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Ultimate Frisbee Basics

Marc Umeno
June 2nd, 2008
• Rules
• Individual Offense
– Throwing
– Cutting
• Team Offense
• Individual Defense
– Marking
– Guarding Man
• Team Defense
10 Simple Rules
• The Field -- A rectangular shape with endzones at each end. A regulation field is 70 yards by
40 yards, with endzones 25 yards deep.
• 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.
• Scoring -- Each time the offense completes a pass in the defense's endzone, the offense
scores a point. Play is initiated after each score.
• 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.
• 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
• Substitutions -- Players not in the game may replace players in the game after a score and
during an injury timeout.
• 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 stresses sportsmanship and fair play. Competitive play is
Throwing Basics
• Be careful to make good throws
– You have 10 seconds, don’t panic!
– Once the disc hits the ground, it’s over to the other team
– Look up the field and wait for a teammate to get open
– Only throw when you think you will be able to make a
catchable throw
• Be aware of the force (right-handed, reverse for lefty)
– If you are being forced to your left, get ready to throw a
backhand. If you are forced right, hold the disc in a
forehand grip.
• Throw to open space
– Receiver is running, so let them go to the disc
• Pivot Foot:
– One rule of ultimate is that you have to maintain a
“pivot foot” while you are holding the disc.
– One foot that must remain in contact with the same
Throwing - Backhand
Throwing - Backhand
• Stance (Right-handed, reverse for lefty):
– Stand sideways with right hip pointed at target.
– Your toes, knees, and chest perpendicular to target
– Hold the disc at about waist level.
• Cock your wrist
– Bend your wrist so that the disc is as close as possible to
the inside of your lower arm. Hold the disc so that it is
flat. (Parallel with the ground.)
• During the throw, your wrist will go from the cocked
position to the released position. In the released
position, your wrist is bent so that the back of your
hand is as close as possible to the outside of your
lower arm.
• This movement of the hand from cocked to released is
called “snapping your wrist”. It is what makes the disc
• Example:
Throwing - Forehand
Throwing - Forehand
• Stance (Right-handed, reverse for lefty):
– Stand facing target, with your feet hip-width apart & half-step forward
with your right foot.
– Hold the disc out to your right side – keep elbow close to right side with
lower arm and disc horizontal.
• Prepare to throw:
– Hold disc out to right side with elbow bent, about six inches from your
– Move arm back so that the disc is slightly behind you, feeling slight
stretch in your shoulder.
– Bend your wrist backwards into cocked position but keep your forearm
and the disc horizontal.
• Release:
– To throw, bring your elbow forwards first and your hand will follow close
– Bring the disc straight forwards, keeping it flat. As your hand comes
forwards, snap your wrist and release the disc.
– As you bend your wrist forward, open your hand and let the disc fly to
the receiver. You should feel the disc fling off your middle finger.
• Example:
Cutting – Basics
• When a teammate has the disc, you should either be trying
to get open for a pass (cutting) or staying out of the way.
• Most of the time, you will be staying out of the way.
– This is because there are six people on your team without the
disc and only one of you should cut at a time.
– You have to watch the disc and try to anticipate where your
teammates will be running.
• If you see a chance to get open for a pass, go for it.
– Run as fast as you can until you either catch the disc or get the
feeling you aren’t going to get passed to.
• If the disc is thrown to you keep running, don’t stop – “Go To
– Stopping and waiting for the disc allows your defender to catch
up to you
– This is the #1 mistake that inexperienced receivers make
• If it looks like the thrower isn’t going to pass to you (they
are looking the other way or telling you to get lost) run as
fast as you can away from the thrower.
– This is called “clearing out”. It allows someone else to cut in.
Cutting within an Offense
• Primary cuts
– First cuts that occur off a stopped disc or the first cut in a called play.
– The primary cutter should move into a “sweet spot” where the cutter
could actively threaten two throwing areas.
– The primary cutter then should then utilize a fake or a juke to force the
defender to commit and then proceed into the open space.
– Example of this type of cut is when a cutter makes a hard fake towards
the end zone before changing direction and coming back toward the
• Continuation cuts
– Cuts that come from motion within the flow of the offense.
