Why Children Should Play Ultimate Frisbee

Updated on May 6, 2019
Eytan Deener-Agus profile image

Eytan Deener-Agus is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania. He has played ultimate for 8 years, most recently on Penn's team, "Void".

Source

Sports are great for children. They’re fun, they keep their growing bodies in shape, and team sports create an outlet for children to make new friends. Some might go as far to say there are certain values and life lessons like hard work, teamwork, and commitment that can best be taught through sports at a young age.

These are all great reasons for having kids play sports. But unfortunately, most parents or teachers end up relying on the traditional sports like basketball, football and baseball to achieve these goals. I’m here to suggest that instead of automatically falling back onto the Pop Warners and little leagues, not only should we consider ultimate frisbee as another legitimate sport for children to play, but that ultimate frisbee might be the best sport for children to achieve all these goals.

Source

What is Ultimate Frisbee?

I know you might be thinking, “Wait, isn’t frisbee that sport that hippies play at barbeques” (not anymore) or “Isn’t frisbee just another way of playing golf?” (nope, that’s frisbee golf, a completely different sport) or worst yet, “Isn’t frisbee something you throw to a dog?” (we can agree that dogs are great, but they have nothing to do with the sport ultimate frisbee).

In the past fifty years the sport of ultimate frisbee has grown from a backyard hippy hobby to an international competitive sport played from local middle school leagues to high school all the way through college and club teams across all ages and genders. Sometimes simply called, “ultimate,” the game is a team sport where teams of seven try to throw and catch a plastic disc in the opposing team’s end zone. It has a similar feel to football but incorporates the athleticism of soccer, high speed cutting of basketball with the intricate plays of lacrosse to create what we might call the “ultimate” sport.

While it might not be the first sport to come to mind, let me show you why ultimate frisbee is the best sport for children to play.

Spirit of the Game

What makes ultimate frisbee unique from other sports is the first rule in the handbook, Spirit of the Game. Spirit is a guiding principle, an ethos of the sport that requires all players to act as their own referee, calling their own fouls and settling disagreements on the field.

That means that whenever you think a player commits a foul, it is your responsibility to yell, “Foul!” then everyone freezes, and you discuss with the alleged fouler whether or not they committed the foul. If both players agree there was a foul, play continues as if the foul did not occur; if disagreement persists, the disc returns to the moment before the alleged foul and the game resumes there like a “redo.” In both situations, the game does not resume until some solution is reached.

Hard to imagine NBA players negotiating amongst themselves over fouls, right? Not the case in ultimate!

Source

Spirit Teaches Values

In other sports that rely on referees, often mastering the game includes learning how to exploit fouls and the referee to each team or individual’s personal gain. Think soccer, where huge flops and fake injuries are a commonplace or baseball where if you disagree with a call, players or managers have a tendency to storm the field in dissent. Are feigning and floppery really what we want to be teaching our children? Just complain, whine, and fake problems to authority so you can get what you want.

Instead, Spirit permeates the hearts of ultimate frisbee players on and off the field, going on to determine players’ attitudes and values. Self-officiation teaches ultimate players that they must stand up for themselves against adversity. No one is going to babysit them anymore. It instills in players values such as honesty, respect and integrity. What better way to teach these values than through a sport?

Spirit Makes Ultimate Safer

Spirit of the Game has this ability not only to teach values, but sociologists suggest that it moderates the negative effects of hypermasculinity that is pervasive in other sports. Think about how in football, basketball and hockey, a large part of the culture surrounding the sport involves aggressive, sometimes violent acts like chest beating, nasty trash talking and sometimes homophobia. Instead, in ultimate frisbee, players report a mitigated masculinity both on and off the field.

Whereas other sports allow for if not encourage a win-at-all-costs attitude, often considering the other team as the enemy, subtly if not sometimes overtly allowing for acts of violence, researchers identify that ultimate players emphasize respect over abusive behavior. Instead of overplaying injuries for personal gain, for example, if ever incidental contact occurs in ultimate frisbee, it is almost always understood as through attempting to play the disc instead of injuring an opponent. Further, players are known to show genuine concern when opponents are injured.

These are all clearly features that we would want in a sport that we are teaching our children to play.

Source

Spirit Makes Ultimate More Welcoming

In addition to making the physically sport safer, Spirit of the Game makes ultimate frisbee one of the most welcoming sports.

First of all, mixed gender ultimate is universally played at all of the highest levels from middle school all the way to grand-masters club tournaments. Embedded in the culture of ultimate is the value of mixing genders in play.

In addition to creating opportunities for all levels to play together at the highest level, perhaps more importantly, research shows that because of Spirit of the Game, ultimate teams are uniquely welcoming to different gender identities. When the first rule of the sport requires that you hold yourself and others accountable, what follows is a sport where players hold each other to a higher personal standard. You get players who are intentional about their words and actions. This all leads to an increase in inclusivity on and off the field, making ultimate frisbee the kind of sport anyone should feel comfortable singing their children up for.

Ultimately…

…with ultimate frisbee you get massive, athletic plays on the field together with caring and thoughtful teammates off the field. No other sport can so effectively teach life values like integrity, respect as well as inclusion while still being exciting and fun. This is the best sport for children to begin playing this year!

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, howtheyplay.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://howtheyplay.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)