Spirit Of the Game

Spirit of the Game is one of the core elements in flying disc sports. It is similar to fair play and sportsmanship, but there is a much higher emphasis put on it in Ultimate. It is summarised in this preamble to the rules of play:

“All players are responsible for administering and adhering to the rules. Ultimate relies upon a Spirit of the Game that places the responsibility for fair play on every player. It is trusted that no player will intentionally break the rules; thus there are no harsh penalties for breaches, but rather a method for resuming play in a manner which simulates what would most likely have occurred had there been no breach. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but should never sacrifice the mutual respect between players, adherence to the agreed-upon rules of the game, or the basic joy of play.”

Actions such as intentional fouling, cheating, dangerous plays, disrespectful conversations, and other ‘win at all costs’ behaviour are contrary to the Spirit of the Game. Often a player is in a position where it is to his/her advantage to foul or commit some violation, but that player is morally bound to abide by the rules. The integrity of the sport depends on each player’s responsibility to uphold Spirit of the Game, and this responsibility should not be taken lightly.

As Ultimate is a self-refereed sport, maintaining Spirit of the Game is essential. Players must know the rules, be fair-minded and truthful, explain their viewpoint clearly and briefly, allow opponents a reasonable chance to speak and resolve disputes as quickly as possible, using respectful language.

Examples of Good Spirit

  • Informing a team-mate if you think they have made a wrong or unnecessary call or caused a foul or violation
  • Retracting a call when you no longer believe the call was necessary
  • Complimenting an opponent for good play or spirit
  • Introducing yourself to your opponent
  • Reacting calmly towards disagreement or provocation

Video Explainers

Spirit Rules & Scoring

In a self-refereed sport such as Ultimate it is important to continuously teach and measure Spirit of the Game. For this reason a Spirit Scoring system was developed.

Directly after a game, players rate the other team, as well as their own team, on the five fundamentals of the sport:

  1. Did they know and abide by the rules?
  2. Did they avoid body contact?
  3. Were they fair-minded?
  4. Did they show self-control and a positive attitude?
  5. Did they communicate properly and respectfully?

How does Spirit scoring and management work?

Spirit Scoring is especially recommended for leagues and larger tournaments. In these events a team’s Spirit Captain should be responsible for collecting Spirit Scores and giving them to the Spirit Director. The Spirit Director reviews the scores for possible issues and determines what team has the highest score to be to be awarded the Spirit of the Game prize.




Wolfgang Maehr (AUT)


Board member: 2020-present Current term ends: 2021 Wolfgang has played Ultimate for the last 15 years in Europe (Sweden, Norway) and in Asia (India, Singapore) participating in a number of tournaments at all levels across Europe and especially Southeast Asia, including three WFDF World Championships. He has also been involved in Singapore’s beach Ultimate scene and previously was involved in the Indian Ultimate community for more than 7 years working mostly on the systems and administration side of things. Wolfgang has been an active member of the SOTG Committee since 2018 with a particular focus on updating the scoring system and doing analytics on the data. An Austrian national, Wolfgang has been involved in digital product design since 2004 and is currently the Design/Product Lead at PebbleRoad in Singapore. He received his Diplom-Ingenieur (FH) in Information and Communication Engineering at Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences (AUT) and Linköping University (SWE) and Master of Science in Human-Computer Interaction and Interaction Design at Chalmers University of Technology in (SWE).

  • Tokyo, Japan

Chihiro Ono (JPN)


Henrietta Papp (HUN)

  • London, England

James Moore (USA)

  • Moscow (RUS)

Kate Barabanova (RUS)

  • Seattle, USA

Kate Kingery (USA)

  • Cape Town, RSA

Marlise Richter (RSA)

  • Bueonos Aires, ARG

Martin Gottschalk (ARG)


Raul Chang (PAN)

  • ) +1-604-616-6065
  • travis.smith@wfdf.sport
  • Vancouver, BC Canada

Travis Smith (CAN)

Committee member: 2018-present Travis F. Smith is the former chair of the Spirit of the Game committee and has served on it since 2016. He volunteered as Spirit Director for WMUCC 2018 and WJUC 2018. In Canada, he is the National Spirit Director of Ultimate Canada and sits on their Spirit of the Game committee. He has been Spirit Director for CUC 2019 and CUC 2017, and was the recipient of the 2017 Ultimate Canada Spirit of the Game award. Locally, Travis has been president of the Vancouver Ultimate League, the largest ultimate league in the world, and in 2013 was awarded the VUL's William Arthur Hawkins Spirit Award. Basically, he's very into #SOTG. Outside of disc sports he is the owner of hopstudios.com, a Web design and development company that has been building content-rich, elegant Web sites since 1994. He has also been the editor of Variety.com, the deputy editorial director of LATimes.com, and a lecturer at the University of Southern California and at BCIT. He received his BA in journalism from the University of Southern California.