Background ultimate federation

The Power of the Sprit of the Game Circle

Many of us know the Spirit Circle as closing ceremony of a game, where the teams celebrate the Spirit of the Game, thank the opponents and have a chance to give mutual feedback.


This has a big symbolic strength and we must be aware how powerful this is.
Hurdling with the opponent is something pretty unique to Ultimate and is definitely an eye catcher for spectators that don’t know our sport.


The Spirit Circle is such a power tool, that should not be limited to the game closing ceremony but it actually brings much more benefits when done at the beginning of a game.


A survey run during the EUCF2017 showed that 44% of the participants found that the Spirit Circle before the game in general positively influenced the way they related to the opponent during the game.
During the same tournament there were just 2 occasions out of about 170 games, where the Tournament Ruling Group had to get involved because games were drifting in the wrong direction.


If we think about it, it is quite obvious that if we have the chance to set expectations before something is done, then we influence our and the opponent behaviour. This is of course much better than e.g. getting the feedback in the closing spirit circle, that the opponent would have wished us to have acted or reacted differently during the game, when we have no more chances to adapt and improve.
Spirit Circle Before the Game vs. Spirit Captain Chat before the Game
One of the most frequent comments in the survey at the EUCF2017 was that you can set the right expectations also when just the spirit captains talk at the beginning of the game, without having to “break the warm up rhythm” of the whole team.




There are 2 major aspects that speak against this thesis.
One is the commitment: just because the captains agree on something, it does not imply that all their players do.
Within the Spirit Circle all players make a sort of virtual pack, also symbolized by the hurdle, which is a much stronger commitment than just a handshake. Ones you are personally committed, it is much harder to break this bond, consequently losing your face.


The second it is about communication and how it works.
Here just a very small excerpt of one of the topics also covered in the EUF Train the Trainer Program.
Did you know that just 10% of communication is covered by what we say? The vast majority of the communication is nonverbal, like how we say something, our body language, etc. Maybe you know the motto “what is meant is not said - what is said is not heard - what is heard is not understood”. This describes how information gets lost the more hops it does, exactly because there is more than 1 channel and we often tend to forget it.
I don’t say that the Spirit Circle allows you to get to 100% information transfer, but it reduces the hops (direct communication), it addresses more channels - visual (watching your opponent in the eyes), tactile/kinesthetic (hurdling - feel the energy!), even olfactiv (smelling) and not only the auditiv (speech) one. By the way, various studies found out that just 10% of the people living in Europe understand by listening, so it’s really a bad idea just to “talk” if you want to “explain” something ;)
Spirit Circle before the Game at EUCRs and EUCF 2018
With this background information the EUF decided to continue to have the Spirit of the Game circles also before the games in all EUF sanctioned events.
The circles are not mandatory but highly recommended.
Please be so kind and plan them in your warm up routine.
EUF Starting game procedures
As part of the check-in procedure team representatives shall report to the scorekeeper at the appropriate field at least 10 minutes before their game is due to start.
For games where teams are scoring themselves, captains shall meet at the field at least 10 minutes before the game.


Teams are very much encouraged to hold a spirit circle not later than 10 minutes before the game. We kindly ask you to integrate it in your warm-up routine. The circle should just take few minutes.
The aim of this circle is to prevent problems during the game through clear communication of the expectations on the various aspects of the spirit of the game.
An example of the topics to talk about in this spirit circle:
  • Introducing the team and spirit captains so that everybody knows who will step in when discussions take longer than 30 seconds
  • Inform the opponent of your position and ideally agree on
    • [Rules Knowledge & Use]: how strict you apply the rules. E.g. you call all violations or only if the rule infraction has an impact on the outcome of the specific situation.
    • [Fouls & Body Contact]: which level of contact is tolerated and which is not
    • [Fair Mindedness]: Expectations how to handle contested calls
    • [Positive Attitude & Self Control]: what if important for you when the opponent makes a call
    • [Communication]: are the players that need a translator when discussion a call?
  • flip discs to determine possession and field position for their teams
  • decide the jersey colors. These is no home/away rule to determine the jersey colors.
  • High five to great your opponent