The game of Ultimate Frisbee is, unquestionably, worth experiencing. It is full of pleasure, discipline, grace and spirit of sports-shipment. Interestingly, the players themselves follow and implement the laws of the game since this game need not any referee.
Following is a compendious guide on the game of Ultimate Frisbee, that is equally useful for beginners and professionals.
This concise-cum-complete guide explains, in lucid and simple language, history, object, equipment & the rules of ultimate Frisbee in detail such as; team composition, court dimension with a a complete playing procedure, scoring system, substitutions, fouls and penalties, skills and techniques to play Frisbee
What is Ultimate Frisbee?
Ultimate Frisbee or only “Ultimate” is the most popular variant of Frisbee. This game is a non-contact and self-officiated team sport.
Being a team sport, each team needs 7 on court players, and substitutes on the bench, outside of the playing area.
This game is played with a 10 to 11 inches flying disc, on a rectangular court of 100 m length and 37 m width, that includes two 23 m end zones (goal areas) at each end of the court.
This game requires athleticism of the level of soccer, hockey, rugby or any other game that involves sprinting, passing the ball/disc, throwing or kicking it quickly, and sending it far towards the opponents’ goal area.
How Ultimate is Played?
To score goals, the players of each team try to get the possession of the flying disc (without making physical contact with players), pass it from one teammate to the other, save it from the opponents till it is carried all the way towards their (opponents’) end zone or goal area.Each end-zone lies at each end of the court.
To win the match, a team has to score a mutually determined number of goals, usually 15 to 17 goals, in a given time period.Usually, an Ultimate match lasts for 36 minutes period that consists of two halves.
The beauty of this game is highlighted in its spirit of the game; this game is self-refereed.Quite interestingly,it is the players that decide the goals, fouls, turnovers and penalties that’s what make this game ultimately unique and class apart.
History of Ultimate Frisbee
As for as the history of Ultimate Frisbee is known, this game emerged from New Jersey, USA, in 1968. It was Joel Silver, the inventor of the Ultimate Frisbee, who introduced this game to the students of Columbia High School in Maple wood.
After 11 years of its development, the first ever Open Division Championships were held by the then Ultimate Players Association (Now USA Ultimate), in 1979.
Currently,these Open Division Championships are organized in 9 different divisions in USA by the national governing body of Ultimate; USA Ultimate.
This national body of Ultimate is also one of the members of WFDF: World Flying Disc Federation, and WG: World Games. The WFDF governs all the flying-disc sports internationally.
Whereas, the World Games is probably one of the biggest multi-games platforms that is overseen by the International Olympic Committee.
Object of Game
The object of the players, in Ultimate, is to score more goals than opposing team during course of the match. The players of each team attempt to get hold of the flying disc (Frisbee) by catching it, pass it to teammates, and advance it towards the opponents’ end-zone for scoring goals.
As this is a non-contact game, so the players should not touch one another while trying to take the Frisbee. They can only catch the flying disc or block it in its way ahead but not snatch it forcibly from the opponents.
Equipment You Needed to Play Ultimate Frisbee
All you need is a 10 to 11 inches round and 170 to 180 grams heavy flying disc that is mutually accepted by the players of both teams. However, it is WFDF that decides the size and weight of each flying disc of a flying sport.
Other than the flying disc, players of both the teams have to wear uniforms of two different colors so as to avoid any confusion in the identification of them.
It is prohibited and against the spirit of the game to wear any harmful items that may cause damage to players.
Rules of Ultimate Frisbee | Complete Players Guide
Almost every game of the planet has a defined set of rules to implement while playing it. In addition to that, every game has an authorized person, a referee, to make the implementation of the rules possible.
Let’s imagine if there is no referee to monitor and implement the rules.
- Can a match be played without an authorized referee?
- Would it be possible to keep the decorum and spirit of the game intact without a referee?
The answer to these worrying questions it YES!
Probably, Ultimate Frisbee is one of those non-referee games which are fully governed and managed by their players, and that’s what makes this game incredibly ultimate.
Let’s now discuss that how this game is managed successfully by the players, and its official rules.
Rule #1. The Spirit of Game
This is supposedly the first thing you come across when you try to learn Ultimate Frisbee. This is spirit of the game that makes it unique and interesting to play and watch. Every player holds his own responsibly to play as fairly as possible.
