so you got invited to play ultimate

January 13, 2016

I’ve played pickup ultimate frisbee at lunchtime for three years now, and one thing I’ve noticed is that we are always trying to invite our friends and coworkers to play. And those friends and coworkers while interested, rarely join us. I think one of the reasons is that they really don’t know what to expect. Maybe this post and some others I’m trying to write will be helpful in encouraging people to come out an play ultimate.

I’m still editing this. (1/14/2016)

Who play’s ultimate?

For the most part the people who play ultimate are pretty cool. Many games always need one or two extra players so that they can have two full terms of seven with a few extra subs so people can rest, and most of those people are just happy to introduce you to the thing they love doing. The game I play at has so many levels of play and is really so laid back that about half of the time we aren’t even keeping score. Also keep in mind the concept that sets ultimate apart, which is “The Spirit of the Game” and encourages everyone to essentially not be a jerk. That being said, there are many different levels of play and many different attitudes, but I do think a sincere effort to understand is always rewarded. I would think that the person who invited you to play sincerely wants you to enjoy the game, so they won’t be inviting someone who doesn’t know how to play to one of the more competitive games anyway.

Men and women play against each other in ultimate. Many women prefer to play against another woman for height and weight reasons, but there are many reasons a woman might prefer to mark up against a man. Its ok to ask the woman who she’d like to cover but in many cases she’s already put herself across from who she’d like to cover.

What will I need?

Whatever you’d wear to work out in is fine for ultimate. Both a black AND a white shirt so you can be on either team, a pair of shorts, running shoes, etc. If you have a pair of cleats, bring them. If you don’t perhaps you will want a pair after a few games.

Sunglasses, a sun visor, and a water bottle are a good idea to bring, too.

Where do these crazy people play?

Games usually are played at a local park on grass. The game will often rotate between a few fields to keep from tearing up the grass, so check the website or mailing list or with whoever invited you to confirm which field they might be playing at. During the winter months they may play at an artificial turf field. Check out websites pickup ultimate if you are looking for a game. Most games will have a mailing list and maybe a website where you can get more information.


Most of the games I know about are played during lunch hour, but some are played after work or on the weekends. Expect people to be out there for 1-2 hours for one to three games, but you can play a few points or just hang out and watch. If you show up early for a game people will be warming up the various types of throws and most will be happy to help you figure that part out, and will happily answer any questions you might have.


Running around and playing in the sunshine is really fun and a great workout. Playing in the rain is pretty cool, too. Challenging yourself and learning new skills is fun and rewarding. And you get to meet people.


I found this article below that will help with understanding how the game is played.

Ultimate in Ten Simple Rules

  1. The Field — A rectangular shape with endzones at each end. A regulation field is 70 yards by 40 yards, with endzones 25 yards deep.
  2. 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.
  3. Scoring — Each time the offense completes a pass in the defense’s endzone, the offense scores a point. Play is initiated after each score.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Substitutions — Players not in the game may replace players in the game after a score and during an injury timeout.
  7. Non-contact — No physical contact is allowed between players. Picks and screens are also prohibited. A foul occurs when contact is made.
  8. 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.
  9. Self-Refereeing — Players are responsible for their own foul and line calls. Players resolve their own disputes.
  10. 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.

– Steve Courlang and Neal Dambra
Copyright (c) Ultimate Players Association, 1993

By levanah