What is Ultimate?

Ultimate is a team sport played with a flying disc. The object of the game is to score points by passing the disc to a player in the opposing end zone, similar to an end zone in American football or the in-goal area in rugby. Players may not run with the disc, and must keep a pivot while holding the disc.

The basic rules of ultimate are as follows:

The two teams begin at opposite end zones and try to advance the disc to the other end zone. The disc is put into play by one team throwing off to the other team. This throw-off is called the pull. Once in play, the disc may be moved only by passing, so the player holding the disc must stay put (but may pivot on one foot). If a team successfully advances the disc into the end zone, that team scores a point, the teams swap directions, and the team that scored pulls to the other team.

If a pass is incomplete, intercepted, or caught out of bounds, the opposing team immediately gains possession and tries to move the disc in the other direction. Another way to change possession is that the player holding the disc, called the thrower, has a limited time to throw the disc: A defensive player within 25 cm – 1 feet of the thrower may loudly count to 10 (by seconds), and if the disc is not thrown by the ‘T’ of ten, the defense immediately gains possession. This defensive player is called the marker, and the audible count is called the stall count.

The game is played until an end condition is reached, typically a time limit or when one team reaches a certain number of points.

A regulation game features teams of 7 players each, with substitutions allowed between points. A USA Ultimate regulation field is 120 yards (110m) by 40 yards (37m), including end zones each 25 yards (23m) deep. In USA Ultimate Club Championship Series (2012) the endzone length was shortened to 20 yards (18m) to allow for consistency with WFDF rules used in international competition and to increase the number of field sites that can be used for ultimate.

For a better idea of what ultimate looks like, click here to check out some local HKUPA players in action.