#iSOTGDay & the School Games

December 3rd is International Spirit of the Game Day. This year's theme is YOUTH and so we wanted to post a short update about work with the School Games.

In England (sadly not the whole UK) there is a state-funded, multi-sport school sport competition programme called the School Games. Currently more than 20,000 registered schools take part in competitions every year across over 40 sports.

Earlier this year, Ultimate was formally added to the School Games. The opportunity for us is to build recognition, understanding and participation in Ultimate at a school level. Being a School Games sport means it becomes much easier for teachers to include Ultimate in their school, and from there, to start playing with and against the other schools in their area.   

That’s all quite interesting, and obviously, as UK Ultimate, we’re pretty happy about this. But we want to share just how important our Spirit of the Game culture has been in this process.

Firstly - a bit more background information. The School Games is delivered by an organisation called the Youth Sport Trust (YST) working through a network of School Games Organisers (SGOs). Basically, SGOs are “extra” sports teachers who are funded to spend their time coordinating sporting activities within and between schools in their area. There are approx 450 SGOs - each of them working with on average 50+ secondary and primary schools in their area.

It is absolutely clear that self-refereeing and Spirit of the Game were top of the list of reasons why Ultimate was invited to join the list of sports in the School Games. But it is also really interesting to find that we are being asked to share the ideas and systems developed in Ultimate for schools to try in other sports. Talking about honesty and fair-play is nothing new in sport. But for many people, the Spirit Circle is a new and very exciting idea. A prize for fair-play happens in other sports - but giving the players control of a process to try to think about it objectively, and then celebrating the winner alongside the competition winner… that’s unusual; and the fact that it so obviously happens and works in a growing sport like Ultimate helps people believe they could do it in other sports too.

The School Games already has already developed its own set of values.  Not surprisingly, there are some ideas in common with our SOTG categories.The School Games has developed its own set of values that they seek to embed in the competitions. Not surprisingly, there are some ideas in common with our SOTG categories.

Earlier this month, we attended an annual meeting for School Games Organisers. During the conference, the SGOs used a simple game (played with lego on a table!) to explain and try out ideas for alternative or new ideas for game and competition formats. Alongside ideas like “power-plays”, we presented a simplified version of the Spirit of the Game scoresheet. Self-refereeing was implemented and highlighted across all of the variations. Participants at the conference were shown this video on the conference big-screen as part of the introduction to their day.

YST School Games Summit 2018YST School Games Summit 2018

Here in the UK we have a really long way to go with developing and growing youth ultimate. But we’re really excited about this latest development, and we wanted to share it with #iSOTGDay! It seems that we’ve found an opportunity to share the ideas and systems that have been developed for Ultimate with other school sports here - and that seems to fit right in with this year’s theme.

 

Ellesmere Port Primary CompetitionEllesmere Port Primary Competition

 

Salford Secondary School FestivalSalford Secondary School Festival

 

Happy #iSOTGDay from UK Ultimate ! :-)