The First WFDF World Ultimate Country Rankings: What is Learned?

By: Jimmy Leppert

The World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) released their first ever World Ultimate Country Rankings earlier this week and we can learn a few different things from this list. Details about each country, details about WFDF, and more if you read on.

In the press release, WFDF states that the ranking is calculated using a point-system, which takes into consideration the number of participating countries at the most recent of each major event. So each of WUCC (2014), WJUC (2014), WU23 (2013), WUGC (2012) and WCBU (2011) are taken into account across every division for each event. As a new event takes place, for example this year’s U-23 Championships in London and Beach Championships in Dubai, the rankings will be updated. It’s an interesting concept, and I think you can learn a few different things by looking at the press release and the initial rankings.

  • As noted by WFDF Ultimate Committee Chair Brian Gisel, the rankings are to be used to measure the growth of one nation’s ultimate community compared to another. WFDF President Robert ‘Nob’ Rauch expands on that, saying that this is purely for a nation’s elite programs. I think it’s an important distinction to make, that these are based purely on elite programs, and not their programs from the Youth division upwards to Masters and Grand-Masters. Though I think it is safe to say that countries with stronger youth-based programs, and continued playing opportunities in the Club division and so on, will have the higher ranking. But as the list continues, and programs decide to invest more resources in certain areas of their organizations, it will be interesting to see how the list fluctuates.
  •  Another important note from the WFDF President: the rankings will not be used for seeding, bid allocation or other technical purposes. The purpose of the rankings is simply to help nations understand their strength relative to one another.
  • I’m very glad that the rankings were introduced this year, with two WFDF events taking place. I think it adds more meaning and context to the events.
  • The points system makes total sense. Assigning a complete program score, based on how many teams are at the event, is the best way to gauge equally how a nation, not just a single team, performed.
  • I think the point system also allows for a fair look at all of the events. WUGC isn’t weighted more heavily than WJUC, and so on. Instead, all events are weighted based on the total number of participants. The more opportunities a single nation has to out-perform other nation’s, the greater the possibility of improvement in these rankings.

Now lets look at the actual rankings.

  • Your top three are the United States, Canada and Germany. The United States actually has 2x more points than 7th-ranked France, and the divide deepens from there.
  • I wish the rankings were broken down more, or that each nation’s name was clickable, so that I could see where the Netherlands (for example) got their 33 points to be ranked 21st. Was it from one single event where they placed highly? Or multiple events and divisions where they placed towards the bottom of the pack?
  • It will also be interesting to see how this list grows (or contracts?) over time. Currently 44 nations are involved in the rankings.
  • While I like the idea behind the rankings, I think they need to come with some substance. This could be as simple as, mentioned a couple of bullet points ago, the country names linking back to their WFDF pages for a full highlight of their results. I get that the USA is in first here, but why? How did they do at these events? I think the rankings can provide meaning and help to show how a nation’s elite program – and subsequently their entire program – is performing, but is one nation rising in youth more or less compared to others?
  • What is the difference between #36 China and tied for #40 The Peoples Republic of China? I was under the assumption that they were the same place. Are they different governing bodies within China?

Like I said, I’m very excited to see these rankings develop over time. As kinks are worked out and as some irregularities are fixed they can become a useful tool in helping to better inform the international ultimate conversation.

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