– The most important aspect of continuation cuts is timing, where you
should be cutting just as a teammate is catching a disc and will need to
make the next throw
• Clearing cuts
– The clearing cutter actively moves her defender out of the way of the
teammates’ cutting lanes, thus opening up room for a teammate to
Team Offense - Positions
• Handler:
– 3 players designated as Handlers
– First people to get disc off pulls and stopped plays
– Short throws to other handlers or medium throws to cutters
– Also may throw hucks to Deeps
• Cutter
– 2 players designated as Cutters
– Work in the middle of the field
– Generally attempt to get open with underneath cuts (towards
the handlers) and then make passes to Deeps
• Deep
– 2 players designated as Deeps
– Try to stretch the defense with deep cuts towards endzone and
catch hucks from long throwers
– Get in position with continuing cuts to catch throws from
Team Offense – Vertical
• The Vertical Stack Offense is the most basic one in ultimate
(there are others)
– Team stands in a line facing the thrower about fifteen yards
away from the disc and stretches away from the thrower.
– The stack is usually parallel with the sidelines and in line with
the disc.
– However, if the disc is near the sidelines, the stack will be
angled diagonally across the field to give room to make cuts to
the open (non-Force) side
• Players take turns cutting one at a time from the stack into
open spaces
– Cutting to the open side is often the easiest space for thrower
to reach
– Break side cuts can also work, either by a thrower getting past
the Force or by making a lateral throw across the field first
(called a swing) and then throwing to the break side cutter
– It is extremely important for cutters to quickly run out of the
open area if they do not receive the disk (clearing out)
Vertical Stack Diagram
Defense – Marking the
• When the person you are guarding has the disc, you need to try to
prevent them from throwing to open receivers, so run to run up to
them and start forcing and begin the Stall Count.
• The thrower has ten seconds to get rid of the disc
– Say “Stall one…stall two…stall three…” up to stall ten (one second per stall
– As soon as you say the “t” in “ten” and they still have the disc, yell “Stall!”
and the disc now belongs to your team.
• As team, we try to force them to throw to only one side of the
field. This is called “forcing the thrower”.
– Do this by standing slightly in front of and to one side of the thrower. Hold
your hands out down low and be in an athletic position ready to react.
– This makes it easy for them to throw to the open side - that’s the plan.
– Before the point began, everyone on your team agreed to force the
throwers to a chosen side of the field.
– Since everyone on defense knows where the throws will be going, they
know where the offence will want to run. If everybody sticks to the plan,
defense is much easier.
• Since ultimate is a non-contact sport, when you are forcing the
Marking Diagram
Defense – Guarding the
• Stay with your mark and don’t let them catch the disc.
– Go wherever they go and also try to keep an eye on the person with
the disc.
– If a flying disc comes near you, try to catch it or knock it down.
– Run. If he is running away from you, focus on his back and run. If he
faked you out and are going the other way, run after him. If your team
turned it over and now your mark is gone, go run to get him.
• Know where your mark is. If you don’t, they’re probably gone.
• Stand on your toes. Keep your feet moving. If your mark gets the jump on
you, they’re halfway to being open.
• Know where the force is. This will tell you where your mark is likely to cut.
• Know where the disc is. This will tell you where the throw will be coming
• Stay between your mark and the disc if not last defender back.
• If your mark is last in the stack, stand behind him. This allows you to get
the jump on any huck (deep throw) plays.
• When outnumbered, mark the person closest to your endzone. If there has
been a quick turnover or the other team has hucked it, your defense will
often be outnumbered. You have to decide which person to mark.
Team Defense - Forcing
• Forcing defense objective is to limit the area that a defense needs to
• Force Side is a designated area of the field that you are letting your
opponents throw to.
– We usually call one side “Home” (where your team’s stuff and
substitutes are located) or “Away” (the opposite side to home)
• Most crucial aspect of the force is the person marking the player with
the disc
– Thrower should be forced to the "Open" side, making it more
difficult to throw to the "Break" side (called "breaking" the force).
• The next important ingredient to the force are the other defenders
marking the rest of the players.
– Because you know where the player is being "forced" to throw,
defenders can place themselves in this area to make it harder for
offensive players to cut.
– In general, all defenders should be positioned in the "Open side"
in between their opponent and the disc, the only exception is with
the last defender (deepest or closest to the endzone), who should
Other Resources
• Example of an ultimate game:
– Seattle Sockeye vs. Japan’s Buzz Bullets
– 2007 College Championships – Wisconsin vs. Colorado