Today, on International Spirit of the Game Day, the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) releases its updated list of Spirit of the Game scores by country. This list aggregates scores received by countries attending WFDF World Championships and continental championships for Ultimate over the past four years (see complete list below). New to the list: Argentina, Cambodia, Currier Island, Guam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Panama and Thailand. The full list of 57 countries in alphabetical order follows.
“People sometimes talk of ‘winning’ Spirit, but the truth is that Spirit of the Game isn’t winner-takes-all. The better each country does at Spirit of the Game, the more every country benefits, and the better it is for the sport as a whole,” said Travis Smith, chair of the WFDF Spirit of the Game Committee. “We hope that by gathering, tracking and sharing detailed data about Spirit performance, we can help our members and their athletes to assess and improve their Spirit of the Game.”
“We are pleased to provide tangible feedback to our member associations so that they can work with the athletes in their respective countries to promote and protect spirit of the game,” stated Robert “Nob” Rauch, WFDF President. “WFDF is excited to be actively promoting “Spirit of the Game Day” to highlight the importance of this core element of our sport which, together with our regular spirit scores at events, designation on teams of a spirit captain, and the educational materials we produce, all contribute to ensuring that our athletes understand and appreciate what true spirit means.”
This Spirit score report is not meant to glorify or shame teams or countries, but should primarily be seen as an educational tool. Countries that have one or more scores of less than 2.00 in this report, or whose scores have shown a downward trend since the last time this list was published, can use this information to identify the areas on which to focus their attention. We encourage use of WFDF’s Spirit of the Game educational materials to assist in this.
International Spirit of the Game Day, which is an annual event on the 3rd of December, encourages communities around the world to embrace Spirit of the Game (SOTG) by hosting events, clinics and activities where players can discuss and demonstrate good spirit. At the heart of the awareness event is an effort to promote the five core aspects of SOTG: know the rules, avoid body contact, be fair-minded, enjoy playing, and communicate respectfully. In 2018, the focus of all activities, as well as photos and videos will be on the youth: how to make Spirit of the Game relevant for today’s youth. In addition to hosting activities catered to youth and newcomers, as well as the creative online promotion of Spirit, the community has been asked to start conversations and share their thoughts on Spirit of the Game and how it relates to youth. Together these activities will create a global understanding and bond of what SOTG means.
What is Spirit of the Game?
Spirit of the Game is the mindful behavior practiced by players worldwide in a mutual effort to protect the basic joy of play. In a self-refereed sport such as Ultimate where all players are accountable to each other, it is important to continuously practice and recognize Spirit of the Game. To help with this, WFDF has developed a uniform Spirit scoring system and uses it at all WFDF events.
Immediately after a game, each team’s players are encouraged to consider the Spirit of other team (as well as their own), giving scores from 0-4 in five categories. A score of 2 is considered a “Good” score, and the maximum of 4 is awarded for exceptional, excellent Spirit. The five fundamental categories of Spirit of the Game are:
1. Did they know and abide by the rules?
2. Did they avoid body contact and play safely?
3. Were they fair-minded throughout the game?
4. Did they show self-control and a positive attitude?
5. Did they communicate properly and respectfully?
Scores are shared with the other team, so that each may improve throughout the event and afterwards.
Notes on This Year’s Scores
The global ratings are based on the Spirit scores from the following events:
2018 European Ultimate Championships Finals
2018 World Junior Ultimate Championships
2018 World Masters Ultimate Club Championships
2018 World Ultimate Club Championships
2018 World Under-24 Ultimate Championships
2017 Pan American Ultimate Club Championships
2017 Asia Oceanic Ultimate and Guts Club Championships
2017 World Championships of Beach Ultimate
2016 World Ultimate and Guts Championships
2015 Asia Oceanic Ultimate Championships
Events are included if they meet the following criteria: World events and significant continental events from the past four years that have full Spirit score data available, not including duplicates (i.e. just the latest WJUC).
This year, the method of calculating Spirit scores was shifted from “team based” (a simple average of all of a country’s teams’ scores across all events) to “tournament based” (where teams are averaged into a country score on a per-tournament basis, and then tournament scores are averaged). This change was made so that club championships now have the same weight as national championships, and so that changes in Spirit year over year can potentially be more noticeable for all countries. Because of this, the “Change” column was omitted this year since it is not directly comparable to last report.
Since the last report in 2016, the overall average is slightly lower. This may partly be a result of several factors:
● The new method of calculating this report could have a moderating effect
● Newer countries in the report may have unusually high or low scores at their first international tournament
● The creation of a Spirit Scoring example sheet may have helped moderate outlier scores in recent Spirit scoring
● The Spirit Captain became a required role for teams competing in recent tournaments
● More and better Spirit of the Game materials are being produced at all levels of the sport
● There appears to be a higher expectation of advanced rules knowledge in elite competition
● We have seen more development of Spirit of the Game modules in various coaching curriculums
● There is increased Spirit of the Game education and preparation by national teams, especially at juniors level
For more information, please contact Travis Smith, Chair of the WFDF Spirit of the Game committee, firstname.lastname@example.org.