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How To Coach The Spirit Of The Game At Youth Levels

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This resource comes from Skyd Magazine (@skydmagazine), a Seattle based magazine that celebrates and supports the growth of ultimate frisbee. Skyd provides articles and featured columns for coaches and athletes on training, growth of the sport, mental preparation and performance, and life lessons learned through ultimate.

Players and coaches of ultimate frisbee define spirit as: knowing and abiding by the rules, being fair-minded, having fun, and communicating properly. At the annual "Spirit of the Game" conference in 2014, a panel of coaches from junior national ultimate frisbee teams in Australia, Canada, Israel, and the United States helped to finish the sentence ‘The most difficult thing about teaching spirit to young players is ____.'

Some coaches answered that it’s teaching young players to step back and be objective about a situation even when they’re directly involved. Another says it’s about breaking down expectations from other sports, and another says it’s helping them understand that Spirit will be as important as ever as their level of play rises. One says it’s actually a lot easier to teach Spirit to kids than it is adults.

Building Spirit into your team’s identity, the coaches say, means pointing out that you’re really not much different from your opponent, electing players to pay special attention to Spirit, making sure members of your team treat each other the right way, and remembering that you’re the example your team looks toward.

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