WFDF releases the 2019 Spirit of the Game Scores by country

In News, Spirit of the Game by WFDF

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 and continental championship events for Ultimate and Beach Ultimate over the past four years (see complete list below).

New to the list in 2019: Costa Rica, Luxembourg, Mozambique and Virgin Islands. Also new is also the Guts division, which introduced spirit scores at the Asia Oceanic Ultimate and Guts Championships. The full data set with 63 countries in alphabetical order in the link below.

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“People joke about ‘winning’ Spirit, but the truth is that Spirit of the Game is never ‘winner-take-all.’ The better any country does at Spirit of the Game, the more every country benefits,” said Travis F. Smith, chair of the WFDF Spirit of the Game Committee. “We hope that by gathering, studying and sharing this 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 release the 2019 global ratings for spirit by country on this sixth annual International Spirit of the Game Day,” stated WFDF President Robert “Nob” Rauch. “WFDF, in partnership with the charitable organization Early Recognition Is Critical (E.R.I.C.), encourages Ultimate communities around the world to celebrate and reflect on Spirit of the Game by hosting events, clinics and activities where players can discuss and demonstrate good spirit, and we are excited about the dozens of events around the globe planned for the day.”

This Spirit score report is not meant to glorify or shame teams or countries but should primarily be seen as an educational tool. Countries can use this information to identify areas of success and areas on which to focus their attention in order to improve. We encourage the use of WFDF’s Spirit of the Game educational materials to assist in this.

What is Spirit of the Game and How Does the Scoring System Work?

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 achieve this, WFDF has developed a uniform Spirit scoring system and uses it at all WFDF events.

The five fundamental categories of Spirit of the Game are:

  1. Rules Knowledge and Use: Did they know and abide by the rules?
  2. Fouls and Body Contact: Did they avoid body contact and play safely?
  3. Fair-Mindedness: Were they fair-minded throughout the game?
  4. Attitude and Self-Control: Did they show self-control and a positive attitude?
  5. Communication: Did they communicate properly and respectfully?

Immediately after a WFDF championship 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 a maximum of 4 is awarded for exceptional, excellent Spirit. Scores are shared with the other team, so that each may improve throughout the event and afterwards.

Notes on This Year’s Scores

The Spirit rankings are based on scores earned in all world events and all significant continental events over the last four years that have full Spirit score data available, but not including duplicates (i.e. just the latest WJUC would be included).

The 2019 year end global ratings are based on the Spirit scores from the following 13 events:

  • 2019 All African Ultimate Championships (AAUC)
  • 2019 Asia Oceanic Beach Ultimate Championships (AOBUC)
  • 2019 Asia Oceanic Ultimate and Guts Championships (AOUGC)
  • 2019 European Beach Ultimate Championships (EBUC)
  • 2019 Pan American Ultimate Championships (PAUC)
  • 2019 World Under-24 Ultimate Championships (WU24UC)
  • 2018 European Ultimate Championships Finals (EUCF)
  • 2018 World Junior Ultimate Championships (WJUC)
  • 2018 World Masters Ultimate Club Championships (WMUCC)
  • 2018 World Ultimate Club Championships (WUCC)
  • 2017 Asia Oceanic Ultimate and Guts Club Championships (AOUGCC)
  • 2017 World Championships of Beach Ultimate (WCBU)
  • 2016 World Ultimate and Guts Championships (WUGC)

Starting in 2018, the method of calculating Spirit scores is on a “tournament base.” 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 (even for countries that have multiple teams), and so that changes in Spirit year over year can potentially be more noticeable for all countries.

This year, the WFDF SOTG committee updated the example sheets (first written in 2014) that helps guide teams as they determine what scores are appropriate.

In comparison to 2018, we see some interesting trends:

  • An overall upward trend in spirit, which we are very happy about.
  • An overall movement towards a common center between 10.00 and 11.20, which we interpret as a global consensus towards what SOTG means and how to judge it.
  • Trends in specific categories are not clear, though it seems like more countries improved their “fouls and body contact” and “communication” scores.

For more information or access to the complete data, please contact Travis Smith, Chair of the WFDF Spirit of the Game committee,

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