Let’s delve into the prerequisites of spirit of the game of Ultimate Frisbee.
- It is the first and foremost responsibility on every player to know all the rules of the game to maintain fair play, and adhere strictly to its rules.
- Every player must trust each other and show respect to the decisions taken by opponent player.
- Each player should know that his wrong and false decision might lead to his own ruin.
- Players must be careful that they are not only participating in the match as players, but they are performing as referees simultaneously.
- The players have to be truthful and upright while taking decisions. They must prefer justice to their team.
- It is the sole responsibility of players to elaborate his viewpoint honestly and also give considerable opportunity to opponent to talk on the mishap or foul.
- While playing, the players from both the teams have to use gentle words and avoid derogatory language.
- Even if there was hot debate on any decision taken right or otherwise, the players must not utter disrespectful words.
- When a teammate takes unjust decision, his own teammate may rectify it. That’s cool.
- Players of one team may appreciate their opponent on taking rightful decision.
It is against the Spirit of the Game if a Player:
- Plays in a foul manner throughout.
- Violates the rules of the game continuously.
- Intimidates his opponents or taunts them after a goal.
- Celebrates his teams goal in disgraceful manner.
- Uses his hands or legs to punch or kick his opponent.
- Stares his opponents in a sadistic manner.
- Shouts loudly at opponents.
- Starts hooting as he realizes his team winning the match.
Rule #2. Court Dimension
The court of Ultimate is grassy, even, flat, smooth and rectangular in shape. It is 100 meters long and 37 meters wide.
It has two23-meter end zones at each end of the court designated for scoring goals. Each end zone starts from goal line and ends at end line.
This court has two side lines and two end lines that are not part of the playing areas and are known as perimeter lines.
Between two end zones, there is a 64-meter central zone where most of the game is played. In the central zone, there are two brick marks that are at a distance of 18 m from each goal line.
Additionally, there are 18 supple and flexible colored cones that mark the corners of the court.
Sometimes, it is recommended to mark safety out lines that may start at least 4 to 5 m from the perimeter lines to avoid the entry of any spectators, couches or out players, which might lead to obstruction in the match.
Rule #3. Team Composition
In Ultimate Frisbee, each team needs to have 7 on field players, and a varying number of substitutes waiting outside of the court.
Ultimate can also be played with minimum 5 players in each side. One player from each team has to act as a captain.
Rule #4. Formats of Ultimate Frisbee
It can be played by two male teams, two female teams and even with mix players (male and female players in each team).
Rule #5. Positions and Roles of Players in Ultimate Frisbee
a). Positions of players in Ultimate Frisbee
There are basically only two major positions in Ultimate Frisbee, and that are:
The handlers have to be near the flying disc all the time. Their ultimate aim is to provide the receivers an easy and clear passage to take the Frisbee.
They keep on running behind the disc and try to surround it so as to make its way hurdle-free.
They are the ones who actually cut the Frisbee by catching it in the deep area of opponents’ court. They do not surround the Frisbee rather they aim at catching it and converting it into goals for their team. In simple words, the cutters are responsible for scoring goals for their teams.
Check out following additional information for position of players in Ultimate Frisbee:
- It’s not obligatory to Pre-select the handlers and cutters. Every player can switch his rules as per situation.
- In Ultimate Frisbee, it is not necessary to take any specific position all the time.
- There is no position for a goalkeeper because there is no goalpost, but a large goal area that is 37 m wide and 23 m long.
- The players can take any position other than already occupied by the opponents.
- Players can stand next to their opponents, but should not come in contact with them at any cost, otherwise it will result in a foul.
- A player should not change his position as soon as he catches the flying disc. However, he can pivot one step in any direction of his liking.
- In case a player jumps, he can land at his take-off position without any obstacle by his opponent.
b. The Roles of Players
There are three major roles of players, and each player can perform all these roles in a single match, but at different occasions.
Let’s find out what are these roles.
The thrower belongs to the attacking team. He is the player who takes hold of the Frisbee. He must standstill as soon as he catches the flying disc.
As a rule, the thrower has to pivot only one foot in any direction he wants. He can change his position and move just after throwing the flying disc to his teammate or to opponents’ end zone.
The marker is a defending player. He is the one who guards the thrower, and tries to take hold of the Frisbee by standing very near to the thrower. However, he must not come in contact with the thrower nor stop the thrower by means of force.
