Finding somewhere to play Ultimate, and a bunch of people to play it with, is the number one issue for new players in London. Here's a guide to finding yourself a game.
"Pickup" is a term for a regular practice where anyone is welcome to show up and join in. Going along to pickup is a great way for new players to get a taste of the game, and a few years ago there were several very well-attended pickup games in London. But paradoxically, with the growth of Ultimate in London, there is less pickup as players have formed more teams. Most practices are now "team" practices.
Confusingly, some of these team practices are "open", meaning anyone can play, including non-team members. Admittedly, it's a subtle distinction between this and pickup!
The London Teams and Practices List includes details of both pickup games and team practices.
Of course, you can always start your own pickup game. Just get some friends together, find somewhere to play, then advertise your game on the mailing list and forum and try to encourage other local players to come along. Don't forget to add your pickup game to the teams and practices list.
The lone novice player could do worse than find a team practice to go along to regularly. It's polite to check with the team's organiser first rather than simply showing up and hoping to get a game. You will also need to check because the times and locations of team practices can change at short notice. For instance, if the team is away at a tournament, a weekend practice may be cancelled.
Again, check out the list of London teams.
It is important to choose a team practice that is suitable for novice players. There is little point asking whether you can attend a Clapham Ultimate or Fire Of London practice if you have never played before (Clapham and Fire are two of the top Ultimate teams in Europe). The team list tells you whether practices are suitable for beginners. You can also get an idea of the relative skill level of teams by looking at Tour, Winter and Summer League results. Try the UKUA website for Tour results, and the Summer and Winter League sites for recent league placings.
Keep an eye on the London League mailing list and the London Ultimate Forum, as teams will occasionally advertise for new players.
There is of course an alternative to hitching a ride with an existing team, and that is to start your own. See our guide to starting your own team.
We occasionally organise introductory sessions specifically for new players, where experienced players will show you the ropes and get you started. Make sure you keep an eye on the mailing list and Forum to be sure you don't miss these sessions.