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About Ultimate Frisbee (Ultimate Disc)

Ultimate Disc (usually known as Ultimate, or Ultimate Frisbee) is a unique blend of soccer and football. It parallels soccer’s adept and cunning passing while utilizing football’s process of scoring into an endzone. Each team plays with seven on the field at a time. When a player catches the disc, he/she cannot run and must establish a pivot foot. Turnovers occur when the disc is knocked down, intercepted, dropped, or thrown out of bounds. The ‘ultimate’ goal is to pass the disc to a teammate across the endzone line. The long, majestic throws can make for athletic and stunning plays.


The sport of Ultimate is on the rise. Growing participation rates consistently rank the sport as one of the fastest growing team sports in the United States. According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, there are currently more people playing Ultimate Frisbee than Rugby and Lacrosse combined. In 2012, there were a reported 5.1 million participants, including 1.48 million core participants, meaning those that played more than 12 times per year. Ultimate is among the most popular team sports in America and has more core participants than beach volleyball, lacrosse, rugby, and field hockey.


The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) plays games on a field that is 53 1/3 yards wide and 120 yards long (80 yard long playing surface with 20 yard end zones). Games are timed with four 12-minute quarters and a 15-minute halftime. If the score is tied after regulation time ends, a five minute overtime period will be played. If the score is still tied, a first-goal-wins scenario plays out during the second overtime.


Here are some basic rules that guide an AUDL game:

1. Field – The playing field is 53.3 yards wide by 80 yards long, with 20 yard long endzones on either end.
2. Game Format – The game is divided up into four quarters, each being 15 minutes in duration. If score is tied after regulation play, there is a 5-minute overtime period played until time runs out.
3. Initiating Play – Players line up on their respective endzone lines. The team that wins the coin toss can elect to pull (throw) or receive the disc to start the game. The pulling team initiates play by pulling the disc to the receiving team. In American football, this resembles the opening kickoff.
4. Gameplay – The offense advances the disc down the field by passing to each other. Players cannot run when they have possession of the disc. A player who receives the disc must bring themselves to a stop and establish a pivot foot.
5. Team Possession – For a good catch, players must stop rotation and maintain possession of the disc through contact with the ground while in-bounds. Turnovers result from errant throws out-of-bounds, incomplete passes, and drops. Additionally, the defense may gain possession by deflecting or intercepting an offensive throw.
6. Scoring – Goals are scored when an offense player catches a pass in the opponent’s endzone. Only one point of contact in the endzone is needed to verify a goal (similar to College Football rules) Players must signal readiness to play the next point 40 seconds after the score.
7. Substitutions – Teams may substitute players in the time between a goal and the following pull, on timeouts, or if an injury occurs.
8. Infractions – Offensive and defensive infractions can occur during gameplay. Penalties range from turnovers to yardage penalties to personal fouls.
9. Officiating – Four AUDL-certified and trained referees will be on field at all times, in various locations, to call infractions and give penalties.