USA Ultimate’s most recent strategic planning process took nearly a year to complete. Over the course of that year, members of USA Ultimate and stakeholders in the greater ultimate community provided valuable feedback via 11 focus group discussions, a nationwide survey and a virtual town hall meeting. The focus groups centered on several important topics, including USA Ultimate’s relationship with local disc organizations; youth development and grassroots growth; semi-pro leagues; elite athlete pipelines; diversity, equity and inclusion; marketing and business activity and more. The input we collected from these diverse groups helped chart the course of ultimate’s future in the United States. As we celebrate the launch of this plan, we express our appreciation and gratitude to all who contributed their voice to the continued evolution of our sport.
To advance the sport of ultimate in the United States by enhancing and promoting character, community and competition.
Ultimate is widely known, played and respected in the United States as a sport that inspires athletic excellence and integrity among participants and fans.
LEADERSHIP – We drive thoughtful growth, development and innovation in competition and the ultimate community, as servant-leaders, we work cooperatively with members and partners to achieve our mission.
EQUITY – We push to realize the potential for sport to bring people together of diverse identities, backgrounds and experiences. We are committed to building an accessible and inclusive community that fosters understanding and respect for the rights, views, dignity and inherent value of each member.
INTEGRITY – We stay true to the mission of USA Ultimate and the highest ethical standards, demonstrating honesty and fairness in every action that we take.
RESPONSIBILITY – We hold ourselves accountable for our decisions and actions, while striving for excellence in all that we do. We are dedicated stewards of the sport of ultimate.
JOY – We recognize the power of fun to build connections, strengthen community, and drive growth, and we seek to create competitive experiences that are joyful to play and watch.
GROW THE BASE – Improve and increase opportunities for ultimate participation that support youth, local and grassroots growth.
CONNECT THE COMMUNITY – Build and strengthen trusting relationships throughout the ultimate community. Coordinate efforts to grow the sport, increase resources, and drive organizational stability and success for all stakeholders.
GOAL: Accelerate sport participation by empowering local communities, schools, universities, etc. to provide the most exceptional opportunities for youth, as well as new and developing players and coaches.
- Elementary-Aged Ultimate
- Middle School and High School-Aged Ultimate
- College Ultimate
- Youth and Grassroots Coaching
- Youth and Recreational Partner Network
Elementary-Aged Ultimate. Foster introduction to ultimate among elementary school aged youth. In partnership with community organizations, youth development experts and others, develop younger-age, school friendly programs for use at the local level, including schools, with an emphasis on outreach to under-represented communities.
Middle School and High School-Aged Ultimate. Collaborate with school administrators and local organizers to expand and enhance school-based playing opportunities to increase affordability, accessibility, and age-appropriate play and to promote a positive sport culture. Collaborate with local organizers to develop more youth club playing opportunities at the local, regional and national levels to complement school-based playing opportunities.
College Ultimate. Upgrade and expand ultimate at the college level, from introductory/recreational playing opportunities to varsity programs and competitive championships, to ensure an experience that excites interest in the sport and encourages further involvement and athletic advancement.
Youth and Developmental Coaching. Invest in programs to train and equip coaches for success at the youth and introductory levels of ultimate and mitigate financial barriers to entry.
Youth and Recreational Partner Network. Outreach to youth-oriented organizations in support of youth and recreational ultimate to grow opportunities across the country and make the sport more affordable, accessible and welcoming to all.
GOAL: Overhaul how USAU interacts with and supports local disc organizations (LDOs) and meets their unique needs in serving their communities, growing the sport and thriving as businesses.
- Operational Effectiveness Assistance
- Start-up Support
- Sport/Event Technology Advancement
- Information Guidelines and Best Practices Hub
- State-Based Organizations and Affiliates Optimization
Operational Effectiveness Assistance. Leveraging USAU’s partnerships and brand, connect LDOs – particularly startups and smaller-sized organizations – to business function assistance such as marketing, accounting and IT, etc.
Start-up Support. Develop and distribute a holistic portfolio or information, education and service support to help new LDOs launch successfully.
Sport/Event Technology Advancement. Provide an improved solution to event and sport management systems for LDOs.
Information, Guidelines and Best Practices Hub. Improve and enlarge USAU’s role as a source and distributor of information, best practice and programming guidelines and other helpful resources for the ultimate community. Encourage and enable adoption and adherence to best practices such as athlete wellness and safety; diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); age appropriate athlete development; youth coaching, etc.
State-Based Organizations and Affiliates Optimization. Redesign the model to be more effective and mutually beneficial for all parties, including USAU adopting a more flexible and service-oriented approach in addressing unique LDO needs as well as mitigating perceptions of USAU being overly controlling or coercive.
GOAL: Drive increased interest, enthusiasm, and support for ultimate and USAU through collaboration, communication and marketing.
- Inspirational Communications
- Visibility Growth and Viewing Experience Enhancement
- Participation Pathways Clarity
- Semi-Pro Collaboration
Inspirational Communications. Upgrade communications to the ultimate community and the public with renewed attention on information sharing and storytelling and proficiency with social media and other channels to raise awareness, highlight the sport, increase understanding and appreciation of stakeholders and their respective roles and contributions, reach new audiences and inspire all to become fans and supporters.
Visibility Growth & Viewing Experience Enhancement. Leverage partnerships, new and existing channels (online, digital, streaming, etc.) and technologies to bring excitement of ultimate to more viewers and provide a fun and engaging viewing experience. Adapt successful improvements to the live experience of ultimate. Connect sponsors and partners to expanded activation opportunities to further drive increased awareness, enthusiasm, and funding and resource support.
Participation Pathway Clarity. To better promote the sport and encourage increased involvement with it, articulate a coordinated and comprehensive overview of ultimate participation and progression to better explain our sport, its language and culture, how to get involved and options for continued engagement.
Semi-Pro Collaboration. Engage with leagues to better coordinate and connect competitive and equitable opportunities for players and coaches. Work in partnership to promote the sport and increase the fan base for ultimate.
GOAL: Increase USAU’s capacity and capabilities to deliver exceptional customer service, advance implementation of strategic priorities and sustain organizational health and financial stability.
- Staff Support & Development
- Technology Advancement
- Sponsor/Partner Growth
- Foundation Success
Staff Support and Development. Optimize staffing model in support of strategic and operational priorities that maximizes employee engagement and satisfaction and supports professional growth.
Technology Advancement. Invest in technological improvements to modernize systems, increase operational efficiencies and effectiveness, improve customer experiences and enable staff to perform their best.
Sponsor/Partner Growth. Continue to extend corporate partnerships with an eye toward non-endemic sponsors and greater focus on articulating the ROI benefits for partners as well as for USAU. Employ innovative and collaborative approaches to engage sponsors/partners and encourage them toward deep and long-lasting associations with the organization and the sport.
Foundation Success. Establish philanthropic revenue as a major source of funding. Better connect donors and their interests to priority projects and programs. Celebrate contributions. Cultivate a giving and give back culture among the sport, but also actively reach out beyond the ultimate community to connect them to the positive impact of ultimate and its ability to change lives for the better.