|Youth - Info for Parents|
Ultimate is a fantastic sport for young people and we hope that you can get to experience the joys of having your child play Ultimate. The aim of this page is to provide some background on Ultimate for parents, and help you to understand what it means to you and your child to have them playing this sport. We're sure you will become a very enthusiastic supporter.
What is Ultimate?
Ultimate, also called Ultimate Frisbee, is a team sport played with a flying disc (frisbee). Each team has seven players, playing on a field about half the width (37m) and the same length (100m) as a football or soccer field. The aim of the game is to pass the disc to your team-mates (no running with the disc), and catch the disc in an endzone to score a point. Games are usually to about 15 points and last around 80 minutes.
Ultimate involves a lot of running and jumping, and is a great way to get fit and stay fit. The skills required to throw and catch the disc are great for developing better fine motor skills and better eye-hand coordination.
What is Spirit of the Game?
Ultimate is a self-refereed sport at all levels. That means that the players themselves are responsible for deciding when and if the rules have been infringed, a bit like what happens when they play backyard cricket or lunchtime soccer. The difference is that this Spirit of the Game is the principle also used to decide the world champion! For young players, this adds social, ethical and moral aspects not found in other sports.
Giving children responsibility for making their own calls on the field leads to much greater maturity and socialisation by them. They realise that sport is primarily for the enjoyment of all, that winning isn't everything and that it is possible to play a hard game against another team and still remain friendly with them after the game. Ultimate will have a positive influence on their personal development.
Why does my child like Ultimate?
How far can my child go with this sport?
Although Junior Ultimate is fairly new in Australia, there are many opportunities to excel. At the highest level, your child could represent Australia at the World Championships which are held biennially. The World Champs in Finland in August 2004 was the first time Australia sent juniors teams, and the results were outstanding with both girls and the open team doing better than their seedings, and the boys brought home the Spirit prize. In 2008, the boys finished 4th and the girls won Silver!
Apart from school competition, state and national organisations often run junior training camps where your child can improve their skills and meet people from all over the city, state or country. Many older juniors also play in senior competition like city social leagues and tournaments. Getting involved with a senior team or club is also a great way to improve their skills and social maturity.
How can I help my child enjoy playing more?
An important part of enjoying sport more is improving the child's skills. Buy them a disc to practice with, and take them down to the park and you can learn to throw together.
As with any sport, your child will gain a lot by having you show an interest in Ultimate, even if it is just talking with them about it. But if you can make it to a game and encourage them during a game, it will help them enjoy the game a lot more and build a stronger bond between you.
Why not start playing yourself? Many parents already play in the various leagues around the country. You will find the league is welcoming of all players, regardless of how old you are or how fit you feel, and it's a great social atmosphere. You could even put together a parents team from your kid's school.
What can I do to help?
The greatest thing you can give your child is your emotional support. Ask them about Ultimate and why they love it, come along and watch them play. Meet the other parents, the coaches and players, and even come and play yourselves - many parents already do!
Ultimate leagues and tournaments are run by volunteers. Your help with running a team or an event will help your child, their team and the Ultimate community. And you are sure to enjoy the experience of working with other volunteers. Find an official, and offer to contribute some time and energy to help.