ULTIMATE - The game, explained as simply as possible
Ultimate is played between two teams of seven players on a large rectangular pitch. A line drawn across the pitch at either end creates two “endzones” (like in American Football). These are the goal-scoring areas. A goal is scored when a team completes a pass to a player standing (or more likely running) in the endzone they are attacking.
Players cannot run with the disc. When you get the disc you must come to a stop and try to throw it to another player (a bit like netball). By passing from player to player, the offence attempts to work the disc up the pitch towards the endzone they are attacking. If the disc hits the ground or is intercepted or knocked down by the other team, then the opposition takes possession (a change of possession is called a “turnover”, like American Football). Possession also changes if a receiver is outside the playing area when he or she catches it.
The defending team attempts to stop the team with the disc from making progress upfield by marking them (as in soccer or basketball). The theory is that the offence won’t want to pass to a player who is being marked closely, as it’s likely to result in an interception. So it boils down to the offence players trying to get free of their markers to receive a pass, while the defence makes every effort to stay with them in the hope of forcing a turnover.
Fouls and “Spirit of the Game”
Ultimate is essentially non-contact; any contact between players can be declared a foul. There’s a variety of other minor violations, but that’s the big one.
Ultimate is unique in that it is refereed by the players themselves, even at World Championship level, according to a code of conduct known as “the Spirit of the Game”. This places the responsibility for fair play on the players themselves. In that respect, playing Ultimate is a completely different experience to playing other sports. And believe it or not, Ultimate’s system of self-refereeing works. Beautifully.
ULTIMATE - THE RULES
Ultimate in 10 simple rules
The Field — A rectangular shape with endzones at each end. A regulation field is 64m by 37m, with endzones 18m 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 offense.
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 encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players, adherence to the rules, and the basic joy of play.