How to Play Ultimate Frisbee:

Rules, Strategies, Find a Team, and More!

In this guide you'll find everything you need to know about how to play ultimate frisbee. Whether you just need the basics like the rules and field dimensions, you want to learn some strategies and drills, you've come to the right place!

Ultimate Frisbee is a great sport that you can learn any time and play for life!

Ultimate Frisbee Rules

To play ultimate frisbee, you'll need to know some basic rules!

Field Size and Frisbee: A normal grass field is 70 yards by 40 yards with a endzone that is 20 yards deep. A standard disc is 175g. Most people use a white Discraft Ultrastar model disc to play ultimate frisbee.

Starting the Point: Each point begins with each team starting on their own endzone line. The point starts when one team pulls (this is what the throw-off in ultimate frisbee is called) the disc to the other team. The receiving team can either catch the pull or let it drop to the ground and pick it up. The team on offense advances the disc up the field by throwing to their teammates until they get to the endzone.

Scoring: You score by passing the disc to a teammate in the endzone you're attacking like in football (USA football).

Turnovers: You can intercept the disc any time the disc is in the air. If the disc is intercepted or the frisbee touches the ground or is dropped by the intended receiver, it's a turnover. The other team gets the disc and tries to score in the other endzone.

Fouls: Ultimate frisbee is a non-contact sport. There may be some incidental contact like in basketball. But you cannot touch the arms or hands of the other team especially while they are throwing or catching. You also cannot tackle or push other players. Contact must be avoided. Setting picks or screens (like in basketball) is also not allowed.

Substitutions: Substitutions happen between points, not during a point. The exception is if there is an injury.


This should be enough to help you get started playing ultimate frisbee. There are a LOT of rules for frisbee for specific situations. We are working explaining the rules of ultimate frisbee in language that is easy to understand.

You can read the full rules for USA ultimate or the official rules for International ultimate to have a full understanding of ultimate frisbee rules in any situation.

Equipment for Ultimate Frisbee

To get started, all you need is a disc and 8 cones.

For most games, it's recommended that you take a white shirt and a dark colored shirt to the fields. You'll also want to take some water and a positive attitude!

Most players will use cleats, except in the most casual of pickup games. Soccer cleats are most common, with American football wide receiver cleats a popular option for some.

Learn more about your equipment options.

Ultimate Frisbee Leagues and Teams

If you want to play more ultimate frisbee, I highly recommend joining a league or a team! Most medium and large cities will have some sort of summer league nearby. Ultimate frisbee is great because you can meet new people and have fun playing even if you're just learning as an adult.

If you have a kid that wants to play frisbee, your local organization can likely help you find the best fit or help you and your kid start a new team if your school doesn't already have one.


How to Find an Ultimate Frisbee League Near You

 Almost every major city (and many smaller cities) in the US and Canada will have a local ultimate frisbee league. Get insider tips on how to find the right league for you.

Canada has some of the largest city leagues with thousands of players participating each year. In the United States you'll find the largest leagues in Madison Wisconsin, Philadelphia, and Washington DC.

The most common format for a local league is for players to sign up individually. Players are then assigned to a team at random or there may be a league draft. However, some leagues will allow or require you to sign up as a team.

The most popular time for local leagues is in the summer. Many places will also run fall and winter leagues.

Outside of the US and Canada, the definition of "league" is more like a soccer club model where various clubs will play other clubs in nearby cities. You can find leagues like this in Egypt, Germany, Colombia, and other places around the world.


Finding a Club Team

Once you are in an ultimate frisbee league run by a local ultimate frisbee organization, you will likely meet players who are also on club teams. A club team is a team that competes in tournaments against other teams. Tournaments happen on various weekends - usually April through October in North America. You can see some examples of club teams and their rankings here.

Club teams usually practice together. sometimes they practice during the week or they might practice on weekends. Most club teams in North America assemble themselves every year around April or May and then stop practicing at the end of the season in September or October. Club teams in the United States culminate their season with the Club Series which consist of Sectionals (where you need to play well enough to qualify for Regionals), Regionals (where teams fight for just a few spots to qualify for the Club Championship Tournament), and the USAU Club Championships.

Outside of US and Canada, you will likely find an Ultimate Club. A club will often include players of all genders and will form teams from the club to compete in open, women's, or mixed divisions of various tournaments. Clubs tend to practice most of the year. Players tend to switch clubs much less frequently than ultimate players switch teams in the US and Canada.


