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Everyone is looking for women this summer

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Everyone is looking for women this summer

Postby larrypmac » Tue May 07, 2013 8:11 pm

My team is searching for women (Tuesdays, Intermediate west, in case any women are reading this post and looking for a team), and the "Looking to play TUC Ultimate" board is swamped with two kinds of posts - looking for women, and guys looking for teams. Most of the women I know are already playing three nights and say they might be able to sub occasionally, but I'm sure it's going to be hard finding subs all year since so many teams have the bare minimum and so many women are playing multiple nights.

Is there any thought to having a night where the gender ratio switches to 5-2 to alleviate the high demand on women?

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Postby GregS » Tue May 07, 2013 11:12 pm

I had considered suggesting this just to get Monica Kerr-Coster to go on another recruiting binge, but decided that she's got enough going on...

I don't think that going back to 5-2 is a good solution for anyone, for various reasons. Much more realistic, IMO, would be to start a men's division one night (Monday, perhaps). Even better would be for some organized effort to get out, like Monica and friends did 15 years ago, posting flyers in community centres, colleges, gyms, etc. to get more new women into the sport. That is, instead of trying to decrease the demand, work to increase the supply.
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Postby HotSauce » Wed May 08, 2013 9:25 am

Would TUC consider some kind of incentive?

Some suggestions:

* A discounted trial membership for women.
* Earning volunteer points if a member gets a woman to sign up with TUC (she can enter member's name or member number when she registers)
* More TUC socials
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Re: Everyone is looking for women this summer

Postby muskokajoe » Thu May 09, 2013 10:37 am

larrypmac wrote:Is there any thought to having a night where the gender ratio switches to 5-2 to alleviate the high demand on women?
I'm with Greg on this one. Increasing the supply is better. Personally, I'm always in recruiting mode for both (all?) genders, but especially women. I think Ultimate is a great sport for a few reasons, but one of them is the way teams can be evenly balanced when both contain complete spectrums of skill levels, genders, ages, etc., etc.

Toronto Ultimate Club to (mostly) the females in spin classes, zumba, hot yoga, booty camps, pilates, etc.: We Want You! (... and we're more fun too!)
"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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Postby ashunter » Thu May 09, 2013 10:59 am

HotSauce wrote:Would TUC consider some kind of incentive?

Some suggestions:

* A discounted trial membership for women.
* Earning volunteer points if a member gets a woman to sign up with TUC (she can enter member's name or member number when she registers)
* More TUC socials


Or my personal favorite, don't look them off when they're open. This still happens way more than it should.

Historically, TUC recruits a lot of players each year. But we also loose a lot of players each year. Some past years the turnover/churn was almost 25%. We could step up recruitment, or we could reduce the churn rate. Reducing churn is harder, but makes us a stronger club.

I'd be interested to know if the churn rate is higher for women than for men, and if so, maybe the club should reach out to the women who left to find out why. Some of the reasons could be fixable.

I don't have any solid data to back this up, but I think having any leagues go back to 5-2 would only increase the churn rate.
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Postby HotSauce » Thu May 09, 2013 11:35 am

ashunter wrote:Some of the reasons could be fixable.


Stop having babies!

:wink:

...or figure out how to get those baby girls to grow up faster and registered with TUC!
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Postby guzzwell » Thu May 09, 2013 11:36 am

HotSauce wrote:Stop having babies!


Can of worms...
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Postby ashunter » Thu May 09, 2013 12:36 pm

My daughter's strict diet of worm-from-the-cans her dad keeps opening has let to a suprisingly good hammer for a three year old.

I think 14 is TUC's current limit on juniors. So just 11 more years...
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Postby Brooksie » Thu May 09, 2013 12:44 pm

Actually TUC does Youth leagues for ages 8-14 years old, so she's not quite that far away from throwing hammers in our leagues.

So those ladies who stop playing because they had a child 8 years ago, now is your chance to get them playing (especially if they are girls as the league needs more female players).

http://www.tuc.org/youth-info/
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Postby diane » Tue May 14, 2013 11:37 am

I have a suggestion. Remember way back when Spring League was on the beach and used as a developmental league for women (and men if I remember correctly - but they were separate)? Okay, it sucked because it was windy as hell and no one throw worth a damn, but it did seem to get some women out. I feel that now, many of the women-only opportunities are used as recruitment possibilites for the women's touring teams. That leads to getting the women out who already have decent disc skills or athleticism, and there is a lot of competitiveness, which isn't always friendly and not going to get some of the women to stick around (not all women respond well to that sort of thing). If there was a short season (like spring) that could go back to purely skill improvement (nothing to do with touring, and beginner to intermediate level) that might improve retainment of women.

