Typically in a game of Ultimate, the defending team assigns one player per offensive player. The defender, known as a “marker,” is in charge of counting down the seconds from when you’ve made the catch.
If it’s confusing to you, this video might help!
Lots of situations can trigger a turnover, where the defending team takes possession of the disc and becomes offensive. Some of the most common ones are:
Down: offensive team fails to catch the disc and it lands on the ground
Interception: defensive team catches the disc
Out-of-Bounds: the disc goes outside the boundary of the field
Dropped Pull: offensive team touches the disc but fails to catch it during the pull
Foul: uncontested foul occurs
There are additional situations, and some are more complicated, but if you’re going to play you should familiarize yourself with all of the things that cause turnovers. The World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) has an in-depth list of all of the turnovers here. They also have a list of all the fouls, which you need to know as well because you’re the referee – and so is everyone else on the field.
The Spirit of the Game
One of the most charming aspects of Ultimate is its self-governing commitment to maintaining what they call “the spirit of the game.” In fact, in the very first section of the official rules for play, put out by WFDF, rule 1.4 reads, “Highly competitive play is encouraged, but should never sacrifice the mutual respect between players, adherence to the agreed-upon rules of the game, or the basic joy of play.”
Ultimate Frisbee has no official referees. Instead, that responsibility falls to the players, who work to maintain an atmosphere of respect and good sportsmanship, so that everyone remains honest and forthright about mistakes and fouls. WFDF released a video about self-officiating that might help you get in the right headspace.
Since the players are the referees, Ultimate is a great game for teaching children responsibility for their actions and good sportsmanship. Players report their own fouls and really take ownership of both the game and the values of the community they’re building together.
There are many different ways to throw a disc, depending on how far and how fast you need it to go. A lot of this can be learned by practicing with other more experienced players, but you can get a bit of a head start here!
There are a whole lot of different ways to throw a disc, ranging from the classic throws we’ve all used when playing a game of catch at the park to more advanced and trickier throws. Here’s a great video that shows you all of the throws.
Don’t be intimidated! For all of the most popular throws, there’s a tutorial to help you learn how to throw like a pro! Here’s a playlist with specific tutorials for over 30 different kinds of Ultimate throws.
Join A Group
Ultimate is played in more than 80 countries worldwide, with 56 nation members of the World Flying Disc Federation. Wherever you are, you’ll be able to find a group playing near you. Ultimate is played in high schools, universities, and clubs. You can check out USA Ultimate’s list of affiliated clubsaround the country here!
Things To Consider When Buying Your Ultimate Disc
The USA Ultimate regulation weight is 175 grams. If you’re planning on using your disc for competitive play in any official capacity, you don’t want to exceed that weight. It’s not a problem; there are tons of discs out there that have had a lot of design and love put into making sure they’re 175-gram aerodynamic works of art.
If you’re playing with new players, just warming up, or want something that can stand up to stronger weather conditions, then you might want to invest in a slightly heavier disc. Sure, you can’t use it in an official competition, but you can still use it in a casual setting and it will fly further and faster than a regulation weight disc, which can mean a lot of fun!
An Ultimate disc gets a lot of wear, tear, and scuffs if it’s in use regularly. If you get a less durable disc, like many of the small plastic ones you can win at giveaways, it will be more prone to cracking or chipping. This can alter the way that the disc flies, disrupting its flight and making it less predictable. Higher quality discs, like the Discraft Ultra-Star, have been carefully crafted to maintain consistency in flight, even with minor imperfections.
USA Ultimate Approval
If you’re looking for a disc to play casual Ultimate with friends, you can skip this section. This is important only if you want to use your disc for competitive play. Whether you’re playing in a high school, college, or club league, you’ll need a disc that meets with USA Ultimate approval. Their standards are high and all of the approved discs on their list have been put through rigorous testing by advanced players around the country. You can read more about their process here.
Discraft is one of the best manufacturers of discs, for both Ultimate Frisbee and Disc Golf, in the world. Their discs are the standard for play and have been the only disc of choice for the USA Ultimate Championship Series since 1991.
Wham-O has been making toys for over 70 years and are actually the masterminds behind the original Frisbee! It’s a company dedicated to fun and outdoor sports with a passion that is apparent in their products and customer service.
Nite IZE may not be known for its discs in comparison to its other services, but fun is at the heart of their company and their LED discs set the bar for light up discs.
Innova is a European disc golf company, but their passion for well crafted, high-quality discs is well known around the world and their discs have a growing presence in the Ultimate Frisbee world.
Q: Is Ultimate Frisbee a sport?
A: Oh yeah! Ultimate has a national governing body and official rules, leagues… the whole shebang. It’s played in PE classes and at universities. It is just as fast paced and physically grueling as many more mainstream sports, but it can be played with minimal equipment by people of any age. The most convincing argument for Ultimate being a “real sport” is that USA Ultimate, the governing body of the sport within the USA, has been officially recognized by the Olympic Committee as a “sports organization.”
Q: How long is a game of Ultimate Frisbee?
A: Typically the game is played to 15 points, but the winning team must be two points ahead of their competitors. Otherwise, it’s first team to 17 points. Now, if this is taking a long time and the game is dragging on, the game can be ended after 60 minutes – if there’s a team that’s two points ahead. If not, the game continues to 70 minutes, at which point the team with the most points is declared the winner.
Q: Who invented Ultimate Frisbee?
A: Ultimate originated in a New Jersey high school in 1968. It was proposed by Joel Silver and over the next few years rules were written, the first games were played against other schools and four years after the idea, the first game was played at the collegiate level. It spread like wildfire from there!
Now you’re ready to play! Whether you’re ready to go all in and become an Ultimate junkie, or you’re ready to ease into it and give it a shot, you can’t go wrong with the Discraft Ultra-Star. It’s regulation-sized for those who want to play professionally, lightweight and durable for those who want to play rough, and incredibly affordable. It’s the most popular and best Ultimate frisbee disc on the market. Pick one up and get out and play!