Spirit of the game is unique to Ultimate Frisbee. It’s a way of playing fair, and is used even at the highest levels of competition. The best part about spirit of the game, is that it works! I can tell you, from playing at the World Championship level, that it’s possible (and preferable) to play competitive Ultimate Frisbee without referees.
Imagine this – someone makes a bad foul call on you in a close game.
Quick, what do you do?
Argue? Roll your eyes? Immediately contest?
The answer, is none of the above. The first thing you should do, is listen.
Listening Wins Games
When presented with a tough call, the first thing you should do is listen to your opponent. Listen to what they have to say, completely. Don’t interrupt. Be aware of your body language. Try to stay calm, and hear them out.
Doing this helps you for two reasons.
First, it eases tension. It’s in everyone’s best interest to make foul or contest calls when calm. Especially if you think you’re correct – trying to share your point of view to a calm opponent will be much more effective than doing the same with an angry opponent.
Second, it gives you time to consider your response. Maybe your opponent has misinterpreted a rule. Perhaps someone on your opponent’s team ran into them, and it wasn’t you. Listening to your opponent gives you a chance to understand what they are saying, so you can respond in the best way possible.
Also, consider this:
Maybe you are wrong.
I’ve been wrong countless times. It happens a lot – an opponent calls a foul that I strongly disagree with. But, in listening to them, I realize I was wrong, and I end up agreeing with them.
My call goes in their favor.
And you know what?
It’s okay. It’s for the best. And the next time I make a call they disagree with, they listen, and often they end up agreeing with my perspective.
Just like in life, understanding when you are wrong, and learning from it, will benefit you in the long run.
Level Up at Spirit of the Game
You can check out this short video to learn a bit more about spirit of the game!
You can level up your Ultimate game with other Level Up articles below.