Also, if there is still Friday night pick-up or hat league, you could try doing a "date night" for fun. There could be cocktails (non-alcoholic of course) and canapes on the side line. Guys wear ties? It's a little more TSSC-ish I guess, but just a suggestion.
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Postby ronj » Tue May 14, 2013 1:31 pm

The league should give insentives to teams for recruiting new women — better filed locations? discounted team fees? SWAG? that sorta thing — especially if for their own team, but even just to the league. Make it competitive. Acknowledge the best recruiters.
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Postby HotSauce » Tue May 14, 2013 1:37 pm

An "Ultimate Men" calendar? It seems to have worked for the firefighters...
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Postby diane » Tue May 14, 2013 3:30 pm

Hmmm... Ultimate Calendar, eh? Not sure that would recruit women to play, but it could be a good fund raiser for Toronto Rush.

I'm against the incentives for recruiting though. The incentive for a team is to have enought women to play with. No more incentive needed.

There are two types of women to recruit: those who are used to playing other team sports (must show them how Ulti is just way more fun than their sport), and those who aren't athletic and/or not used to playing team sports (like myself). The women who are switching sports are easier to keep because they're already used to the competiveness and team dynamics. The ones that need to be retained would really benefit from a developmental league that is supportive and fun. I know I did.

It's a year before the next spring season, but maybe some women-only clinics?
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Re: Everyone is looking for women this summer

Postby jed » Wed May 15, 2013 5:21 pm

larrypmac wrote:...the "Looking to play TUC Ultimate" board is swamped with two kinds of posts - looking for women, and guys looking for teams.


There are two problems highlighted in the original post. The only suggestion I see here that even remotely tries to address the latter one is Greg's idea to add a men's league (which only solves the issue to the extent that the spots in that league are not filled by guys already playing on other nights).

All of the other suggestions seem to be aimed at solving the first issue, but ignoring the second - with the sole exception of going to a 5-2 ratio in one or more leagues. This would address both problems, yet this option seems to be universally rejected by just about everyone, for unstated / unsubstantiated reasons.

TUC has a latent population of guys out there ready to sign up, pay, and show up to play. Why so little interest in signing them up? Do they smell or something?
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Postby diane » Wed May 15, 2013 7:29 pm

Going to 5-2 is a terrible idea. It would be better to have a men's night - perhaps a Tuesday or Thursday - for those guys who want to have more games. It could be alongside the coed leagues (I think those nights have less teams anyways so perhaps it would be feasible to find 4 extra fields for an 8 team league, for a start).

Going 5-2 is a step backward for the league and would only send the signal to women that it isn't a sport for them. Already there are 4-3 teams that barely use their women (not the best teams, but it does happen and I frequently capitalize on that when I have to D those poor women). When the league was 5-2 this sort of thing was much more common, and easier to get away with. It would become a vicious cycle.

What is really interesting is to watch a team with newbie men and newbie women with approximately the same athletic ability. Guaranteed the men will get the disc way more than the women. They are instantly more trusted with the disc than the women, and it takes much more time (and less mistakes made) for the women to earn that same level of trust.

If you want to recruit more women then target the gyms, boot camps, and other women's sports to get them out, use them on the field, and get developmental leagues that are fun and supportive to train them up (they don't have to be women-only, but it can be helpful).
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Re: Everyone is looking for women this summer

Postby GregS » Thu May 16, 2013 12:14 am

Jed wrote:There are two problems highlighted in the original post. The only suggestion I see here that even remotely tries to address the latter one is Greg's idea to add a men's league (which only solves the issue to the extent that the spots in that league are not filled by guys already playing on other nights).

If we got lots more women playing, presumably there would be more teams, which would take care of all the extra men. It's not so much two problems as two sides of the same problem.

Jed wrote:All of the other suggestions seem to be aimed at solving the first issue, but ignoring the second - with the sole exception of going to a 5-2 ratio in one or more leagues. This would address both problems, yet this option seems to be universally rejected by just about everyone, for unstated / unsubstantiated reasons.

As a captain, I find it much harder to manage the roster of indoor teams where there's 2 women on the field than outdoor teams with 3. Explaining why would take a lot of typing...

Diane gave some good reasons too, and from other conversations I've had it seems that these feelings are shared by most women: 5/2 < 4/2 < 4/3 < 3/3.

Do you need more? I personally didn't give reasons because I had thought that the reasons were pretty well understood. Heck, the biggest theme, and the one that generated the most discussion, in the TUC 30th Anniversary video was about when we switched from 5/2 to 4/3 and how big a step forward that was.

diane wrote:What is really interesting is to watch a team with newbie men and newbie women with approximately the same athletic ability. Guaranteed the men will get the disc way more than the women. They are instantly more trusted with the disc than the women, and it takes much more time (and less mistakes made) for the women to earn that same level of trust.

