Ultimate as a sport and a community has given so much to me. It has been a source for belonging, fun, friends, travel, spirit, competition and giving back. I have grown and learned so much from my experiences in ultimate, and I was already 26 years old when I stumbled upon it. I’ve spent many years helping teach and watch high school girls play ultimate, and those years of experience have shown me that there are many hurdles and challenges that pertain to girls’ participation and development in sports, and specifically in ultimate.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to collaborate with a phenomenal organization, Without Limits. If you haven’t checked them out yet, you should! This empowering non-profit organizes and facilitates high-quality tournaments and clinics, all while keeping the focus of women’s development in mind. The main individuals running the show for Without Limits are Michelle Ng and Kyra Cataby. Having participated in this organization’s events and crossing paths with Michelle a number of times over the years, I knew immediately after I took on the Girls’ National Outreach Director role in 2018 that a collaboration with Michelle was a top priority for me.
Outside of various playing opportunities, Without Limits has also taken on other impressive projects, including two College Women’s Ultimate Resources Manuals. As far as I am aware of, these manuals are the first formal resources written specifically for young women in ultimate, filled with stories and knowledge from some of the most experienced ultimate players on a variety of topics. Seeing how beneficial these resources were to our college women, we immediately began collaborating on a project to take the same amazing effort put into these resources and direct it towards creating a resource manual catered specifically to high school girls – the High School Girls’ Ultimate Resources Manual!
Putting together this manual was a much longer and comprehensive process than we initially imagined, with 46 knowledgeable individuals contributing their insights, passions and voices to help us create the first-ever High School Girls’ Ultimate Resources Manual. All of the resource articles present in the manual fall into one of seven overarching themes: player development, coaching resources, building a team, spirit, EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion), program development and community. These articles cover a wide variety of aspects related to girls’ ultimate and can be utilized by coaches, parents, players and organizers. Below are a few article titles that give an idea of what readers will find inside the manual:
- Captain Material: How to Stand Out Before it is Your Turn to Stand Up
- Planning a Cohesive Season
- Burnout: Why Your Athlete’s Don’t Look Stoked to be at Practice
- Three Keys to Building Team Culture
- How to Teach Spirit in 2020
- The Spirit of Allyship: Creating a Culture of Allyship between Girls’ and Boys’ Teams in a Program
- Representation and Equity
- What it Took to go Varsity
- AGE UP and Community Organizing
Collaborating on this manual with Michelle, Kyra, Without Limits, USA Ultimate and all of the authors was truly a fun and exciting experience. I have nothing but sincere gratitude for everyone who gave their time and energy to this project, and I hope what we’ve created will help keep girls involved in ultimate and will lead them to have amazing and successful experiences in the sport as well as in life.