** Much of this information is pulled from Wikipedia under the topic 'Ultimate (sport)'

Ultimate - also known as 'Ultimate Frisbee' -- is a low-contact team sport played with a flying disc (Frisbee).  A regulation outdoor game is played 7v7 with substitutions allowed between points (and for injuries).  Games are typically played to a points limit of 13, 15, or 17 and/or to a time limit of 75, 90, or 100 minutes (depending on the tournament or match).  Ultimate was developed in 1968 by a group of students at Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey.

Ultimate is played on a field similar in size to a football or soccer field.  The overall field length is 110 yards with 20 yard end zones and a 70 yard field.  The field is 40 yards wide.


A point is scored when one team catches the disc in the opposing team's end zone.

Each point begins with both teams lining up on the front of their respective end zone line. Standing beyond the end zone line before the disc is thrown by the defense (a "pull") to the offense is known as an "offsides" violation. A regulation grass outdoor game has seven players per team. In mixed ultimate, usually it is 4-3, meaning either 4 men and 3 women at a time or 4 women and 3 men on the line. The offensive end zone dictates whether there are more men or women. This end zone is called the 'gen-zone', short for gender zone.

To score goals, the players of each team try to get the possession of the flying disc (without making physical contact with players), pass it from one teammate to the other, save it from the opponents till it is carried all the way towards their (opponents’) end zone or goal area. Each end-zone lies at each end of the court.

In ultimate, there is no concept of intentional vs. unintentional fouls: infractions are called by the players themselves and resolved in such a way as to minimize the impact of such calls on the outcome of the play (sometimes resulting in "do-overs" where the disc is returned to the last uncontested possession), rather than emphasizing penalties or "win-at-all-costs" behavior. If a player disagrees with a foul that was called on them, they can choose to "contest" the infraction. In many instances, a conversation ensues between both parties involved in the foul, and a verdict is determined as to whether the disc will be returned and a "do-over" will commence, or if the person guilty of the foul has no objections to the call. A common infraction, intentional or not, is a "pick" where the offense (or your own team member even) is somehow in the way of your pursuit of your "person" in person defense. This only applies when you are within 10 feet of your "person" and the game play is stopped so that the players involved go back to where the "pick" occurred. The integrity of ultimate depends on each player's responsibility to uphold the spirit of the game.

The player holding the disc establishes a pivot point (i.e. they cannot run with the disc, just step out from a single point). They have up to three steps to slow down after catching a disc, without changing direction, to establish that pivot point. A violation of this is called a "travel". The disc is advanced by throwing it to teammates. If a pass is incomplete, it is a "turnover" and the opposing team immediately gains possession, playing to score in the opposite direction. Passes are incomplete if they are caught by a defender, touch the ground (meaning defenders need only knock the disc out of the air to gain possession), or touch an out-of-bounds object (including the ground, or an out-of-bounds player). Once possession of the disc is obtained, however, it cannot be forced out of the throwers possession before it leaves their hand. A common infraction of this nature is called a "strip", in which one player feels that they had enough possession of the disc to stop its rotation before it was taken out of their hand. However, if a player jumps from in bounds, catches, and then throws the disc while in the air and technically out of bounds, the disc is still in play and can be caught or defended by players on the field. This feat of athleticism and precision is highly praised, and dubbed "Greatest."

To score goals, the players of each team try to get the possession of the flying disc (without making physical contact with players), pass it from one teammate to the other, save it from the opponents till it is carried all the way towards their (opponents’) end zone or goal area.  Each end-zone lies at each end of the court.

Ultimate is non-contact. Non-incidental, play-affecting, or dangerous physical contact is not allowed. Non-incidental contact is a foul, regardless of intent, with various consequences depending on the situation and the league rules. Incidental contact, like minor collisions while jumping for the disc or running for it can be acceptable, depending on the circumstances. Parameters like who has the "right" for the relevant space, who got the disc etc. will determine whether a foul has been committed or not. Attitudes can vary between leagues and countries, even if the letter of the rule remains the same.

Contact is also disallowed for the defender marking the offense player with the disc, and there are further restrictions on positions this defender can take in order to minimize incidental contact.

Defending against the person who has the disc is a central part of the defensive strategy (colloquially "marking"). The defensive "marker" counts aloud to 10 seconds, which is referred to as "stalling". If the disc has not been thrown when the defending player reaches 10, it is turned over to the other team. "Stall" can be only be called after the defender has actually counted the 10 seconds.  

In order for the "mark" to be considered as counting all the way to ten, the thrower must throw the disc before the mark is able to say the "T" in the word ten. If the mark is accused of counting too fast (called a "fast-count"), then the thrower can call a violation, in which the mark then has to subtract two seconds from their previous stall count. There can only be one player defending in a 3 meters (9.8 ft) radius around the person who has the disc unless that player is defending against another offensive player. The marker must stay one disc's diameter away from the thrower and must not wrap their hands around the thrower, or the person with the disc can call a foul ("wrapping").

Ultimate is predominantly self-refereed, relying on the on-field players to call their own infractions and to try their best to play within the rules of the game. It is assumed that players will not intentionally violate the rules and will be honest when discussing foul calls with opponents. This is called Spirit of the Game. 

After a call is made, the players should agree on an outcome, based on what they think happened and how the rules apply to that situation. If players cannot come to agreement on the call's validity, the disc can be given back to the last uncontested thrower, with play restarting as if before the disputed throw.

Each point begins with the two teams starting in opposite end zones. The team who scored the previous point are now on defense. The teams indicate their readiness by raising a hand, and the team on defense will throw the disc to the other team. This throw is called a "pull". When the pull is released, all players are free to leave their end zones and occupy any area on the field. Both teams should not leave the end-zone before the pull is released. Thus, the defending team must run most of the field length at speed to defend immediately, and a good pull is designed to hang in the air as long as possible to give the defending team time to make the run.


Common Concepts and Terms . . .

Assist (or goal-assist)
To throw the disc to a player who catches it in the endzone for a score.
To make a play on a disc, usually by diving, jumping or performing some other athletic movement.
To both cause the turnover and score the point.
When the pull goes out of bound, play starts at the sideline or the brick mark located in the center of the field 20 yards in front of the goal line the receiving team is defending. The offensive player picking up the disc signals that she or he wants to play from the brick mark by clapping hands above head.
A defensive player catches the disc in the far end endzone while defending. This yields an immediate score for the defending team (akin to an own goal in other sports), as this endzone is their endzone to score in.
A player extends her or his body horizontally towards the disc, ending up lying on the ground usually. This can happen offensively to catch a far or low disc, or defensively to hit the disc and force a turnover.
Getting the defense or turnover.
A player jumps to out of bounds for the disc, and while in the air throws back the disc to be caught inside the field of play.
To throw the disc a long distance.
One player obstructs or screens a defensive player, preventing them from placing an effective guard on the player they are marking. Picks are generally accidental, and the player causing the pick may be an offensive or defensive player.
To grab the disc in the air over the opponent.
To throw the disc to the ground forcefully after scoring; borrowed from American Football.