Ultimate - the basics

Ultimate is a fast-moving team sport enjoyed by thousands the world over. Although frequently compared to sports like soccer or American Football, Ultimate has some unique features that set it apart. There are no referees. The rules are simple, but the strategies are complex. And it's played with a flying disc.

Simple rules overview

Ultimate is a game for two teams of seven, played on a field similar in size to a football pitch. The last 18 metres at either end of the field are the "endzones". A goal is scored when you throw the disc to a member of your team standing (or more likely running) in the endzone your team is attacking.

Players cannot run with the disc. When a player catches the disc, they must come to a stop. A team can therefore only move the disc upfield by throwing it from player to player.

The defending team takes possession if the disc touches the ground, or if they make an interception by catching the disc or knocking it to the ground in mid-flight. The game is non-contact. When contact between players does occur, it may be deemed a foul.

The winner is the first team to reach a previously decided number of goals, typically fifteen or seventeen.

Fair play

There are no referees in Ultimate. The players make their own foul calls and settle disputes according to procedures laid out in the Rules of Ultimate. Upholding the principles of fair play and “Spirit of the Game” during competition becomes a challenging responsibility for players and is one of the defining aspects of the sport.

Broad appeal

Ask five different players why they love Ultimate and you'll get five different answers. Many players enjoy the physical and tactical challenges of Ultimate. Others are attracted by the unique qualities that self-refereeing brings to the sport. Some just love to throw a disc. But all would agree on the lasting friendships they have made playing Ultimate.

The sport exists at a range of different levels, from casual pickup games and city-based leagues (like our Summer and Winter Leagues) to national and international tournaments. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced player, just getting into sport or super-fit, there's something to suit you.

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