Professional Ultimate Frisbee Leagues

There are various semi-professional ultimate frisbee leagues around the world. However, only a handful of players earn enough from playing ultimate frisbee to do it as a full time job. In general, elite level club teams still represent the highest level of play in ultimate and it is slightly easier to make a professional ultimate team than it is to make the most competitive club team of the same city. 

Premier Ultimate League (PUL)

The Premier Ultimate League is a US league for women and nonbinary athletes. There are 12 ultimate frisbee teams in the league and they are based in the middle and eastern part of the US.

Western Ultimate League (WUL)

The Western Ultimate League consists of 7 teams in the Northwest and Southwest part of the United States. The WUL is a league for women and nonbinary athletes.

American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL)

The American Ultimate Disc League includes 24 teams in various cities in the US and Canada. The AUDL is primarily a men's league though folks of any gender can go to tryouts.


Get more in-depth information on our Ultimate Frisbee Leagues page

Ultimate Frisbee Positions

In ultimate frisbee, any player can play any position. The game is very fluid. Because the disc can move in any direction, and because there can be several changes of possessions during a point, every player needs to be a little bit competent at everything. However, some players tend to be better at throwing than others. And some players prefer to run more and get the disc in the endzone. So there are a few basic positions in ultimate.

On offense the two basic positions are handlers and cutters. 

Handlers will receive the pull, pick up a stopped disc, and mainly run the offense a little bit like a point basketball Except unlike a point guard, there will be 2-3 handlers on the field at once time.

Cutters will be further downfield toward the attacking endzone. They will usually be in some sort of stack formation.


On defense, if you're playing person-to-person defense you will either defend a handler or a cutter. Players with good agility and a good mark usually guard handlers. Players with more speed or more height often guard cutters.

Alternatively, your team may decide to play a Zone Defense in which there are many different positions.

Figure out which ultimate frisbee position is a best fit for you! Plus get diagrams that explain the Zone Defensive and Zone Offensive positions in ultimate frisbee. 

Strategy for Ultimate Frisbee

If you play in an organized league or in pickup that is above beginner level, you should expect to learn a few basic strategies for offense and defense.

Ultimate Frisbee Offensive Strategy

To have a  good offense, you need to be able to create enough space between your offensive players and the defense so that you can make an easy throw to the space your offensive players are cutting into. To make the job of offense easier, there are several common offensive formations.

These include Vertical Stack, Horizontal Stack, Split Stack, and Motion Offense.

Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each ot these offensive formations on our Ultimate Frisbee Strategy page. 

Ultimate Frisbee Defensive Strategy

The common ways to play defense in ultimate frisbee include person defense, zone defense, and clam defense. Everything else is just a variation on these themes. You'll also need to understand what a force is.

Learn the advantages and disadvantages of various ultimate frisbee defensive strategies.

Ultimate Frisbee Coaching!

Becoming an ultimate frisbee coach is requarding AND it helps to grow the sport of ultimate in both quantity and quality.

Learn the requirements for coaching ultimate around the world, how to plan a practice, and how to develop your own unique ultimate coaching philosophy on our Ultimate Frisbee Coaching page

Ultimate Frisbee Drills

The skills you'll need for ultimate frisbee include throwing, catching, marking, breaking the mark, cutting, defensive positioning, and much more. We have an ever-expanding list of drills we encourage you to visit. And if we don't have what you're looking for yet, please let us know!

Complete list of Ultimate Frisbee Drills
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Ultimate Frisbee Terms

Learn all the ultimate frisbee vocabulary you need so you can understand what's going on at your next game!

Read up on Ultimate Frisbee Terms

How to Throw a Frisbee

A collection of videos on the finder points of the biomechanics of frisbee throwing.

How to Throw a Frisbee

Ultimate Frisbee Workout Guide

Downloaded by over 1,000 ultimate frisbee players worldwide, this is the definitive resource on how to train for ultimate frisbee.

Ultimate Frisbee Workout Guide

Do You Want Ultimate Frisbee Coaching?

Maybe you recently started playing ultimate frisbee. Or maybe you just want to catch up to folks who have already had some ultimate frisbee coaching. I work with ultimate frisbee players who have big goals like making a club team for the first time or seeing how far they can go in their ultimate careers. If you'd like to be the best ultimate frisbee player you can be, let's talk!

Apply and Book a Call!