Ultimate is a sport without a referee – the players self-referee the game and solve all interruptions by themselves on spot. This is a way ultimate promotes fair play and teaches the players to keep calm despite the competitiveness and related emotions and maintain the level of respect to their team and the opponent.
Spirit Of The Game (SOTG) is something found only in ultimate. Since there are no referees, the rules have to be respected by each and every player on the field and all stoppages have to be sorted out accordingly. SOTG serves as a mechanism to help play competitively and at 100% without compromising mutual respect between players which is a main focus of ultimate. The crucial thing in ultimate is that it is fun for everyone at all times on the field which can only be achieved through positivity and fair mindedness.
Adding referees to ultimate would potentially mean taking away form players the ability to express themselves honestly and constructively. Having good SOTG includes knowing the rules well and respecting them, playing at your full potential irrespective of the score or opponent, in given circumstances. One well-deserved point in ultimate is more celebrated than five given ones.
All the listed reasons emphasize the importance of teaching not only technical skills but also rules, communication, team work, fair mindedness and respect. Sometimes this is not an easy mission due to the flood of conventional and renowned sports that involve a referee. There the beginners espouse the mentality “what the referee doesn’t see, won’t hurt him”.
SOTG is measurable
SOTG includes five categories that are used as a guide for every team to evaluate the opposite team at the end of the game. This raises the awareness of how important SOTG is. At the end of every tournament the SOTG winner is given a reward and this reward is equally celebrated and weighted as the first place at the tournament i.e. it is equally important to have good SOTG as it is to win the games. SOTG is marked by categories at all tournaments irrespective of the size or number of participants. It is the main motive which ultimate follows and is present at every stage. Therefore it is extremely important to present it in the right way, already at the beginning of the learning process.
The SOTG categories are as follows:
- Rules knowledge and use
- Fouls and Body Contact
- Fair mindedness
- Positive attitude and self-control
Spirit of the Game score sheet
Given that ultimate is a team sport, teams go with the saying “”All for one and one for all!”” Every player needs a team. A team in which each individual works hard for a common goal – to score a point the endzone. Even the player off the field, on the sidelines help the team by giving important information about the play in progress. When a team goes on a tournamnet, each player is assigned a role to keep the team organized and in good spirit. These roles are for instance: “”Team Captain””, who is in charge of team tactics; “”Spirit captain””, who keeps the team positive, motivates and promotes good spirit; “”Water Boys”” keep the team hydrated; The “”Disc team”” is responsible for the team gear. In that way everyone makes a contribution to make the tournament a great experience. As well as getting along with you teammates, you meet a lot of new people from other teams, countries and make new friends – the most important team. Because ultimate is also about gender equity, there is never a surplus of Testosteron or estrogen – you always get the right amount of each. Team spirit doesn’t end after the tournamnet or after practice, it is also a part of life off the field – your teammates are your friends. Traveling to a tournamen is always full of laughter, singing, playing games (even those you just made up), deep conversations. And last but not least, team parties are always the best parties.”