Team identity can be hard to nail down and describe, but it's at the essence of your team's brand - how you and your teammates view your team and how outsiders do as well.
And while you might think that your team identity is simply the sum of the parts of its players, there are actually some action steps you can take to be intentional about curating your custom team identity.
So whether you're here because your squad is going through a bit of a team identity crisis, or you're just curious how to make your team brand have more of an impact in your division, read on to learn how to take the reigns of your team identity!
Why defining your ultimate team's identity is important
Recruit the players you want
Freshmen wandering around Org Fair not only look for an activity that suits their interests, but also for a community of folks they could fit in with, grow with, and feel comfortable with.
How your players represent your team - how welcoming they are, how rambunctious, how goofy - sends a message to potential new players about what kind of a group they're joining.
If players are intimidating and intense, you'll probably get a committed and competitive bunch, looking to make it to Nationals.
If players are standing on tables singing Disney songs, you'll probably get a bunch excited by absurd party themes and goofy bonding opportunities.
Boost the team bonding
Shout out to Fugue, looking rad in their 2018 Five Ultimate jerseys!
Having a defined personality for the team makes it easier for players to rally behind and build on, ultimately bringing your players closer together for that on-field flow and lifelong friendships.
A team identity gives a foundation for inside jokes, hang out activities, road trip playlists, and team traditions.
Pro Tip: Teams that rock their team jerseys on a Friday before a team tournament report feeling more excited and focused on the upcoming tournament. #science
create a legacy for the future
Last year's team identity is part of your team's story, and you, as this year's captain, have the power to influence the team's identity for years to come.
If you set out to host the best party tournament in your region, teams in your area will remember and come a-knockin' next year for disc throwing shenanigans.
If your team throws Spirit of the Game out the window and makes aggressive fouls and inappropriate calls, well, teams will also remember you for that.
Appreciate the importance of this moment, and think about what kind of team identity you want to foster!
step one: define your culture
Kali's dance moves and snazzy 2018 Five Ultimate jerseys bring fun energy to their sidelines!
In addition to being what you eat, you are what you do.
Your team's on- and off-field behavior is a huge part in defining who you are. Partnering with other groups on campus, hosting safe and inclusive parties, and giving back to your community would all impact others' impressions of your squad.
Your team culture is more than a majority of your team identity, so keep an eye on it, and make sure your teammate's actions back up who you want your team to be.
set and prioritize your team goals
Spirit. Spirit can mean different things depending on who you're talking to. Do you want to be loud and proud with your goofy antics, boasting over-the-top sub jerseys, crafting original spirit games and cheers for each team that you play? Or, is spirit to you more about understanding and upholding the rules to play high quality ultimate, as it's meant to be played? Is it making sure everyone on the field is having fun? However you define spirit, think about what kind of spirit you want for your team, and where that ranks in your list of priorities.
Performance. While it's easy for any team to say they want to get better, make it to Regionals, etc., it might serve you better to find a more specific goal for this category. If you want to be the quickest team out there, well you'd better put in more track workouts to your practice schedule, and keep in mind how that will affect your team identity. How important is that goal on your priority list? Would you jeopardize your definition of spirit for your performance goals? Being clear about what your goals are will help you nail down your team identity.
A bit ambiguous to define, your team personality will generally come about naturally with input from all of your players. Sometimes, however, team leadership will decide to make a concerted effort to set an example and influence the team personality.
Your personality might be energetic and welcoming, inviting your opponents into dance circles during timeouts. You might be super tight knit, with a list of inside jokes that would confuse an outsider indefinitely.
Though writing out adjectives to describe your team's personality might be a bit extreme, it's responsible to think about how you want your team to come across and to manage that persona. Reflect the values you want your team to uphold.
If you want to be even more intentional about it, delegate positions to emphasize certain aspects of your team personality. Though we've never heard of one before, a team dance coordinator or cheer captain could be just the ticket to ramp up your team's spirit.Step two: bring your identity into your uniform
Freespeed from Switzerland celebrates a score in their rad 2018 Five Ultimate jerseys.
Heavily influenced by your team goals and personality, your team's logo, jersey colors, and mascot all send a message about who your team is, before other teams even interact with you.
Teams with killer uniforms or costumes draw an eye from across a tournament, begging other teams to tell their friends: "I really hope we get to play THAT team."
Team uniforms and team identity go disc-in-hand. Luckily, we're here to help create a design that perfectly represents your team identity for free!
Whether you're reusing a previous logo, revamping something from the past, or starting from scratch, we've got the tools and know-how to make your jerseys a home-greatest. We're also all ultimate players, so we'll understand you when you ask for a pinch more 'call me maybe' or to take a design a bit closer to 'I bleed black'.
step three: profit.
AKA, reflect a curated team identity that will make everyone want to be part of your awesome org!