Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A Very Decent Proposal


We are currently a team in transition, and change brings with it inevitable uncertainties and concerns. I would like to take this opportunity to share my thoughts for the team, and open a team discussion to allow us to reach a common vision quickly.

A Brief Canine History

In the beginning, Chris had no beard. The Hounds came together from multiple social teams in ’05 and entered TUC as one of the only teams that lived for Thursday nights. Games were okay, but socials were awesome. Without fail the entire squad could be found eating Wings and laughing late into the post-game nights. Laura does not exaggerate when she says these were nights to look forward to. Season 2, 2006, and the Hounds became more competitive with an expanded roster and, shock horror, several practices. Where things really took off however was in the social arena – Hounds Bowlerama, Old School Hounds, Hounds Close Sunnybrook, Disc Golf Hounds, Hounds Love Louis…truly the stuff of legends, and this lead implicitly to success on the field, pushing against the highest levels of Thursday TUC. Chris, at this point, probably had a beard. A big one. The 07 season dawned with large roster expansion in terms of quantity and quality, leading to a move into the heady worlds of Mondays. Without being arrogant, the Hounds relished the challenge of putting their newfound roster, energy and restlessness to the test. Hounds were beginning to tour and there was excitement in the air; the Hounds were becoming a real Ultimate team. While clearly still B level, they were at least now in the game and getting minimal BBS airtime… The goal was audaciously outlined as “Become an A level team”. This could mean many things, but was articulated as spending the summer learning team structure, playing against, and learning from, some of TO’s best, and attending a few tournaments with the ability to cause some upsets as the unknown contender. I should mention that at this point Chris’ beard became decidedly well trimmed.

The ’07 season

From that brief history you see that the confluence of Fun and Performance has always been an important consideration. The focus for 2007 though, in order to make the expansion to a higher level, was always going to be on performance. To this end regular training was agreed upon as essential, with the goal being to form a common understanding of the basic A level team structures. Additionally, although not explicitly stated, we could expect to lose just as many games as we won, assuming we really were playing on the edge of our ability and therefore developing. A good plan, methinks.

However, things do not always happen smoothly, and the realities of battle take some adjusting to…multiple commitments sidelined practices, some big losses dampened spirits, a forming squad lost momentum on socials, the goals and aspirations were sometimes questioned. Everything here is normal. In the natural process of evolution, team development is a cyclical process of Expanding and Consolidating.

Well, here is my team proposal for Consolidating, taking stock, refocusing. I think it will make us stronger and really help to align everyone’s needs to the team’s goal, and launch an awesome summer (it is only June!)

The Draft Plan

The most important word here is “draft”. Without your input and endorsement it is nothing, so read away, comment/rant/suggest to your heart’s content, and when the dust settles, we’ll have something legendary.

> Goals
- Finish Top 5 on Monday night (i.e. Tier 1)
- Enjoy RTH summer 07

> Individual performance
- Mandatory pre-game team warm-up and drill
- Commitment to give 110% intensity for 90mins
- assign mentor/benefactor relationships for all players

> Team development
- 1 training session per month with an experienced coach
- Assembly of a team playbook, for pre-game revision
- Attend Canadian Nationals (to watch) as a fun team activity and learn from the best

> Team execution
- Assign a summer Field Captain to execute the game strategy
- Guys & Gals captain to actively manage lines

> Fun Time
- Assign Social Secretary to run 2 events per month
- 1 post game bar, 1 big event (Bowlerama, Disc golf)
- Attend Canadian Nationals as a team and party

Quote of the season

“You’re a tool, can I use you to succeed?”

And now over to you, Hounds. Reactions?


bonners said...

I like it. Especially the pre-game warmup and drill. Let's work on showing up earlier instead of arriving just in time...I get bored sitting there by myself.

*I already have Aug 9/10 as vacation to watch the big boys play at Sunnybrook.

Double L. said...

I love this plan. It's a great balance of committment, fun, and improvement. I especially like the Team Development and Team Execution categories, as well as the team warm-up and drill.

One suggestion I might have for training, at least for the ladies, is to have one of the more experienced women from the Capitals or from a high level co-ed team do some training. I found the women's clinic I went to really helpful because I think guys and gals do play differently, and it was useful to get an experienced women's perspective on marking and cutting, etc.

Also, since I ranted on about Fun, I will volunteer to be the social coordinator. If nominated to this position, I would start with Chrisian's great suggestion of going to the Simpson's movie as a team.

Thanks for drafting this plan Chris and Simon! (and whoever else helped).

Scamper said...

I can't take credit for this...I'm just the blogging mule.

1) Hopefully this is the kick in the ass for us to get over our case of the Mondays and have some non-ultimate fun.

2) I think we shouldn't get too down on ourselves for losing those games...we have pretty much lost to three of the top four teams. It's just HOW we're losing that is disappointing. I think it's still good experience that has illustrated how we have areas to work on so we can compete with the big teams.

3) Since we're the cone team on Mondays, we will have access to the fields early until dark. We can do drills before and after the game (although we don't want to take away from any other fun post-game activities). We (well, at least I do) have to stay until about 8:45 to clean up at the end of the night anyway.

4) Having fun is important, but if we want to be competitive, we must remain focused the entire game.

Chopper06 said...

Huh... I've been in training all day, and expected to come back to read loads of comments here... I'm sure more thoughts are forthcoming from all of the Hounds...

