This post relates mainly to sports (mainly from my Ultimate Frisbee experience), but adapting the analogy to business help to open up an insight for me.

Adapted from Wikipedia, the definition of seed is

seed is a competitor or team in a sports or other tournament who is given a preliminary ranking for the purposes of the draw. Players/teams are “planted” into the bracket in a manner that is typically intended so that the best do not meet until later in the competition. 

Yes the seeding process does help with the intention so that the best do not meet until later in the competition, but I would like to touch on is the pre-tourney seeding psychology.

I have experienced Ultimate Frisbee tournaments for many years and at the start back in my Nottingham days, I personally was very anxious on who did we get to pair up in the group based on our seeding. Once the groupings are out, automatically I will be like oh shit, we got all the top teams in our group. What are we gonna do?

Fast forwarding to now, 6 years later, seeding to me is just mere indication for an organiser to do their job so that the strong teams can meet at the last few knockout stage and that the audience can have an exciting finals to watch. It’s part of the process, it’s their job, that’s a given.

But what I learnt from the last 12 months of experience from watching few tournaments and listening to conversation of many players couple along with some drama over how seeding is done not correctly, we humans somehow already decide to determine how our fate is going to be even before the game is played. It’s funny really that how seeding can be the scapegoat of how a team perform instead of what goes within a team’s training camp and the other team’s training camp.

This boils down to the core root of psychology for any teams in sports or any business organisations. Being paired up with strong teams in a group, and a complains comes from being unfair cause it’s going to be tough. But teams tend to forgot to see that it’s a compliment to them, that other teams are being hungry to labeled seeded 1 in the whole tournament, and who they are paired up against is hampering the thoughts.

When being seeded lower than higher – “Oh shoot, now we are gonna face the strong teams and it’s unfair cause we have done so well in the past, just recently we slipped up. Sigh this is quite unfair” The label of inferiority is already spreading to the team when that thought came about, of how so call “unlucky” we are to be seeded so low. Is there no better way to see this as a turnaround?

Many games is half won or lost even before the team enter the battlefield. Teams and players tend to forget that every moment is distinct from the rest and we tend to forget how a 5-1 lead can lead up to a slip of 5-6 in the end. Be cautious of how one player’s thought could infect the whole team. Be grounded at every training, to

  1. Not to be carried away and take things lightly
  2. Not feel inferior with own team performance against other teams’

I always enter every game as a fresh start, a blank canvas of sort cause anything is possible in a game. Playing with Soar High has demonstrated that. Seeing how U8 Soar grow during their prime time demonstrated that! The key question is does everyone see the same?

A company labeled 5 million dollar market cap may not be the same 1 year down the road, so why have their label have an effect on you? It’s like comparing ourselves with Mark Zuckerberg. Sometimes we forgot everyone’s journey is different.

Seeded top or bottom, does it matter? Some will still say yes. I say let what’s inside your training camp do the speaking cause the number 1 will never be number 1 if you don’t let it to be. If you are last, you can always get out from it.

Does your team even know where you want to go to begin with? Are you selling yourself out to achieve what could be possible? Is seeding just another scapegoat?

*Tip: The best time to experience this is always at a Frisbee Hat tournament. That’s why I love hat so much, besides the people I meet, cause everyone will start off with a blank canvas.

To all Malaysian teams, good luck for the upcoming Shark Alam Open 2014.