If you're already a leader for your team or club, this article is not for you. I’m here to talk to the back end the roster, the last five people selected on a team, the injured team mate.
Never underestimate your ability to inspire from behind.
It can be easy, when you feel like you’re at the lower-end of a team, to wait, watch and draw inspiration from players that are better or more senior than you. I think we forget sometimes that those above us, leading the charge, also need inspiration.
We’re lucky to be at a stage in Ultimate where, if you are driven to train harder (and smarter) than those around you, you will start to see success. Part of the charm of our sport is that success is not restricted only to the extremely athletically gifted; there are still roster spots on teams for the ‘hard workers’ out there.
With this in mind, if you choose to flick that mental switch, if you choose to train harder/smarter than anyone else on your team or even just harder than anyone expects of you, then two things will happen:
You will improve, quickly.
If you asked all the top players in Ultimate right now, for an approximate date of when they ‘decided’ to put in the required effort and become a ‘good player’, they could tell you. This might be six months ago or it could be a decade ago, but most high profile players have, at one point or another, said “Fuck it, I’m better than this”. They’ve signed up to a gym, pushed themselves on the track and started to throwing more frequently and with more focus than their teammates. If you make this decision, to train harder than anyone else, you will very quickly surpass all those around you.
You will inspire others to action. People respect effort. For a senior player, there is nothing more inspiring than seeing a rookie putting it all on the line, at training or at a workout. If you are sick of your team sucking, or weary of the senior players on your team lazily setting the pace, then set your own pace. Inspire them with your effort. Social media has made it so easy to share training programs. Start a Facebook group with your team and share your workouts, or sign everyone up to a Snapchat group and snap every time you’re in the gym or on the track. Don’t be afraid to tell your team that you’re putting in the work. There may be some initial resistance from your less motivated team mates, but their taunts will quickly fade when you start towelling them up on the field. So don’t wait for your team or the senior players on it to pull you up with them. That may very well happen in time, but if you want the results now, if you and your team want to see more success on the field, then set your own agenda and inspire from the bottom.