Ultimate Education: The Merits of Teaching Ultimate Frisbee in Phy Ed

My name is Anna Hettler. I have been playing on Drag’n Thrust since it’s beginning in 2009. When I started playing Drag’n Thrust I was finishing my senior year of college at UW-Eau Claire, where I was studying to become a Physical Education teacher. Now, five years later, I am teaching elementary Physical Education in the Minneapolis area. I really enjoy my job and working with students to build their physical abilities, sport skills and strategies, as well as their character. That is why I believe Ultimate is a great sport that should be taught in Physical Education classes.

Ultimate is a sport that requires all players on the field to be constantly active. It is a sport that has an extremely large range of participants. Here in Minnesota, there are youth leagues for middle school and high school players where children as young as 10 can participate. There are also recreational leagues for players of all skills and ages through all seasons. Teaching Ultimate is giving students a cheap, local option to stay healthy, with minimal equipment needed to play. It is a sport that offers life-long benefits towards a healthy lifestyle.

Playing ultimate also teaches students many important sport skills and strategies. Not only does playing ultimate teach students how to improve their disc skills, but it also helps students develop a sense of offense and defense, hand eye coordination, tracking a moving object, learning how to develop field awareness—and these are just some of the benefits! Many of these skills can be transferred to other sports students are interested in, even if the sport of ultimate isn’t for them.

Perhaps the most important reason I believe ultimate should be taught in Physical Education classes, is because it teaches students respect for themselves, the game, and their opponents. In ultimate, this concept is called Spirit of the Game. The game of ultimate is managed by the players themselves, without referees. Athletes who play ultimate not only need to have an understanding of how to play the game safely and within the rules, but also how to respect the game and their opponents. When playing a game of ultimate, many times opposing players need to settle a call between themselves. This is done by sharing their opinion with their opponent, as well as listening to their opponent’s perspective, and then agreeing mutually to the outcome of the play. These are skills that span well beyond the game of ultimate. These skills teach students how to problem solve and work with others who might have different opinions and beliefs. These skills teach students how to become self reliant, and how to enjoy playing a game honestly within the rules of the game. Through these skills, ultimate builds strong character and respect.

I didn’t learn about ultimate until I was in high school, and I didn’t start playing competitive ultimate until I got to college. Looking back, I wish my Physical Education teacher had shared this unique sport with me earlier. It would have helped me develop my strong moral character at an earlier age. I am glad that now I have a sport I can stay active with, a sport that has given me lifelong friends, and a sport that has helped me develop into a strong person. Now I am playing this sport at its highest level. While not everyone will strive to reach this level, I know that ultimate has a little something that everyone can learn from. This is why I believe ultimate should be taught in Physical Education classes.

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