Redefining the Mission and Values of Seven Hills

November 3, 2017

Seven Hills Ultimate Club was founded in 2015 by Shannon O’Malley, Alyssa Weatherford, and Sarah Griffith -- three long-time Seattle Riot players and Seattle youth ultimate coaches. However, club youth ultimate in Seattle has a long history. Both Shannon and Alyssa were coached in an earlier program called MoHo, and all three Seven Hills founders coached in the Fryz program that preceded Seven Hills.

 

When the Fryz program came to an end, Shannon, Sarah, and Alyssa had a vision for filling that void with a club that: 1. Brought together youth players from all across the Seattle area to train and compete at a high level, and 2. To do so in a way that was equitable and accessible for all players.

 

The core values of the Seven Hills program are: Character, Opportunity, and Growth. We firmly believe that on-field technical skills alone are not what great players are made of. At the highest levels of our sport, everyone can throw well, play strong defense, or cut effectively. We believe that what distinguishes great players from good ones are traits like work ethic, resilience, self-awareness, commitment, drive to improve, humility, and being a supportive teammate. When we think about what makes an “exceptional ultimate player,” these competitor & teammate skills combine with on-field technical skills to form equal halves of a whole. At Seven Hills, we’re looking for players who want to grow and excel in both. Therefore, you could be the fastest defender at tryouts, or have the longest flick huck, and still not meet our standard of an “exceptional ultimate player.”

 

With this said, our mission is also centered on growth. We don’t expect teenagers to come to us as fully developed teammates, competitors, or players, and we consider it our responsibility to support their growth in all of these ways. Our coaches can teach any skill as long as a player is open-minded, humble, and receptive to feedback. These are aspects of what we consider a player’s “coachability” -- the foundation of our program’s ability to work with a player. And this isn’t just an expectation we have of our players, but of our teams, coaches, and program as a whole. We always believe we can be better.

 

Finally, the variance in players’ technical skills is often not an indication of talent, but rather a reflection of privileges and oppressions that pervade our school systems, Ultimate community, and city. Some players have had the privilege to play on organized, funded, coached teams since elementary school, while others have come to the sport later or on their own, launching and leading teams in areas that lack coaches, fields, or funding. We’re looking to level the metaphorical playing field, and provide all players the opportunity to be coached, train, and compete at a level, which some may not have access to elsewhere. Thus, in its first two seasons, Seven Hills has been comprised of players from over 60 schools in the area, with all levels of playing experience and a diverse range of personal experiences represented. Working to provide an equitable opportunity, and forming teams that allow players to benefit from this diversity in our community, are at the heart of what we do.

 

If you have questions, want to know more, or want to register for tryouts, please visit our website (http://www.sevenhillsultimateclub.com/) or reach out to Shannon, Alyssa, and Sarah at sevenhillsultimateclub@gmail.com.

 

 

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