Spirit & Rules

Spirit of the Game

"Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play." - Rule 1B - the most important rule

Maintaining Spirit of the Game is vital to ultimate. It's essential for our sport and helps make recreational leagues like ours more fun. VUL captains are responsible for Spirit on their team.

Core elements of Spirit include respect, integrity, sportsmanship, and fun. Playing with those elements helps keep disagreements from becoming more serious disputes that require additional steps for resolution. 

Some ways to demonstrate Spirit for a game include:

  • ​Being on time with enough players
  • Playing by the rules
  • Respecting other players
  • Avoiding contact – see below
  • Discussing and resolving disputes - see Conflict Management
  • Removing dangerous players from the field
  • Having fun!

TIP!​ Remember that different teams may have different opinions about what's fun. Be open to different perspectives, and when in doubt, talk to the other captain to discuss and resolve any concerns.

Contact and Dangerous Play

Please ensure your team is aware of the Dangerous Play rule. The VUL runs recreational leagues, and it is paramount that all players play with safety in mind. We will give warnings to teams if their players injure others, and multiple warnings can lead to a team being suspended from league play. If anyone on your team feels unsafe, talk to the other captain. If anyone feels there is too much contact or physical play being used, they are right! If someone on your team is being dangerous, you have a responsibility to remove them from the field. We all have to work or go to school tomorrow, so play safe!

Team Spirit

You can also focus on Spirit within your own team. Get creative with your team name or jerseys. Develop your own special spirit game or award for other teams. Focus on learning and fun, and work to include everyone in game play. Some examples for engaging your players:

  • Pick one player for a point and try to have them be the player who scores
  • Play a point where men can only pass to women.

Spirit Games

Teams often engage their opponent in a Spirit Game after the game. 

Get some good ideas from Ultiworld's list of 40 Fun Games !

TIP! Is there something else you do to encourage spirit on your team and in your games? Email LM@vul.ca to have your idea added to this guide!


Captains should read and understand the Official Rules and the VUL's Exceptions. Some key VUL rules:

Gender Requirements

You must have at least 3 men-matching players and 3 women-matching players to play (or 2 of each in 5-on-5 leagues). In addition, read about the Gender Balance rule we implemented as of 2017. 


It is a sign of respect to your opponents and teammates to be on time. Delaying the start of a games is a sign of poor spirit, and that's just not good ultimate.

What does 'on time' mean? We expect games to start at scheduled time.  Our permits start 30 minutes prior to grass start times and 15 minutes prior to turf start times, so we expect players to show up at least 15 minutes before start time.

When you completed your game report, use this guide to answer the Timeliness question:

  • “Excellent” - your opponent was ready at game time 
  • “Good” - ready between 1-5 minutes after game time
  • “Fair” - ready between 6-10 minutes after game time
  • “Poor” - ready > 10 minutes after game time

Teams that get 3 “poor” ratings will be fined $50. Teams with higher scores will have a higher chance of winning a Division prize at end of season. 

Forfeits ​& Defaults

If you will not have enough players for a game, be sure to contact the other team's captains well in advance of your game to avoid a Default Fee. See League Regulations for full details. Multiple defaults may lead to your team being removed from league play.

Playoff Eligibility​

To participate in playoffs, players must be on your roster AND have played with your team during the season (see VUL Rule A.6 for exact number).

If you are *really* short on players and need to bring subs that have not played enough games with your team, you can do so with the permission of the other team. The key to getting permission? Don't bring ringers! Bring subs that are a similar skill level to the rest of your roster. It is NOT unspirited for the other team to reject any ringer subs that you may bring. Play fair!

TIP! Knowing all the rules is a lot of work - share this responsibility with others on your team, especially your Rules Guru. You may even wish to divide the rules so some of your captains are experts in specific areas.


Return to Captains Guide