Friday, February 24, 2006

league games... - player organized? or adult adminstration?

this saturday afternoon the 30ish teams from the Philly area that make up PHUEL will come together at the director of the league's residence to hammer out plans and schedules for the season.

league information and news is announced first, and then the captains and representatives from each team are free to roam talking with other captains to organize games. essentially its entirely player run save the very few teams that have coaches.

however i realize this is not how alot of the hs leagues nationally are run - i know many of the leagues are very closely tied with and sponsored by the adult leagues in the area, which sometimes reserve fields for the hs teams and schedule games for them. or a season is scheduled by adult administrators where each team plays the other ones once over the course of the spring etc.

what i guess im wondering is how your league individually sets up games, are there meetings? is it up to the captains to organize games on their own? or are there adult factions or structured league game times? does your league have a specified field space designated? lemme hear ya.

(a side note: a full run down of the games to look forward to for the spring season of PHUEL will be posted as soon as i get the info from that meeting)

also - if you havent seen it already, Thomas has a really nice rundown of one of the first tournaments of the high school season.


Coach Becker said...

Again, I must insert the size and visibility of the local ultimate community as the singlemost important factor when deciding who should organize hs leagues and what form they should take.

In St. Louis, a city of about 350,000 people without another major metropolitan city closer than about 300 miles, we have a relatively small, insular ultimate community. The juniors scene, accordingly, is relatively small. When we decided to start the league last year, 6 more teams were born, but half barely knew how to play the game and were thus pretty disorganized.

I submit the following: if the scene is sketchy, unreliable, then a structured league with weekly game-times, organized by adults, is the most effective form that a hs league can take. As evidence, refer to my earlier post at
(I don't know anything about html, sorry).

With a more established community with more dedicated players, I can see how a youth-organized league might be effective, give the kids a greater sense of ownership, yadda yadda. Ultimate instigators should first decide, though, whether or not they believe the interest-level is high enough to sustain such flexibility.

Think of it in building-metaphor as the need for a strong foundation. Leagues, I also submit, do a better job of building this ground-level interest, making ultimate more visible, more accessible, more legitimate to more people. If your community already has this solid base, go ahead and build any kind of house you like; but, if not, I believe it's better to first solidify the foundation.

Andy Hwang said...

I play in the NJ league, and the coordinator generally sends out a list of 3 teams that each team has to play over "round" of a few weeks. Last year, there were two rounds. A lot of the teams dropped out of the league for various reasons though... so most teams had 4-5 league games over a 3 month league... There were scrimmages as well, of course, and if two teams (that aren't scheduled to play each other) agree to play for a league game, they are allowed to whenever they want.

Fantusta said...

As a PHUEL captain, well, first off it's Sunday, and second off, as much as I love the meetings, it's so hard to know some things in advance, and at least some level more of organization would be nice, especially for new teams that don't know what they're doing as much.

Mike Mullen said...

This is a great topic and one I hold close to my heart. I for one don't want to have to deal with a high school student when I am trying to schedule games for my team. As a league coordinator it is a huge pain to try to deal with high school students. In Seattle, as we continue to move from primarily coed HS to more single gender, we are demanding that teams in the league have an adult to do their external organizing. That may sound harsh but a lot of the adult coaches have no patience nor time when it comes to organizing. I do believe strongly in making students do internal organizing, which is something that happens in my program. I also believe that the best way to get athletic administrators to support ultimate is to show them that the leagues in their area is organized in a professional manner similar to other varsity sports at other schools.

In Seattle, we have league coordinators who put together the matchup schedules and then the single gender teams figure out where and exactly what time the game will start during the week. The UPA has a great organizers packet that has round robin schedules that make scheduling easier.

Here is what I wrote as boys HS league coordinator for our league guidelines as far as this topic goes:

"Coach Responsibilities to League:

Unfortunately we are still in the infancy of the single gender high school leagues. Coaches main responsibility to their team needs to be in making sure they are organized for league games and that their teams meet league guidelines. They should also actively work with the athletic administration at their schools in a professional manner in the hopes of getting more support in the future. Someday we may get to the point where we will have athletic administrators from each team to take care of this stuff, but until then it is up to the coaches. High school captains from teams should absolutely not be the ones to perform league communication responsibilities. That is grossly unfair to other coaches. For this league to grow and prosper and hopefully someday be supported by school administrators, the quality of organization by the coaches is more important than the quality of the play on the field."

If you want to see how we do our signups for our various leagues go to the discnw website at

Hope this helps.

-Mike Mullen, Boys Varsity Coach
The Northwest School, Seattle

Coach Becker said...

Mike, you voiced some of the very things we've been preaching in St. Louis.

"For this league to grow and prosper and hopefully someday be supported by school administrators, the quality of organization by the coaches is more important than the quality of the play on the field."

Poetry, Mike . . . poetry, and I couldn't agree more.

Julian Hausman said...

Pittsburgh (PHUL) is run in a way that I think is pretty much unique. (I think this because the board was assigned to research 5 other leagues that are pretty much the most well known in the country and compare them to PHUL)

PHUL is expecting about 25 teams this year, and is the governing body of youth ultimate in Pittsburgh.

PHUL is player run. It is run by a 5 member board (I am on the board) which is suporvised (thats spelled wrong) by the PHUL Administrator who works under the Youth Director. When I say that the board calls teh shots, I mean we order discs, order shirts, choose the structure of the league, fundraise, create a $100,000 scholarship for graduating players, are in charge of registration, govern the league and settle disputes, run Finals of league play, and pretty much everything and anything else. The PHUL Board meets 1-2 times per month throughout the year, more frequently than that right before and during the season. Besides meeting in person frequently, the board is in constant contact with eachother through almost daily phone calls and AIM conversations. The board also uses the Pittsburgh Ultimate website forum to communicate among itself and to the rest of the city. What helps guide the board's decision are the captains of the league, which are given the board's contact information, as well as a captains/board member chat forum on the website.

This is the second year that the board has been in existance, as well as my second year on the board. Many side projects have been going on to run a better league. PHUL is trying to work a strong relationship with the media, fundraise, and make the captains jobs as easy as possible. Most recently, the board created online registration for the league, which unless special circumstances apply, is the only way to sign up for the league.

Theres alot more to be said about this, but I don't want to piss people off by making them read alot more, my AIM is MrMeiner176 if you want to ask more questions about how PHUL is run.