When you find out about Ultimate Frisbee for the first time it’s curiosity that makes you try it. You’ll either love it or walk away treating it as a fun activity for a sunny day in a park. However, if you’re already into the game there are 10 tips that players at different levels should always remember.
1. Never give up.
A frisbee can be caught until it touches the ground. It’s the greatest advantage of the disc and nothing’s lost unless you let it fall. Many new players give up when the disc passes over their heads. They realise too late that if only they started running they could catch it. Depending on the spin of the disc it can fly a great distance, have varying speed and height of flight. There’s a great chance that with the good wind the disc will float a bit in the air making it easier for you to catch up with it. Reading the disc is a skill that you’ll acquire over time, but you need to remember that unless the disc touches the ground it’s catchable.
2. Catch always with two hands.
Everyone drops the disc from time to time, especially under pressure. How to minimise the drop rate and be assured of always catching the disc? You’ve got two hands, so better get used to catching with your both hands. That’s the best you can do. It makes the catch more stable. One handed catch isn’t bad, but it should be used only if you need that extra cm to reach the disc.
3. Practice makes perfect.
Take your training seriously. At first, not many things will make sense and you’ll find it hard to understand what is going on. As you attend the practice you’ll gain skills, strategic thinking and you’ll practice your throws. Anyone can be good at Ultimate – it depends on your commitment and dedication. Look up to your other teammates, especially those who play the game for a while now. Observe others and apply that knowledge to your own game. Another good idea is to watch the games – other teams or your own – and see how different strategies work.
4. Fake it.
Throwing without a person standing in your way is easy. Often new players find it difficult to throw under pressure. Fake that you’re going to throw the disc. It costs you no energy and can confuse your defender. You can fake you’re throwing and then quickly switch to the other side and make a break. Remember to use your pivot foot! You can fake a forehand and switch to a backhand. Try different throws. High-release, low-release or even a hammer! That way you lower the possibility of a hand block. You don’t need to do fakes every time. Sometimes all you need to do is a quick pass upfield.
5. No rush.
Many new players are trying to pass the disc as fast as possible when they finally get it. When someone’s stalling you there are 10 seconds to take a wise decision instead of rushing to make a fast pass. Some situations need a fast pass, but otherwise, it’s wise to take your time.
The best option is to throw the disc by stall nine. You can hold on up to stall 3-4 for an upfield pass, but at 5 you should consider resting to your handler to avoid taking a bad decision.
Passing backwards may seem in other sports like losing an advantage. In Ultimate that’s what can get you extra seconds to “re-group” and make another cut for the disc. When you dump the disc usually to a handler it opens up several opportunities. It can earn you a quick swing or you could go upline and get the disc back. It’s a “take 3 steps forward, 1 step back” strategy, which with some patience gets your team to the end zone.
7. Think and play.
As you play the games your team will have their own strategies. It’s good to know about a few tactics, like Horizontal Stack or Vert Stack. It adds organisation to your game and makes scoring so much easier. You’re also avoiding running recklessly and getting tired.
However, tactics are not everything. Going step by step with a tactic is not always the best idea. Improvise sometimes! You’ll be able to adapt to the changes in the game. A little bit of thinking has never hurt anyone.
Remember that you’re not a one man army. Cooperation is crucial to the success of your team. If you need a switch – go on and do it. If you can’t do something then your teammates will help out. Listen to advice from the sideline. Trust that teammate that he or she will catch the disc. Each player on a team is equally important and has their role to play. That’s what team sports are all about. Winning and losing together.
9. Defence wins the game!
Your offence may be fierce and unstoppable, but it’s the defence that wins the games. If your team is not good at it, your opponents will find it easy to score in your end zone. If your defence works well you’ll find it easier to win the games. The other team will have a hard time in keeping their cool and will make mistakes.
10. Keep calm and have fun.
Everybody wants to win the game, but remember not to get frustrated because you made a bad pass or someone didn’t catch your throw. Losing is also important – you know what you need to work on. You and your team learn from the mistakes. Everyone messes up during the game and getting frustrated with your team won’t build the team spirit. Instead, look for tips on how to improve and encourage others to not be afraid of making mistakes. Every time you lose, it gives your team an opportunity to make a stronger comeback. That’s when you see progress. That’s when Ultimate Frisbee is truly fun and enjoyable.
That’s 10 tips that I think should always be remembered by Ultimate Frisbee players. What other tips would you give to your teammates?