Believe it or not, Ultimate Frisbee has been around since the 1970’s! Since then, the game has evolved from a very casual activity to a worldwide competitive sport for the planet’s best athletes. Yes, Ultimate is no longer your grandmother’s sport -- in fact, leagues exist from National teams all the way down to a high school level. That does, in a way, make right now the perfect time to start playing Ultimate!
Most people know that Ultimate is set up similarly to a football field, except for the inability to run with the disc. For many, however, that is the extent of their Ultimate knowledge. If you want to stop admiring the sport from afar and get in the action, here’s CoachUp’s guide to Ultimate Frisbee.
- A standard game is played with seven members on each team.
- A regulation field is a 70 by 40 yard rectangle with two end zones that are 25 yards long.
- The entire length of the field is 120 yards.
The purpose of Ultimate is to advance the disc down the field and score in the other team’s end zone. Most typically, teams will play to 15 points with a halftime once the leading team reaches 7. To score, a pass must be completed in the end zone by the offensive team. The offense can advance the disc down the field in any manner they want. They can throw it in any direction, including backwards.
Play begins with each team standing at the goal line of their respective end zones, not dissimilar to a kickoff in football. One team throws the disc down the field to the other team and the game begins -- this is called a pull.
When a player has the disc, however, he or she cannot move their feet except to pivot. Pivoting is similar to basketball once you’ve picked up your dribble. That planted foot must stay on the ground as you survey for a pass or shot. Picking it up will result in a travel and a turnover in possession.
The player in possession of the disc has 10 seconds to pass or the defense gets possession. It’s the defender’s responsibility to audibly, and fairly, count to 10 -- for example: “Stall one, stall two, stall three, stall four.” Once the defender says “stall ten” then possession immediately switches. If a pass is knocked down, intercepted, or simply incomplete, the defense immediately gets possession of the disc.
That’s right! Ultimate enforces a strict Spirit of the Game guidelines that help to ensure that all participating athletes are on their best behavior at all times. There are no officials! All disagreements are settled between the the opposing players. Remember, the most important tenets of Ultimate rely on honesty!
(Related: Read about the basic throws of Ultimate here.)
This results in an up-and-down, back-and-forth, tug-of-war type action, full of dives, hucks, and forces. There are more complex offenses to use, rather than just running into empty space without shape, like the stack offense or zone defense, but that’ll be for another day.
If you’re looking for a new challenge, try Ultimate Frisbee. It’s a fun, competitive, and an insane workout. Like we said before, it’s never too late to start playing either! There are levels of competition at every age and experience, so get out there and start playing! CoachUp has plenty of private trainers for new or aspiring Ultimate players at their disposal. Whether you’re learning how to throw or trying to master a force, hiring a private trainer might be the best decision you can make!
Be prepared for the biggest moments by mastering the small ones off the field.