The marker is responsible for stall counting (the time for holding and throwing the flying disc). The time within which a thrower has to release the Frisbee is just 10 seconds.
He belongs to the team of the thrower. The receiver is responsible for catching the disc that comes from the thrower. As per rule, a receiver has to stop as soon as he catches the disc.
He should not move further with the disc rather throw it while standing on the spot where he has caught the disc. However, the receiver may find his feet after catching the disc and pivot only step in any direction he wants.
Note: An attacking player becomes the receiver when he is to catch the flying disc coming from his teammate, and after receiving it, he becomes a thrower.
Rule #6. Duration of the Match
An Ultimate match lasts for 36 minutes. It comprises 2 halves of 18 minutes. There is a 5 minute break between two halves. Teams can avail themselves of time time-outs.
As a rule, the clock will stop in case of goals, minor of major injuries, fouls and flying disc (Frisbee) going out of the playing areas.
Note: As per rule, when a player takes the flying disc in his possession, has to throw it in maximum 10 seconds. If he does not throw it in 10 seconds, he will have to give the flying disc to his opponent.
Rule #7. Starting of the Match
The match is started with mutually agreed decision between two captains of the teams. One team can take up the task of defending and other team can go for the throwing. If team A takes the throw, the team B has to defend.
The defending team has to choose one side of the court. These choice options are switched as soon as the second half takes place.
It means, the team which defended first in the start of the match, would throw the flying disc in the start of the second half of the match.
How to Play Ultimate Frisbee? Step by Step Guide
How do you play Ultimate Frisbee?
This game is quite simple to comprehend and command.
Let’s learn how play it in a step wise manner.
The first necessary things that you need for playing this game are:
Two teams of 5 to 7 players, a smooth rectangular court of 100 m by 37 m, and a flying disc.
Having arranged all above-mentioned things, two representatives of both the teams decide which team serves or throws first.
After decision, players from both the team should enter the court. The players form defending team should protect their end zone (goal area) on one side of the court, and the attacking or throwing team should take other side of the court.
The players should now officially start the match by throwing off the flying disc. The first throw off is known as the “Pull”.
They may directly throw it to the opponents’ end-zone or pass it from one teammate to other by means of catching.
Note: The first throw off or pull must be made when all the players show readiness.
As soon as the first pull occurs, players from both the teams be ready and active in the match.
The players from offending or attacking team should pass the flying disc slowly and carefully among teammates. This passing takes place by means of clear catches.
Players of attacking team have to be cautious while passing the Frisbee among teammates because any opponent player can cut it off, and take it in his possession.
If your opponent takes the flying disc after either cutting it off or by means of fouls, he should do the same to pass the flying disc among his teammates and change the course of the match.
When a team manages to lead the Frisbee all the way over to opponents’ end-zone, scores a goal.
Note: The Frisbee has to be soaring in the air, among players, during the entire match. If it falls down, it becomes dead.
When a team scores 15 goals before its opponents, wins the match. An Ultimate match has two halves of 18 minutes. Thus, the whole match is of 36 minutes.
Rule #8. Scoring System in Ultimate Frisbee
This game depends on goals as soccer, hockey and other many sports.To score a goal, a team has to make the Frisbee pass the central zone and enter the end-zone of its opponents.
Whereas, to win the match, a team has to score 15 goals in 36 minutes time frame.
A match comprises 2 halves of 18 minutes. A team that scores more goals than the opposing team in the first half of the match is not considered winner since both the teams have to play another half, that might turn the tide to opposing team.
After each goal is scored, the players have to take their respective positions and resume the game. One of the players from scoring team holds Frisbee and starts the pull again.
Rule #9. Substitution Rules
Ultimate Frisbee also has the provision of substitute players like many other sports.As per rules of the Ultimate Frisbee, the players can be substituted in following ways:
- When an on field player gets injured or feels sick.
- Teams can substitute after a goal is scored.
- They have to substitute players before a fresh pull.
- Teams have to replace players before half-time.
- They cannot replace players during time-outs or half-time break.
Rule #10. Fouls and Penalties
Though the game is played without referees, players are responsible for calling out fouls and penalties. Let’s find out the most common fouls and penalties in Ultimate Frisbee.
