The Sharon High School Ultimate Disc A-team is putting an I in team toward earning more Ws.
The 18 players -- "and all of them have been with us for at least three years" -- shared their team performance goals during their first meeting of the season, "and then we have instructed them never to talk about those again. And then we had them write down individual goals," Bad Clams head coach Dave Christiansen says.
"That's what this season's all about: getting to the point where they can say they can check off those three individual goals, and then if they do that, add another one," he says.
"And if they go out there every game and just think about those three things and improving individually out on the field, then those team performance goals, they're going to happen."
A club team, Sharon finished fourth at the 2011 Division 1 State Tournament, losing 14-8 to semi-final opponent Amherst Hurricanes, the top seed in the 18-team tourney at Sudbury's Haskell Field complex.
Sharon earned the tournament's fourth seed after finishing the regular season with a 12-3 record.
That tournament performance is among the 2012 team's motivators.
"I had students talk to me right from the beginning, in the fall when they came in, (and say) they knew the opportunity was there this year to improve because there was only one senior on that final team that played in the states last year in Division 1," says Christiansen, whose assistant coaches are Mike Dussault and James Acone.
"They knew everyone's coming back. They knew each other. And they played Amherst very close in the first half. And they know what we need to improve on."
Those targets are "conditioning, agility (and) speed," Christiansen says, "because that's really what hurt us against those top-level teams in the Division 1 tournament."
"That's been our focus right from the beginning, conditioning," he says.
In january, Tim Morrill of Morrill Performance worked with the team on strength and agility training, Christiansen says.
The seasonably warm and dry spring has helped, too.
"Having two weeks of no mud on the fields and not having to worry about that, and really no rain to speak of, it's helped us tremendously," Christiansen says.
"In the past few seasons, we may have had three really good practices before the season. We've pretty much tripled that."
Leading the Bad Clams are senior tri-captains Sam D'Arcy, Jonah Kurman-Faber and Aaron Langley -- all Massachusetts High School Ultimate Division 1 All-Stars last season.
The trio is in its third year together, Christiansen says. And D'Arcy and Langley were Sharon B-team teammates as freshmen.
"They work well together. They communicate well. They all bring some sort of leadership characteristic that we're looking for out there on the field, and in practice, too," Christiansen says.
"We couldn't be happier with the way they've already come together."
D'Arcy will be "the strength and core of our defense, especially on zone," Christiansen says.
"He also is going to be able to provide us with some strong man-to-man defense on some of the better players out there in our league," he says.
"That extra work that he's done off the field has prepared him well to play any kind of defense out there."
On Kurman-Faber, "we're going to rely on him to be the anchor of our defense in the center of our zone especially, our midfield position, where he's going to be communicating with the front part of our zone defense," Christiansen says.
"It's his job to basically tell those players where to go, what to do. And also to listen and communicate with Sam," the coach says.
Langley's strengths include his throwing ability, Christiansen says.
"He's worked on, and has learned, a lot more patience with his downfield throws and going deep," the coach says.
"If he does that, it's going to open up more opportunities for those long throws, which he is very good at."
The Bad Clams open 2012 at 4 p.m. Monday at Easton.
However, "we want every game to be just another game," Christiansen says.
"Whether its the first game against Easton, whether its against Amherst at the tournament, every game going to be the same. We want them in a routine where they thinking about that first meeting of the year and improving on their individual process goals.
"The hope is if they to do that, then they are able to stay consistently competitive in every game."