Spirit of the Game

Spirit in Competition

Spirit on the Field

Spirit Captains

Distinct from a team’s captain, a Spirit Captain is a player that has been designated by their team to address, discuss and resolve spirit-related issues at any point throughout the competition with opponents, teammates, coaches and event officials.

Spirit Timeouts

If other tools have not proven successful, a Spirit timeout may be called by a team’s Spirit Captain if they believe either team has failed to adhere to the principles of Spirit of the Game, gameplay has become dangerous, or repeated violations are causing conflict between teams.

Spirit Circles

If agreed upon by both teams, a Spirit circle can be held after a game. This tool provides an additional opportunity for teams to provide feedback on any Spirit-related issues or possible areas of improvement.

Spirit Scoring

The primary tool for implementation of Spirit, a score sheet allows teams to rate their opponents on the following categories. The reported scores helps determine the Team Spirit Award.

Spirit Scoring Categories

Rules Knowledge and Use

Players did not purposefully misinterpret the rules. They kept to time limits. When they didn’t know the rules, they showed a real willingness to learn.

Fouls and Body Contact

Players avoided fouling, contact and dangerous plays. They played safely and the game flowed smoothly.

Fair Mindedness

Players apologized in situations where it was appropriate, informed teammates about wrong or unnecessary calls, and only called significant breaches.

Attitude and Self-Control

Players were polite and played with appropriate intensity irrespective of the score. They left an overall positive impression during and after the game.


Players listened and communicated respectfully. They kept discussion to a reasonable limit and got to know their opponents.


The Role of an Observer

At a handful of higher-profile, showcase tournaments, USA Ultimate uses observers. The fundamental role of an observer is to help players uphold Spirit of the Game by assisting them in creating an environment that fosters sportsmanship and respect among teammates and opponents. Because the players are in control, an observer’s ability to make calls is limited. Active calls that observers can make include:

  • Line calls, such as in/out of bounds or the end zone, and offsides
  • Timing issues
  • Conduct issues

All other calls, including fouls and violations, are the responsibility of the player. But if competitors cannot quickly agree on the outcome, or if they request, observers can offer their opinion and make a ruling.

Spirit of the Game Resources

Spirit of the Game

Outlining the roles and responsibilities of a Spirit Captain.

Last updated – May 2021.

Last Modified: 2021-05-21 16:14:24
Spirit of the Game

USA Ultimate and WFDF Spirit of the Game score sheet. (Currently under revision.)

Last Modified: 2021-01-28 23:40:12

Guidelines and information for coaches about their role and relationship with Spirit.

Last Modified: 2020-11-14 23:06:34