Hey, guys! Do everyone a favour and listen to this. Use your women. They'll come back, and you won't have to recruit year after year.
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Re: Everyone is looking for women this summer

Postby jed » Thu May 16, 2013 9:49 am

GregS wrote:If we got lots more women playing, presumably there would be more teams, which would take care of all the extra men.


That's a big if. We went to 4/3 across the board something like 15 years ago, and it would appear we still don't have enough women willing to show up to games regularly enough.

Efforts to recruit and change the make-up of the membership are encouraged, but much easier said than done.

GregS wrote:As a captain, I find it much harder to manage the roster of indoor teams where there's 2 women on the field than outdoor teams with 3. Explaining why would take a lot of typing...


Anecdotaly, I find teams tend to get 3-4 women out more often than not (based on teams I've play for and against over the years). Hence the reason so many are constantly looking for more - regardless of how many they have on their rosters. Those are pretty good numbers if the ratio is 5-2, so captains wouldn't have to do any more - if anything it would be less burden.

GregS wrote:Diane gave some good reasons too, and from other conversations I've had it seems that these feelings are shared by most women: 5/2 < 4/2 < 4/3 < 3/3.


The flip side is, most guys prefer playing ultimate (~100%) prefer playing ultimate, to not. So on one side we have a subjective theory that some women might not like it as much, but they'd still be playing. Then on the other, we have guys playing who otherwise don't get to play at all.

Keep in mind, we're talking about 1 night max, and more likely / realistically a subset of one night (e.g. Tuesday night, tier 3 and lower?). I agree that going to 5:2 all around would not be a good move for many of the reasons stated, and more. But a slight change to the mix on a trial basis, to better match the TUC's offering to the membership's demand, is well worth a shot. It could even just be the receiving team's option to go 5:2 or 4:3. Meanwhile, if recruiting efforts are massively successful down the road, and the BBS fills up with women looking for teams instead of the opposite, it's easy to go back.

GregS wrote:Do you need more?

Nope - just something valid. :wink:

P.S. - maybe a lot of women don't come back because when they do show up, they end up playing savage as often as not. Not everyone's idea of a good time, even if they otherwise love the sport.
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Postby diane » Thu May 16, 2013 10:24 am

Jed,
You are assuming that the same numbers of women would still be playing if a 5-2 format was followed. I think you are wrong. Certainly some would leave the league because they would be easier to ignore on the field (and that is very frustrating and demoralizing), new recruits would be harder to find/keep for the same reason, and some women might opt for a women-only league (one night only maybe, but for women who only want to play one night a week anyways, that might be their choice - hence less for the coed league).

Going to 5-2 might solve the issue for one year, but it would only make the problem worse down the road. Sure you are only talking about one night a week, but that is a slipperly slope to go down. Better to have a small men's league to give that extra playing opportunity to the men, and keep the coed league as gender balanced as possible. Also, it is not so easy to change back the format. Every time the format changed in TUC there had to be a couple of years grace period for teams to adjust.

I don't know who you're playing with/against, but every time I go out there are 5-7 women out per team, unless I am subbing as a last resort because everyone's on holiday. In fact, last year our team had problems getting enough men out sometimes! The key is to get new women out and be encouraging and supportive so they will come back.
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Re: Everyone is looking for women this summer

Postby GregS » Thu May 16, 2013 11:58 am

Jed wrote:We went to 4/3 across the board something like 15 years ago, and it would appear we still don't have enough women willing to show up to games regularly enough.

I've only been playing for 13 years, and captaining for maybe 9 of those, but my impression was that, once we got past the initial upheaval, there was about 10 years there where the numbers were pretty good. It's only been the last 2 or 3 years where I've seen the number of women dropping off, and my gut (and Facebook feed) tells me that it's at least partly to do with the women that were recruited back in the day having children and/or retiring.
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Postby diane » Thu May 16, 2013 12:22 pm

Sounds about right, Greg. I think a lot of women with kids are still playing, but not as much.

I think there is another issue too. It seems to me that there has been a lot less recruitment into the sport overall. A few years ago there was a big focus on getting new players (women in particular, as I remember) with lots of outdoor spring clinics (no need to be a member) and the spring league (regardless of the wind and crappy throws). Now the clinics seem to be more geared towards existing players, and in particular, the development of the women has been as a touring initiative (one day round-robin tourneys and the like). That is, the women's touring teams have been doing lots to boost their skills and numbers, but that doesn't equate to improvement of the league overall. It certainly doesn't get those marginal women who aren't as comfortable playing team sports in the first place, and while those women take some time and effort to train, they could really boost the numbers.
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Postby HotSauce » Thu May 16, 2013 3:36 pm

Here's a suggestion. The Spirit Hat tournament is coming up which, to me, seems to be a perfect time to do a blitz to recruit women. How about running the tournament 3-3 and encouraging those coming to put an extra push to invite women who may be interested in trying out ultimate?
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