Mixed teams are all about cooperation and support, but there’s also the ugly, frustrating side that often has new female players go mad. Sometimes it results in quitting. These issues are equally irritating for male players. I decided to ask my teammates what problems, in general, did they notice on the mixed teams. While the answers proved that there’re not many issues, some of them significantly affect the game.
Since Ultimate Frisbee is still a niche sport, recruiting is not as easy as in other sports disciplines. It may be easier for colleges and a bit harder for the sports clubs. Building the awareness about the sport is an important aspect. Every time I mention Ultimate to someone for the first time, they assume it’s a sport with dogs. We race the dogs and catch the frisbee in our teeth. Our dentists must be top class to get us fixed after each game.
In most cases, Ultimate makes people curious enough to come to open training, the team hosted events or team recruitment. Guys are more than willing to join the game, so what’s the real issue?
For some reason, Ultimate doesn’t seem as appealing to girls. They prefer fitness, volleyball or other less competitive, tiring sports. So, what seems to be a problem? Many people view Ultimate as a hard sport to master. Some ladies views the sport as brutal and too competitive. Some see it as too much a challenge. Others think they need to know how to throw the disc before they could join. Well, without trying you can’t really tell how you’re going to perform. There’s nothing to lose in trying new things.
Not throwing to girls
Many players have some kind of issues when it comes to throwing to girls. On some teams, the only task is to distract girls on the other team. Then guys can play the real game and win. The issue? You don’t involve half of your team. Some would rather teach their female players one thing – run to the end zone and catch the disc no matter what. Nothing more. What’s the fun for girls to play the game if they feel like obstacles?
Luckily on my team, it’s not a problem and guys pass the disc to girls. However, there was one tournament last year where our women part of the team was a bit neglected. That’s when a teammate asked us if it doesn’t piss us off that we don’t get the disc. It bugged me. It really did, but I thought that no one really paid attention. At first, I said nothing, but it’s not healthy to keep such annoyance to yourself. So, ever since I push myself to mention it. Sometimes in a non-direct way or annoyance-fueled outburst that no one expects from an introvert.
I think it’s very important to tell your teammates how you feel about it. You may feel uncomfortable with this – just tell them. Nobody likes to feel useless on the field. Many guys find it safer to throw to a cutting guy than to a cutting woman. It takes a bit of trust. For new female players, it’s frustrating when they don’t get the disc. Now think how hard it was to recruit that girl and throw that frisbee to her! Let her be competitive. Give her a reason to stick around! 😉
Ultimate Frisbee is described as a non-contact sport. Let’s face it. Physical contact happens. Sometimes quite a lot. It’s a competitive, fast-paced and dynamic sport, so we can’t expect that each play will be foul free. While playing in a Mixed Divisions it can get a bit ugly. When guys collide with female players it may result in some nasty injuries. However, we’ve got another issue here.
When playing Mixed some girls bold enough to go for the disc against a male player. When a foul takes place the guy is always to blame. He could have seen her chasing that disc and should have stopped, right? Well, how about girls should also watch out? It’s not only because something can happen to her. Guys are not made of steel. I think that if a girl decides to go against a guy for a disc she should be aware of the consequences. Male players are not the only ones to watch out. Female players are equally responsible for the fouls that sometimes they cause. In cases like that, both sides should know when to let go. If we want to be treated as equals we can’t play damsels in distress or drama queens.
Communication on the field is the key. Without it, you can’t go far as a team. With so many different personalities it’s hard to establish good cooperation. That requires lots of work and involvement. When it works, your teammates will pretty much read your mind. When team’s communication fails the series of unfortunate mistakes unfold.
There are things that easily sabotage the team communication. Different personalities clash on the field. There are series of mistakes, drops and bad decisions. Some have PMS meltdown and all hell breaks loose. Others silently suppress the anger, while some players throw a tantrum and refuse to play. Bad vibes like that affect the whole team and their performance during the game.
Sometimes communication problems make me go like this on the inside:
and as an introvert I try to remain like this:
But sometimes it’s too much. You get to see the introvert meltdown:
And people react like:
Working on communication takes time. It involves trusting your teammates and not underestimating them. Sometimes bad timing with criticism or blaming others for not catching a bad throw is enough to make someone go off.
These four issues need a lot of work and cooperation. Some problems need to be talked about to be resolved and they won’t disappear overnight. What other issues did you notice while playing mixed? What’s your advice on fixing them?