Community Post: Thrift Shop Ultimate
Thrift Shop Ultimate is a women's masters team based in Hamilton, Ontario. Here is the 'About' section of their website: "We are competitive women. We want to come together, be the best version of ourselves and leave everything else at home. We have an opportunity to form a strong collection of talented women to vie for a spot on the world stage. If you are ready to work hard for yourself and for your teammates then we want to hear from you." Andrew Portwine, one of the new coaches for the team, had this to say about what it's like to coach a strong group of women. Keep an eye out for Thrift Shop at WMUCC later this summer.
How Two Male Coaches Started Off Our Season with Our Women's Team
By Andrew Portwine
Where to begin. I had the pleasure of watching Aline play on Thrift Shop last season and saw the potential with the team and hoped they would ask me to coach them. Low and behold, the request came in prior to this season so I jumped at it. The team also asked Matthew Caldwell to coach, so we are working together to help lead and guide this group of players.
Thrift Shop celebrating their finish at CUC in 2017
As the coaches spoke early in the process, Matthew broached the subject of us as coaches having the responsibility to lead by example to promote gender equity and inclusion during the season. One of the major points of emphasis was making an adjustment to our language. This included making an effort to reduce/eliminate engendered terms such as "man defense", "you guys" or even calling a drill "3 man".
Of course these terms still slip in once in a while as they are long time habits, but both of us have asked the team to hold us accountable to continue to make the effort throughout the season with the hope of reaching our goal. *The team is also making the same effort to adjust language*
On the sporting side, I have not changed my coaching style or approach to practices etc. I'm coaching ultimate players. Period. To me, the thought of there being a difference between Open, Mixed and Women's play is laughable. Ultimate teams utilize the same general strategies to try and win games, no matter the division. Specific strategies come down to the skills available on your roster, not the division of play.
This is a special year for Thrift Shop, as most players on the roster have never attended a tournament as prestigious as WMUCC. Attending your first international WFDF tournament is exciting, and if Thrift Shop can keep control of their nerves, who knows what kind of damage they could do in Winnipeg.