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Unlike most sports, Ultimate Frisbee is usually played without a referee. Instead, an honour system amongst participants, which espouses both fair play and camaraderie governs the game and this is generally referred to as the ‘Spirit of the Game’ or SOTG.
The SOTG allows disputes to be decided by the sense of sportsmanship and integrity of the players themselves. But while SOTG is a general attitude and philosophy, Ultimate Frisbee still has an agreed upon procedure to deal with unclear or disputed situations. Here are some things you need to know about the SOTG before you step onto the field for your first game of Ultimate Frisbee.
1. The Golden Rule
Treat others how you would want to be treated. Opponents should treat each other with respect and give the benefit of doubt if any dispute occurs.
2. Stay In Control
The SOTG takes real effort to practice. Rather than taking a toil on your body, this aspect of the game requires one to contain their emotions, tame their temper and modulate their voice in times of disputes. Always bear in mind that it takes just one aggressive action or comment to start ruining a game.
3. Do Not Retaliate
It is vital not to react negatively or retaliate when you are fouled or verbally abused. And while it can be hard to keep one’s emotions in check when wrong has been done to you, there are avenues to resolve issues such as bringing up the matter with the captains, tournament director, or to even lodge a formal complaint with the governing body. However, if you retaliate, then a complaint may be filed against you instead.
After receiving a hard foul, simply take a few steps back and breathe. In the heat of competition, emotions can run high and the desire to win can drive us to forget the SOTG. So give yourself some time to cool off, get some perspective, and concentrate on playing a good and clean game rather than winning at all costs.
5. Play Fair
Having good sportsmanship is a key quality amongst Ultimate Frisbee players. If you do the right things and practice fair play, then you will find that both teammates and opponents respect you and appreciate playing with you.
6. Show Your Appreciation
This can be hard sometimes but you will be surprised what a simple compliment can do. Instead of blaming your teammate for that lost goal, a bad pass or failed catch, try to encourage them instead. This will do a lot more good than criticising or complaining.
7. Don’t Develop A Bad Reputation
The Ultimate Frisbee community in Singapore is a small and close-knit one, so news of your actions or poor conduct travels fast.
8. Have Fun
Always remember that more than winning, it’s about enjoying the sport, playing the game the right way, making friends, keeping fit, and improving your Ultimate Frisbee skills game by game.
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