Here are my thoughts:
1. Goals for the season are totally realistic - let's stick to achieving these!

2. Individual performance: I love it... whether you're late or early for the game, showing up and srewing around before the game is totally useless - let's get there early (let's commit to a time), and run 1-2 good solid warm-up drills, so that we don't have to waste the first 2 points to really warm up

3. Team development - I love both Simon & LL's suggestions/ideas.

4. Team execution - good idea - I've witnessed this working very well on BH, and I'm all for it!

5. Fun time - wicked - Let's have more fun - I tried my best last summer, and I think we had some fun social activities, so we should do more of that - I just don't think I'm the person to do it this summer - if someone else wants to take this on (i.e. LL), that's great!

Pierre said...

Again, this is a really good proposal. I don't want to tweak antyhing already mentioned, I think everything is perfect.

One addition I would suggest: we could do a 30 minutes of fun event after every game. I understand how no one (but me) wants to be out on Monday until 11h30pm half drunk when we are just starting the week, but spending some time to laugh at ourselves and bound as a team after an intense game will make us stronger. This could be a pseudo disc golf in sunnybrooke, a summer long hounds olympic (longest throw, most precise flick, longest layout, etc.), or something else, but we should definitely spend some time cooling down together.


Nat said...

Good ideas everyone! As a team, we need to be on the same wavelength and let's try to help each other attain the goals, both personal and team oriented.

Goals - completely attainable. Just keep on working hard.

I do like the warm up/drill ideas. It ensures that everyone is ready to go and we can go over any strategy at that time as opposed to rushing to say it as we cheer. We'll be ready to go by game time and we won't be using the first half of the game to warm up.

TUC also does have a "Coach for a Day" program where they use touring players. It'll give the touring players 'points' that they can use towards their team/fields etc.

Team execution - I like it. Like Lyanne's worked well on the Hammers.

And yes...there needs to be more FUN times and I second or third the nomination of LL. It does feel like we're in some need of bonding.

Christian said...

You can create your own Simpsons character!!! And print them out!!! Coolest thing ever.

Christian said...

Also, I agree with the goals and stuff.

Austin said...

First was very eloquently written. Who knew someone could both compose such insightful prose and toss a wicked huck.

I too am in total agreement with the draft plan. I think we got caught up in trying too many different things without fully learning and understanding any of them. This led to confusion and disorganization on the field. Instead of trying everything under the sun, we need to focus on a few main plays and learn them well. For any team strategy to work everyone has to be on the same page and the team practices, playbook and field captains will help us execute these plays.

So you’ve got total commitment from me...well...except this Monday because my defense is the day after and I kinda screwed up my shoulder from last game...hard to catch discs when you can’t lift your arm...

Owen said...

Great plan! It's awesome to be on a team that puts this much thought and energy into improving.

One thing, that may be a bit controversial, but I think could really help, would be some sort of individual review to discern individual strengths and weaknesses. Not to be confused with criticism or blame, I think constructive feedback on 'areas of improvement' can bring a lot of growth. An analysis of individual strengths could help allot positions to maximize team benefit.

It might even be helpful to have a way to provide individuals with suggestions after games - again, have to be careful not to blame and criticize (ie. don't drop the disc as much', but I would love to hear suggestions after a game (ie. start your cuts a bit earlier).

This could happen through the mentors suggested in the plan, through a team collective or open forum.

Tien said...

Looks like a good plan. I might focus less on a results based goal, but 5th is do-able.

I like Owen's idea about individual feedback. I think the place to start on that front is to have everyone think about what they think their strengths and weaknesses are on their own and identify areas that they want to work on.

Simon said...

Great inputs so far, nice to see so much engagement! Feel free to comment on others' ideas - I am watching closely and taking notes... just awaiting the final few.

Dan said...

Good Plan.

I agree with Owen's addition. There’s nothing wrong with talking to each other on ways to improve our game individually and as a team.

My only concern would be that some people can take criticism and others can't, even when it is constructive.

Carla said...

Everything sonds great. I don't think you can ever underestimate the importance of a good warm up. I think that's a great starting point. Social's after - GREAT! During the game we need to obviously be vocal but we also need to try to nicely point out "areas of improvement". Nothing to take offence at just a friendly reminder or a new learning point, either way a good thing.

Nadia said...

I also think the plan is great! I'll give my 110% to move the plan forward!! I'm a big believer that spirit/attitude is what makes or breaks performance (above actual skill and effort). I made mention at last week's game that we have to learn to shake the frustration of loses (which will happen) and regroup in order to come out in full force the following game. Lets not hold a grudge, and lets not be intimidated to meet the stronger teams. It seems like when we are scheduled to play a strong team, we psych ourselves out even before the game has begun! Keep in mind that our recent losses were to teams stacked with touring players. Not that I think that us as individuals are of less calibre, but in the grand scheme of things, those teams have a bit more experience than us. We have nothing to be ashamed of. I think the Hounds is an awesome team with players of great skill and spirit, which is the number one reason I joined the team this year. We have what it takes to be a top calibre team...lets strengthen our confidence again! To wrap up my thoughts...If we stick to this new game plan it'll put our spirit/attitude back in check, which I have no doubt will make everything else fall into place! I enjoy the Hounds...and am greatful to have been accepted on to the team!