Ultimate Frisbee Rules, History, Tips & Equipment

A history of Ultimate Frisbee, how to play, tips for improvement & necessary equipment

How to Play Ultimate Frisbee

Ultimate Frisbee, commonly referred to as Ultimate, is a limited contact sport. Like American Football and Rugby, teams score points by getting the Frisbee to the opposing team's end zone.

Ultimate Frisbee History

Ultimate Frisbee was invented in 1968 at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey. Joel Silver a student at the school founded the game, likely adapted from a version of Frisbee Football. At the time, Ultimate Frisbee was seen as a counterculture activity.

Ultimate Frisbee Rules

An Ultimate Frisbee game consists of between 7-12 people on each team. There should be an equal number of people on a side. A standard game of Ultimate Frisbee is played on a field 40 yards wide by 120 yards long, the length of which is divided into a 70 yard playing field with 25 yard end zones at each end.

A team scores a touchdown/point every time a player successfully catches the Frisbee in the opposing team's end zone. The game is played until a team reaches15 points with a two-point margin over their opponents, or until either team reaches 17 points total. One can also choose to play two 15 minute halves.

The goal of Ultimate Frisbee is to reach your opponents end zone by passing the Frisbee in the air to your teammates. The game begins by one team throwing off to the other team from their end zone. The defensive team player throwing the disc raises a hand to signal readiness to begin play. A player on the receiving team in turn raises a hand to signal that they are ready to receive the Frisbee, and the defensive player "throws off." There are six ways possession of the Frisbee switches sides.

  1. If at any point the Frisbee touches the ground either by a teammate failing to catch it or by an opposing player deflecting it.
  2. If a defensive player intercepts the Frisbee.
  3. If the Frisbee goes out of bounds or is caught out of bounds.
  4. If an offensive player fails to throw the Frisbee within 10 seconds. (Note: the defender needs to count this time aloud).
  5. If a player walks or runs with the Frisbee.
  6. If a player successfully catches the Frisbee in the opposing teams end zone, and scores.

The opposing team takes possession of the Frisbee at the spot the other team lost possession, except in the case of a touchdown/point. After a score, the teams switch their direction of attack and the team that scored "throws off." If a player physically interferes with an opposing player, a foul may be called.

Some variations of these rules include:

  • Number of touchdowns/points needed to win the game or amount of time per game
  • Length of the field
  • Number of people playing
  • Amount of time offensive player is given to throw the Frisbee
  • Amount of space a defender is required to give an offensive player when they are throwing the Frisbee
  • Number of steps an offensive player can take with the Frisbee

Ultimate Frisbee Tips

The best way to train is to play a game of catch with a Frisbee.

Ultimate Frisbee Equipment

To play Ultimate Frisbee you need one Frisbee and eight markers to designate the end zones. Markers can be cones, rocks, sticks etc.