What is Ultimate?
Ultimate frisbee is a fast, free-flowing game played world-wide which combines elements of netball, soccer and American football. The basic aim is for the team with the disc to pass it up the field to other players on their team and catch it in the endzone to score a point. At the same time the defensive team is trying cause a turnover by intercepting the disc or knock it to the ground. If they succeed, they get possession of the disc and attempt to score in their own endzone.
Unique to ultimate is the underlying principle of the ‘Spirit of the Game’ which places the responsibility for fair play on every player. Players on the field make their own calls when a violation occurs. If there is a disagreement, the disc returns to the player who made the last pass and the game resumes. The absence of umpires leads to the need for good honest sportsmanship, even when playing in highly competitive situations.
The Simple Rules of Ultimate
- The Field – A rectangular shape with endzones at each end. A regulation sized field is 64m x 37m, with endzones 18m deep.
- Starting Play – Each point begins with both teams lining up on the front of their respective endzone. The team starting on defense throws (“pulls”) the disc to the team on offense. A regulation game has seven players per team on the field.
- Scoring – Each time the offensive team completes a pass into the defensive team’s endzone, the offense scores a point.
- Movement of the Disc – The disc may be advanced in any direction by completing a pass to a teammate. Similar to netball, players can not run with the disc. The player with the disc (“thrower”) has ten seconds to throw the disc. The player guarding the thrower (“marker”) counts out the stall count.
- Change of possession – When a pass is not completed (e.g. out of bounds, drop, block, interception), the defensive team immediately takes possession of the disc and becomes the offense.
- Substitutions – Players not on the field may replace players on the field after a point is scored, or during an injury stopage.
- Non-contact – No physical contact is allowed between players. Picks and screens are also prohibited. A foul occurs when contact is made.
- 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.
- Self-Refereeing – Players are responsible for their own foul and line calls. Players resolve their own disputes.
- Spirit of the Game – Ultimate relies upon a Spirit of the Game that places the responsibility for fair play on every player. There are no referees. Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players, adherence to the rules, and the basic joy of play.
The full version of the rules can be found on the WFDF Ultimate Rules website.