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 How to Play Ultimate

Ultimate is a game similar to American Football or Rugby that is played with a 175 gram flying disc. The object of the game is to score points by passing the disc to a player in the opposing end zone. Players may not run with the disc, but can pivot on one foot before throwing to another player.  Originally known as Ultimate Frisbee, this game is now simply referred to as Ultimate.

 What You Need

  • 2 Teams
  • 7+ Players per Team
  • 175g Ultimate Disc
  • Large field.  Regulation is 70 yards by 40 yards, with end zones 25 yards deep.

Basic Ultimate Rules

Divide teams evenly, then decide who will start on Offense/Defense (coin flip).  Each team should only have 7 players on the field at at a time, but the game can obviously be played with less people if you have a smaller group.


Play begins with the Defensive team fully within their end zone, and the Offense lined up on their front end zone line. Any Player from the Defense throws (“pulls”) the disc toward the other team to begin play.  Each point will start this way, which is akin to a Kickoff in American Football.  A Pull thrown out of bounds may be placed at the sideline where it went out, or in the center of the field where it went out.

Once an Offensive Player catches or picks up the disc, the player must come to a stop and plant one foot until throwing the disc to another player (no hand-offs). The Disc may be advanced in any direction. The Thrower has 10 seconds to throw the disc, and this “Stall Count” is announced, 1 through 10, by the nearest Defensive Player (the Marker). If all 10 seconds are called out, this is a Stall, and the Defense becomes the Offense, taking possession of the disc at the current spot.  Possession also changes in the case of an incomplete pass, a dropped pass, a knocked down pass by the Defense, or an interception by the Defense. If the Offense makes a throw that goes out of bounds, the Defense takes possession of the disc on the sideline where the disc went out of bounds.

Play is continuous until a score is made, with the exception of stoppages for Fouls or injuries. Substitutions may only be made between points and injuries.


Fouls may be called when Players interfere with another Player physically.  If the Foul is caused by the Defense, the 10 second Stall count is generally reset, and play continues.  If the Foul is caused by the Offense, the Disc changes possession.  Ultimate is self-refereed, so the Player who accused of the foul is given the opportunity to contest or accept the call. If disagreement over a call cannot be resolved the play is repeated.


A goal is scored when a team completes a pass to a Player located in the Defensive End Zone, and is worth one point.  After a Goal, the teams switch directions and the scoring team Pulls.  The first team to score 15 points is the winner.  The winning team must win by 2 points, or be the first to reach 17 points.

Spirit of the Game.

The Spirit of the Game is an important concept for Ultimate, and should always be considered during play. Ultimate’s self-officiated nature demands a strong spirit of sportsmanship and respect.   Sportsmanship, respect for other players, fair play, and having fun are considered central aspects of play even when competition becomes intense.

House Rules.

These rules give a basic outline for playing Ultimate, but don’t let that hold you back.  If you want to change a rule, add a rule, play with more or less people… by all means, do it!  The Ultimate goal is to have fun.