- This is a non-contact sport. Therefore, players should maintain distancing while playing the game.
- If there occurs contact between players, it is subjected to a penalty in the shape of dispossession of the Frisbee for the offender, and award for the offended player. Note: Offending player loudly shouts the fouls.
- If the thrower takes too long (more than 10 seconds) to throw the disc to his opponents, he is at fault and the disc is awarded to the opposing teams’ player.
- It is a foul when the disc, after being thrown, goes out of bounds, the team other than that of thrower’s that sent the disc out of the court, gets its possession.
- It is a foul when any player goes out of the playing area during the match.
- It is a foul to make untimely substitutions.
- It is a foul to violate any laws of the game that may impair spirit of the game.
- When an opponent player counts 10 seconds very fast. That is a stall count foul.
- When a thrower is hindered by more than 1 markers within 10 ft distance.
- When a marker snatches the disc from the thrower before letting him release it. Note: Most of the penalties deprive the offenders of flying disc.
9. Skills and Techniques in Ultimate Frisbee
To play Ultimate it is necessary to acquire some highly useful skills to overcome ones opponents.
Let’s find out what sort of skills a player should possess.
a. An Excellent thrower
A player has to be better thrower than his opponents. The thrower is one who can score a goal with his ability to beat his opponents and make the Frisbee land in opponents’ area. Whereas, a bad thrower is always a weakling for his team.
A fine thrower must possess throwing skills such as: a backhand thrower, a forehand throw and an overhead or hammer throw. He must assess the situation and know where to throw and where not to.
b. An amazing Catcher of the Disc
After throwing skills, the catching skills are also of high value for the game. Catching helps in passing of the flying disc from one teammate to the other. A player with better catching skills is a reliable player for the team.
He must have an eye on the thrower of his all the time. To improve catching skills, players should practice it out of the game as well.
c. A fine Runner
Last but not the least, running skill is also necessary. This game is full of gamboling, sprinting, diving and jumping for all the players, except the thrower.
Players, from both the teams, run from one corner of the court to the other in an attempt to pass the disc and score goals. Therefore, it is imperative to improve stamina, strengthen your legs and do some cardio exercises.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ultimate Frisbee Rules
1. Who is inventor of Ultimate Frisbee?
Joel Silver is the inventor of Ultimate Frisbee. He was the one who gave the idea of this game to the students of a High School.
2. How long an Ultimate Frisbee game lasts?
A game of Ultimate Frisbee is played for 36 minutes. It is divided into two equal halves of 18 minutes.
3. How do you score goals in Ultimate Frisbee?
For scoring a goal, the players of attacking team have to make the Frisbee enter the End-zone of opposing side.
4. What is a turnover in Ultimate?
A turnover means losing the possession of flying disc by means of fouls. As per rule, when a team commits a foul, its opponent team gets the possession of the flying disc; a turnover is accomplished.
5. Which throw is most commonly used in Ultimate?
It is the overhead or hammer throw that is widely used in Ultimate. This throw serves the aim of covering large distances.
6. Is Ultimate a contact sport?
No, it is a non-contact sport. Players must exhibit distancing while playing this game.
7. When the possession of flying disc gets changed?
It gets changed when there occurs any kind of infraction, foul or violation.
8. What is meant by pulling the disc in Ultimate?
Pulling the disc simply means throwing it off. Each throw is not considered a “Pull”. It is either the first throw of either first half or the second half or even the first throw that takes place after every is scored.
9. Can contact occur during Ultimate Frisbee?
As we have discussed that this game is non-contact. So, there is no way players can make contacts.
10. What is double teaming in Ultimate?
Double teaming means when two markers of defending team try to guard one thrower of attacking team within a distance of 10 ft.
11. Is double teaming allowed in Ultimate Frisbee?
No, double teaming is against the laws of Ultimate. As per rule, only one marker can guard the thrower.
Ultimate, being a variant of Frisbee, is arguably the most popular of all other variants. All you need is a flying disc, a rectangular shape, two teams of minimum 5 and maximum 7 players to begin with.
This game lasts for 36 minutes and have two halves of equal period. To win the match, a team has to score 15 goals before opposing team.
This game is governed by USA Ultimate and WFDF: World Flying Disc Federation. Now, we must say goodbye with the hope that this painstaking article will assist you in learning this game to the greatest extent.