The Ultimate Game

The Game Played With A Flying Disc!




Ultimate Frisbee is a team game played by two teams 5-7 players with the aim of scoring points by catching the disc in an opponents end zone. The game is non-contact and is played indoors, outdoors, and on the beach (as you can see from the picture above taken at the world beach championships in Rimmini, Italy). Teams are universally co-ed (boys and girls on the same team!)



The Rules


There are some variations to the rules depending on whether it is indoor, outdoor or beach play, and also the country the game is being played in. Before games begin, team captains agree on the rules being adopted and these are then in play for the duration of the game or tournament.


Rules that apply to all games include:


  • A player can only pivot on one foot when in possession of the disc, the other must remain fixed to one spot. When moving, a player may take up to two steps to slow to a stop, any beyond that should be taken back to the point of contact

  • Defenders can stand as close as one disc width from an opponent, but there is no physical contact allowed and a defender is not allowed to knock the disc out of a hand. This would constitute a foul

  • Points are scored by passing the disc up the field/court in order to eventually catch it in an opponents end zone. End zone depth varies depending on the available space. The first point of contact counts and so if this is outside the end zone the throw doesn’t score and play continues

  • Possession changes hands if the throw is dropped by the offensive team, intercepted with a knock to the ground or a catch from the defensive team, the disc hits the ground before any kind of contact is made,  the disc goes out of bounds and is brought back into play, or a foul is agreed and the fouled player was on defence

  • A player may only hold onto the disc for a maximum of 10 seconds (outdoors), 8 seconds (indoors), and 7 seconds (certain tournaments). The defender will usually count out-loud as the ‘stall count’ progresses. A turnover is effected if the disc is not released within the time. When the disc is released, a call of ‘up’ is usually given to make others aware of its flight.




The Spirit of The game


Unlike most games, even in international competition Ultimate is played with no referee! Call foul calls and rule infringements, are made by the players themselves. This means that anger, boisterous behaviour, swearing, foul play, cheating, and many of the other attributes normally associated with sports players, have no place on the Ultimate field.


In Europe and increasingly in the USA competitions generally have a prize awarded to the team that has shown the most spirit in the games and had the most fun. This ‘Spirit’ prize is highly sought after, and could be renamed the fair play prize.


Ultimate players have to learn honesty and the principles of good sportsmanship in order to play effectively, and this should be understood from the outset.



Foul Calls


Infringements of the rules in Ultimate are always called up by the players themselves due to the absence of a referee. Fouls can be called by offensive or defensive players depending on the rule infringement.


If the violation results in a dropped or missed  catch and it is agreed by both players that a violation took place then the disc is considered to be caught (regardless as to whether it is in the end zone).


If the call is contested (One player disagrees with the call), the disc is returned to the thrower in the position from whence it came. Obviously playing to the spirit of the game is key to fair foul calls. 



Rule violations


  • Landing out of bounds

  • The disc touching the floor before being caught

  • Physical contact that interrupts movement, throwing or catching.

  • Pick Call – similar to a screen in basketball. If a defender is prevented from following the person he is marking, or an offensive player blocked by another body, whether accidental or deliberate, the player calls ‘Pick’, and play stops, the defender may catch up the offensive player, and the disc is returned to thrower

  • Strip – called when a disc is taken from, or knocked out of a controlling hand. This may be after a catch or during a stall count

  • Stall out – players may only hold onto the disc for 10 secs(8 indoors). This is counted by the defender out loud, and if it reaches count without being thrown it is a turnover

  • Travelling – Movement of the pivot foot, or steps during a throw.




Where can you play ultimate?


Everywhere! Ultimate is played outdoor, indoor and of course on the beach.



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