Articles about the rules of the game

The Sport of Ultimate Explained

What is Ultimate? How does the sport work?

Wikipedia ‘defines’ Ultimate as a team sport played with a flying disc. The object of the game is to score points by passing the disc to a player in the opposing end zone, similar to an end zone in American football. Players may not run with the disc, and must keep a pivot while holding the disc.

As with trying to understand any new sport, it is important to wrap your head around the basic rules. I’ll try to keep it succinct for the sake of the broader audience. The best way for anyone new to learn and interpret the rules is to get out on the field and start playing the game.

Intro to Ultimate Frisbee Video

If you’ve ever had someone ask you what ultimate frisbee is, and I know we all have, show them this video.

Although I do compete in dog disc competitions with Davy Whippet (and we currently hold 2 Guinness World Records together) it’s true that ultimate frisbee is not played with dogs.

But I encourage you to take the opportunity to educate someone when they ask you “is ultimate where you throw to a dog” or “do you play by yourself or with other people”?

Official Rules of Ultimate

If you live and play in North America, official rules are here:

If you play anywhere else in the world, the WFDF official rules of ultimate:

Here is a quick summary of the rules:
  1. The Field: A rectangular shape with end zones at each end. A regulation field is 70 yards by 40 yards, with end zones 25 yards deep.
  2. Initiate Play: Each point begins with both teams lining up on the front of their respective end zone line. The defense throws (“pulls”) the disc to the offense. A regulation game has seven players per team.

USA Ultimate College Championships – Too Many Calls Being Made

As the title alludes to, there was too many calls being made during the USA Ultimate College Open Championships between Florida and Carleton (which Florida won fyi). In typical college ultimate fashion, there was a lot of hucks, a lot of d’s and a lot of calls.

Which leads me to the topic of this post – the calls.

The game had 4 observers, who were making active calls like line, down disc and stall count violations. However, they were also stepping in when they felt that the the play was going to get out of hand. Which I think is cool. Don’t want the game to escalate and have fights happen.

Rule of the Week – Calling a Strip

With the 11th edition, a strip changed a bit in the rules; namely that it’s now considered a foul. What this means to the average player is that you can contest a strip; however, where you are on the field will help determine what happens when a strip is called. First, let’s take a look at the actual rule from the 11th Edition rules website (

  1. Fouls (II.E): It is the responsibility of all players to avoid contact in every way possible.
    4. Strip: If a defensive player initiates contact with the disc after an offensive player has gained possession of the disc, and the offensive player loses possession as a result, it is a strip. A strip is a subset of fouls and is treated the same way

Receiving Fouls – The Principle of Verticality

Lots of players don’t realize that they are entitled to the vertical space above them when the disc is in the air. And for those who do know about the principle of verticality, many aren’t always clear on how to know if a foul has been committed.

First, it’s important to understand what the principle of verticality is and then it’s important to understand how to interpret the rule in order to determine if a foul has been committed.

According to the USA Ultimate 11th Edition Rules,

b. Receiving Fouls:

Rules of Ultimate Frisbee – USA Ultimate 11th Edition

For the complete rules of ultimate, you can go to the UPA website here:

I’m going to be adding a writeup each week on a rule I choose but feel free to comment or write me a message asking me about a specific rule that you’re not sure about. If I have enough requests I might make a video explaining the rule in more detail!

Rule of the Week – Traveling

Everyone has traveled – but how many times are they called on it? When is a good time to call a travel on someone? When is a bad time to call a travel on someone? These are all important questions but it’s important to understand what a travel is before you call it on someone.

The USA Ultimate 11th Edition describes a travel as:

J. Traveling: The thrower must establish a pivot at the appropriate spot on the field and keep all or part of the pivot in contact with that spot until the throw is released. Failure to do so is a travel and results in a stoppage of play and a check.