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Things to Know About Playing Ultimate Frisbee

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Do you want to meet new people at college? Do you want to try something new? Then Ultimate Frisbee is for you. It is a good way to meet new people, especially if you’re an incoming freshman. The sport is also a great way to get in shape while still having fun.

I had never heard of Ultimate Frisbee until I discovered that my college had a league. I wanted to meet new people and try something different. I quickly discovered that Ultimate Frisbee was a good way to do so. When I went out to practice, I wasn’t the only person new to the sport. Ultimate Frisbee is a continuous learning process, but here are some things you’ll need to know.

1) The rules of Ultimate Frisbee are similar to basketball and football. There is an end zone like football. Once you stop running you can only move one foot or you will be called for traveling as in basketball.

2) Typically the game is played with seven people. Three are called handlers. They are usually more skilled at catching and throwing. The other four are called cutters. They move back and forth vertically between the end zone and the handlers. Their job is to get open for the handlers and to pass the disc onto other players up the field.

3) In Ultimate Frisbee cleats are a must have. Soccer or softball ones work. Running back and forth with tennis shoes can only lead to embarrassing yourself as you land in front of a cute guy (or girl). Tennis shoes don’t have enough traction and easily slide on the grass. Cleats give you the “grip” you need while sprinting back and forth to your team’s handler.

4) In order to make sure one person does not keep hold of the Frisbee for too long, a stall count is required. Each defender will count “Stall one, stall two…” etc. until reaching ten. By then the person is required to pass the disc on.

5) When the offense passes the disc and it hits the ground that is called a turn. The defending team quickly switches to offense. Turns are very frequent in Ultimate Frisbee.

6) An important thing in ultimate is to be ready to run because you run. A lot. The best way to get ready for Ultimate Frisbee is to do conditioning. Focus on exercise that will help to build up your endurance. I recommend conditioning with others in order to keep you motivated.

7) There’s only one way to throw a disc, right? Wrong. The backhand (the way most people know to throw) and the flick are the two most commonly used ones.

a) The backhand is when you pull the disc into your chest and then extend your arm out, throwing the disc. Your thumb will be on the top part of the disc while the rest of your fingers will be under the disc. Make sure to tighten your core when throwing. It allows for more strength and distance in your throw.

b) The flick is a difficult technique to perfect. Hold the disc in your throwing hand and place your middle finger and pointer finger on the inside of the disc’s rim. Then, place your thumb on the upper part of the disc. You should be gripping the disc between your thumb, middle finger, and your pointer finger. It helps to press your middle finger and thumb tightly against the disc. When throwing flick let the disc hang limp. Do not worry about holding it out horizontally. Trust me, doing so will only cause your disc to turn at an angle. The disc will naturally even out. Like with the backhand, it helps to tighten your core while throwing. Use your middle finger to push the disc out to your throwing partner. I am still learning how to flick properly. Days go by between practice and it’s like learning all over again. But, eventually it will become like second nature.

8) The best way to catch a Frisbee is to “pancake” which means you catch the disk closer to your body (near your chest). You will place one hand on top of the oncoming disk and one below it. This will trap the disk between your hands. It is a much more reliable way to catch the disk rather than trying to grasp it with one hand.

So, if you’re interested in learning something different and want to meet new people, I suggest trying out Ultimate Frisbee. The people I have met are very laid back and welcoming. So, don’t worry about looking like a newb when you get out there because the older players will be excited to teach you the rules and spread the love of Ultimate Frisbee. The first thing to do is check out your school’s website to see if there’s a team. If there isn’t, Facebook is a great way to look up nearby teams.


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About KJ

  • For UK readers in the North West (Manchester) we’re a friendly Ultimate club that welcomes new members or people that just want to give it a go!