times. Keep them in your trunk.
  8. Have a couple of discs at all times. Keep them in your trunk.
  9. Know the rules specific to your league.
  10. Know the rules of ultimate (link)
  11. Make sure the fields are set up.
  12. Know AFDC safety policies (link)
    1. Weather/Lightning
    2. Concussions
    3. Pets
    4. GSP
  13. Make an effort to involve new players on and off the field.
  14. Most of our leagues are Co-ed, set an example of female involvement on the field and in the huddle.
  15. Utilize the experience of other veterans on your team.
  16. Keep things in perspective.
  17. Be ready to diffuse tension, not instigate it.
  18. Come up with a fun team name and order jerseys EARLY in the season.

Extras

  1. Encourage your team to attend Game of the Week and any league parties.
  2. Organize meals after games.
  3. Organize a pre-tourney party.
  4. Organize non-league night social activities.
  5. Talk about strategy and motivation in huddles.
  6. Help  players develop or connect them with someone who can.
  7. Make a spreadsheet to track attendance.
  8. Be a willing target for mockery and heckling. It’s more fun if you laugh : D

Photos by Christina Schmidt.

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