In return


When Kate approached me to coach a local college team, and I agreed to help her, I was expecting very little. I figured I'd be able to help them with at least a little bit of the tricks, tips and tactics I've learned over the last thirteen years of playing ultimate.

What I wasn't expecting to do, however, is learn from them. Least of all in the way that I am.

Here are fifteen women who are looking to me to provide them knowledge and leadership. If I fail, they fail.

Sure, they're willing to learn, they're eager to learn. They absorb everything I teach them, and apply it very well. They learn quickly, and remember, too. I'm really impressed with them. However, it's strange to be in a teaching position; not really of authority, but of experience and leadership.

I'm used to being the number two in a group, able to do the work, but not really at the top.

Kate's been in a position of leadership in many different parts of her life. I haven't, not really. When I'm at practice, however, and Kate's not, the team looks to me to provide guidance and direction. I've started doing exactly that. I've started to lead.

I teach them ultimate. They teach me how to be a leader.

A big fish in a small pond, but a leader none-the-less.

It's a lesson I'm glad they're willing to teach.

Coach K


Kate sent me a note a couple weeks ago, a forward from an RSD post from a local student seeking a coach for a local university's women's ultimate team. She asked if I was interested in joint coaching the team.

After several fits, starts and miscommunications, we finally connected with the team, and signed up. We were to be Coach Kitt and Coach Kate. Exciting! I think it'll work out well, since one or the other of us can cover practice, what with Kate travelling for work and my heading out for my UCPC talk, or ultimate tournaments, or just plain exhaustion from too much overplanning.

Practice is from 9-11 PM, which is just painfully late for an athletic endeavour to me. I can't figure out how the university managed to secure the late night lights schedule with the surrounding town. But they did, and that's when the fields are open, and last Thursday is when I went to my first practice with the team.

There were eleven players at practice. When I showed up, the team was doing a square drill. They were running it slowly, but started running harder as, one by one, they realized "Coach" was there.

I think I did okay, for my first run at coaching. They played better than I was led to believe they could play. All of them could catch, and all of them had the basic fundamentals of throwing. If the players stick with the sport, they can become very good.

I often feel uncomfortable with telling people what to do. There's a certain state of mind I can get into where I don't mind it, and can be very good at the leader role, but it's not a typical state for me and I have to work at it.

In this case, I did okay. I tried to encourage with everything I did, learn as many names as I could and be as positive as possible. In the end, however, I was still essentially bossing them around.

The next practice is tomorrow. Kate should be there, which should be very good: having a coach who can play will be very advantageous.

Kris has started calling me "Coach Kitt." Cracks me up.