Ultimate is growing quickly all around the world, and fair play, which is called Spirit of the Game within Ultimate circles, is an integral part of the sport. In fact, Spirit of the Game (SOTG) is highlighted in the application that the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) sent to the IOC requesting to become a recognized international sports federation.
According to the WFDF President Robert "Nob" Rauch:“New players’ understanding of Spirit of the Game has traditionally relied on word-of-mouth at a grass-roots level.Now that the sport is growing, worldwide efforts are being made to more formally explain what it means, tell why it is important to Ultimate as a sport, and to promote it at all levels of competition.”
A great example of SOTG is the “BE CALM” strategy that was developed a few years ago. This strategy can be used in any situation on the field where conflict can arise:
- Breathe – don’t react straight away
- Explain – what you think happened
- Consider – what they think happened
- Ask – other players for advice (on perspective and rules) if needed
- Listen – to what everyone has had to say
- Make a call – loudly and clearly (and use Hand Signals)
“The current focus of the WFDF SOTG committee is on developing a mobile scoring application, further enhancingthe globally adopted scoring sheet, publishing role-model articles, and developing teaching aids”, said WFDF SOTG Chairperson Patrick van der Valk.
The WFDF SOTG committee is comprised of volunteer leaders from throughout the world. They communicate regionally to obtain feedback, improve education and share information. Spirit of the Game committees with ties to the WFDF SOTG committee have been popping up all across the globe, many of them in the last couple of years.
Regionally a lot of effort is also being put into promotingand developing Spirit of the Game:
- USA Ultimate created a SOTG Committee and in their2013-2017 strategic plan they committed to making Spirit of the Game real for today’s Ultimate players and community.
- Ultimate Canada created a SOTG Committee and isactively collecting teaching materials to include in their offering to coaches, teams and organizers.
- The European Ultimate Federation started their firstSOTG Committee last year with representatives from many countries across Europe
- UK Ultimate recently created a SOTG Committee andis implementing a Spirit policy to ensure that majorUK tournaments are played in a positive-spirited atmosphere with all teams and players upholding the spirit of the game.
- The Japanese, Australian, and many other flying disc federations are awarding SOTG trophies at every major championship.
Globally, players and federations recognize the importance of SOTG and want to ensure that there are tools in place to support SOTG alongside the growth of the sport for years to come.
More information on SOTG, the score sheet (in 28 languages), as well as some tools to help improve spirit, provide feedback, and the BE CALM strategy, can be found here:
For more information, contact Patrick van der Valk, Chair of the Spirit of the Game Subcommittee, at firstname.lastname@example.org