10 Ultimate Frisbee Rules To Get You Started

The Ultimate Frisbee rules are quite extensive. As in any other sport, you can start playing right away and learn during the game. Your fellow players will be more than happy to help you learn the basics.  At the beginning, you just need to know 10 basic rules to get you started.

1. The Field

The field, no matter if it’s outdoor or indoor game, is in a rectangular shape. It consists of two end zones at each end. According to the regulations, the field is 64m (70 yards) by 37m (40 yards), with end zones 18m (25 yards) deep.

2. Start of Play

At the beginning of the play, the two teams line up at the front of their end zones. The defensive team throws (“pulls“) the disc to the offensive team. Pulls are long throw across the field. They are thrown to give the offence a poor field position. The defensive team has a chance to get to the offensive players and stop their advance up the field.

3. Movement of the Disc

The disc can be moved in any direction by making a pass to another teammate. It’s forbidden run with the disc. Once a player catches the disc it’s required to come to a stop as fast as possible. The person can move only their non-pivot foot. The thrower has 10 seconds to pass the disc. The defensive player is guarding the thrower (“marker“) and counts out the stall count.

4. Scoring

The offensive team scores once one of their players catches a pass in the defender’s end zone.

5. Change of Possession

When a pass is not completed the defensive team immediately takes possession of the disc. Tha game does not stop and the defensive team becomes offense. They start where the disc came to a stop on the field or where it first travelled off the field.

There are several reasons for turnovers:

  • Block — a defender deflects the disc once an offensive player throws it and it hits the ground.
  • Drop — an offensive player fails to catch the disc or drops it while catching.
  • Interception — a  player on a defender team catches a disc thrown by the offense thrower.
  • Out of bounds — the disc may land or hit an object out of bounds or a player who lands outside of the field catches the disc.
  • Stall — an offensive thrower fails to throw the disc before the marker counts out the ten seconds.
  • Throw-away — the thrower misses his target, causing the disc to fall to the ground.

6. Substitutions

In Ultimate, players not in the game can replace the players in the game. It’s possible in two cases: after a team scores a point and during an injury timeout. If there’s an injury timeout, the opposing team can replace a non-injured player.

7. Non-Contact

Ultimate Frisbee is a non-contact sport. It means that physical contact is not allowed between players. A foul is called when the players make contact. Picks and screens are also prohibited.

8. Fouls

A foul occurs when a player makes physical contact with another player. A foul may disrupt possession – in that case, the play resumes as if the possession was retained. The player committing the foul may disagree with the foul call and the play is redone.

9. Refereeing

Ultimate is unique because of self-officiating. There are no referees. Players are responsible for foul and line calls. They need to resolve their own disagreements based on the rules. It encourages the honesty and respect on the playing field. In some cases, official observers can aid players in refereeing.

This awesome infographic explains the role of game advisors:

(Source: WFDF -Game Advisors)

10. Spirit of the Game

Spirit Of the Game (SOTG) is another thing that distinguishes Ultimate from other sports. As in any other sport, competitive play is encouraged as long as  players respect each other. Ultimate’s nature is all about the strong sportsmanship, respect and the joy of play.

(Rules source: original written by Steve Courlang and Neal Dambra)

Recently the World Flying Disc Federation (the international governing body of all flying disc sports) discussed the referee role in Ultimate. As I mentioned above, in some cases it’s accepted to have the Game Advisors. This an emotional topic as for many players the rule of no referees is what makes Ultimate so special. That’s why WFDF prepared a survey for all those involved in the game to voice their opinion.

If you’re already an Ultimate Frisbee player fill out this survey until 31.10.2016. What’s your opinion on referees in Ultimate?

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