Ultimate Frisbee is an exciting, non-contact team sport played by thousands all over the world. Ultimate is a fast-paced game, demanding its players to develop razor sharp throwing skills and immense stamina and agility.  Ultimate is the only IOC recognized sport to be self-officiating and promote Spirit Of The Game (SOTG); this means players know the game and rules inside out and understand the meaning of fair play.

Ultimate is an intense sport but it’s also very newcomer friendly. The ‘Ultimate community‘ is something people often refer to and you can easily understand why. You hear many Ultimate players refer to their teams as their family, and in some teams you spend almost as much time together as if they were. 

The Game

Ultimate is played between two teams of seven players on a large rectangular pitch. A line drawn across the pitch at either end creates two “endzones”. These are the goal-scoring areas. A goal is scored when a team completes a pass to a player standing in the endzone they are attacking.

Players cannot run with the disc. When you get the disc you must come to a stop and try to throw it to another player. By passing from player to player, the offence attempts to work the disc up the pitch towards the endzone they are attacking. If the disc hits the ground or is intercepted or knocked down by the other team, then the opposition takes possession. Possession also changes if a receiver is outside the playing area when he or she catches it.

The defending team attempts to stop the team with the disc from making progress upfield by marking them. The theory is that the offence won’t want to pass to a player who is being marked closely, as it’s likely to result in an interception. So it boils down to the offence players trying to get free of their markers to receive a pass, while the defence makes every effort to stay with them in the hope of forcing a turnover.

The Rules

  1. The Field – A rectangular shape with endzones at each end. A regulation field is 64m by 37m, with endzones 18m deep .
  2. Initiate Play – Each point begins with both teams lining up on the front of their respective endzone line. The defense throws (“pulls”) the disc to the offense. A regulation game has seven players per team.
  3. Scoring – Each time the offense completes a pass in the defense’s endzone, the offense scores a point. Play is initiated after each score.
  4. Movement of the Disc – The disc may be advanced in any direction by completing a pass to a teammate. Players may not run with the disc. The person with the disc (“thrower”) has ten seconds to throw the disc. The defender guarding the thrower (“marker”) counts out the stall count.
  5. Change of possession – When a pass in not completed (e.g. out of bounds, drop, block, interception), the defense immediately takes possession of the disc and becomes the offense.
  6. Substitutions – Players not in the game may replace players in the game after a score and during an injury timeout.
  7. Non-contact – No physical contact is allowed between players. Picks and screens are also prohibited. A foul occurs when contact is made.
  8. Fouls – When a player initiates contact on another player a foul occurs. When a foul disrupts possession, the play resumes as if the possession was retained. If the player committing the foul disagrees with the foul call, the play is redone.
  9. Self-Refereeing –  Players are responsible for their own foul and line calls. Players resolve their own disputes.
  10. Spirit of the Game – Ultimate stresses sportsmanship and fair play. Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players, adherence to the rules, and the basic joy of play.

Spirit

Spirit of the Game (SOTG) is at the heart of Ultimate and is a defining characteristic of the sport. With no referees, Ultimate relies on the Spirit of the Game, placing the onus of sportsmanship and honourable play on the players themselves.

Spirit of the Game: Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play. Protection of these vital elements serves to eliminate unsportsmanlike conduct from the Ultimate field. Such actions as taunting opposing players, dangerous aggression, belligerent intimidation, intentional infractions, or other win-at-all-costs behaviour are contrary to the spirit of the game and must be avoided by all players.

USAU 11th Edition Rules, Rule 1.b.