Ultimate Frisbee Player Womens Ultimate Frisbee Team Playing Ultimate Frisbee ultimate04.jpg

Ultimate Frisbee

What is Ultimate Frisbee?

Ultimate is a fast moving, non-contact team sport, similar in many respects to other invasion games. Players need to possess a degree of speed, stamina and agility to play to a good level. The official pitch size is similar to a football pitch, but much smaller pitches are suitable for beginners and younger players. Ultimate Frisbee is played indoor 5v5 or outdoor 7v7.

Back in the day, Ultimate players were really funny lookin’

Ultimate Frisbee began in the USA in the 1960’s and has grown into a global sport. In 2008 Ultimate became an officially recognised sport by UK Sport and the home country Sports Councils: Sport England, SportScotland, Sports Council Wales and Sport Northern Ireland.

To support the development of Ultimate at grass roots, we provide the following products and services: School Activity Days, Events, Training, Equipment and Learning Resources.

Basic Rules

The main objective is to catch the disc in the end-zone by passing the disc to progress up the pitch.

  • You cannot walk or run with the disc.
  • Points are scored when the disc is caught inside the end-zone.
  • If the disc hits the ground, regardless of who touches it last, the other team gain possession.
  • The disc can also be intercepted or caught outside the pitch to cause a turnover of possession.
  • The teams change ends after each point.
  • Play resumes by the scoring team from the previous point ‘pulling’ the disc to their opposition.
  • Unlimited rolling substitutions can be made at the end of each point.


Ultimate Frisbee Discs

175g Fred Risbee Ultra-Star

Aerobie Superdisc


First of all you need a Suitable disc. The most popular choice is the 175g Ultra-Star by Discraft – official size and weight for Ultimate Frisbee.

For juniors (age 9-12) with good ability, the Daredevil 140g Junior Ultimate Disc is recommended.

For beginners learning the skills and playing Ultimate Frisbee for the first few times, everyone loves the Aerobie Superdisc.



How to Play Ultimate Frisbee

Each team then stands along their end-zone line. The disc is flipped to decide which team will make the first throw.

The elected thrower will hold up the disc to signal to the other team that they are ready to begin and wait for a reply signal from the opposition before making the throw, known as the ‘Pull’.

  • Once the disc is released all players may cross their goal lines.
  • The receiving team automatically gains possession of the disc by either picking it up from where it landed or catching it.
  • If a player makes contact with the disc before it lands, but fails to catch, then possession is turned over to the other team (outdoor rule only).
  • If the pull lands outside the pitch then the receiving team starts on the sideline where the disc crossed the line.
  • If the pull goes long over the back, then the receiving team can bring the disc forward 1/3 of the playing area, known as the ‘brick point’, before recommencing play.
  • After catching the disc a player must come to a stop as soon as they can and establish a pivot foot.
  • Passes can be made in any direction – there is no ‘off-side’ rule in Ultimate Frisbee.
  • The lines are out in Ultimate Frisbee, so the catcher needs to have their foot clearly inside the lines to keep possession and inside the end-zone lines to score a point.
  • A game can be decided by the first team to a set number of points or by running a clock.
  • The defensive team should try and get in the way of the oppositions’ passes and make interceptions, but they may not snatch the disc from a player in possession or make any contact.
  • When a disc crosses into an end-zone and is caught by one of the defensive players, they can bring the disc forward to the place where the disc entered the end-zone and take possession from there.

Read the Official Rules!


The Spirit of the Game

“Spirit of the Game places the responsibility for fair play on every player. Highly competitive play is encouraged but should never sacrifice the mutual respect between players, adherence to the rules of the game, or the basic joy of play.” (WFDF Rules of Ultimate).

As Ultimate games do not have referees, even at international level, they are governed by the player’s sense of sportsmanship and fair play. So when a foul occurs, a player directly involved will call “foul!”. Play stops, an agreement is reached about the nature of the incident and the consequences according to the rules, then players resume their positions to continue as though nothing happened.

If players are unable to come to an agreement about an incident, all players go back to where they were before the incident occurred, the disc is returned to the previous thrower and play continues from there. There are no yellow or red cards in Ultimate and there is no need for a referee.

Calling Fouls

  • A marker touches the disc or the hand or arm of the thrower before the disc is released; which is called as ‘contact’.
  • A player makes contact in such a way as to make the opposing player drop the disc in the act of catching; this is called as ‘strip’.
  • A player pulls, pushes or barges another; although incidental contact is allowed.
  • An offencive player blocks the path of a marker who is trying to follow another offencive player; this is called a ‘pick’.


Adapting Ultimate Frisbee for Beginner Groups

The objectives for beginners during their first few games should be to learn the basic rules, get involved and have fun. So once the basic skills are in place, Ultimate Frisbee can be introduced to children as young as 8 years old, by adapting and simplifying some of the rules. When the group has become familiar with the general concept and basic rules, additional rules can gradually be introduced.

The main rule to leave out at first is the ’10 second rule’ as it just adds unnecessary stress on the thrower and defender. Most new players actually tend to throw the disc with too much haste and need to be reminded to take more time anyway. Only introduce this rule once it will add value to the experience.

Once the rules are understood then it’s time to develop the Ultimate Form using Ultimate Drills. As abilities improves you can introduce tactics for offence and defence help promote effective team play. For learning resources, pick up a set of Ultimate Skills & Drills Activity Cards from the Shop.


Ultimate Frisbee Tournaments

Timeouts are used during tournament play, usually 60 seconds and 2 per team, per game. A timeout can only be called in between points or by the player in possession of the disc during play. These timeouts can be used tactically to break up the rhythm of the other team, change formation or defensive/offensive strategy. During a point time-outs are often called when the disc has been worked up close to the the opposition end-zone when the the attacking team don’t have a obvious scoring option. During the time out the team will huddle up, catch their breath, take on water and call a set scoring play.

School Tournaments can be a 1/2 or full day event. For beginner tournaments 5 v 5 are recommended, 20 minute in duration or play first to 9 points. For a half day tournament, 10 minute or 5 point games are recommended.

Regional and National Tournaments take place on a weekend, with 6-8 games per team. Most are played with an initial seeded group stages of 4 or 5 teams, then Quarter’s Semi’s and a Final. Usually placing games to be played out as well 3 v 4, 5 v 6, 7 v 8, etc so that all teams have the opportunity to play at least 6 games whether they win or lose. The Ultimate community thrives on the ‘players parties’ which help to create a festival atmosphere both on and off the pitch!

Mixed Tournaments require each team to field a gender split of 3, 4 for 7-a-side and 2, 3 for 5-a-side. The team receiving the pull at the start of each point can decide on how the split is set. If they chose to field 4 women and 3 men the pulling team must also play the point with 4 women and 3 men. It is convention for women to mark women and men to mark men (although this is not a rule and players can match up as they wish).

Hat Tournaments are also very popular. These are made up by individual players registering their names to be drawn out of a hat to make up new teams. Often a rating system is used where players will rate themselves out of 10. 1 = novice, 10 = international super-star! Hat tournaments are great fun and excellent for learning about the game and meeting new people.

Iron Man Tournaments are another format to be aware of. Each team is made up of 7 players with no substitutes! The key is to conserve energy by playing smart (and ideally get in shape before hand!) Often a reserve is nominated over the tournament for each team to allow one interchange going into each game.

Check out the calendar of UK Ultimate Events.