How to Play Ultimate Frisbee

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If you are looking for a fun, fast-paced, and athletic game to play with your friends or family, Ultimate Frisbee just may be the sport for you. Luckily, the game is fairly simple to play once you have a grasp of the rules. Keep reading to learn how to play Ultimate Frisbee with a few simple guidelines.

How to Play Ultimate Frisbee

Ultimate Frisbee is a fairly straightforward game. Like most other sports, such as soccer, football, or hockey, the objective of the game is to successfully score in the opposing team’s end zone.

An image of a person showing how to play ultimate frisbee

This can be done by passing the frisbee from teammate to teammate, and moving it down the field until it can be caught in the opposing end zone. However, it is important that rules are followed when passing and catching the frisbee. I will go into more detail about the rules of passing, catching, and scoring in this step-by-step guide on how to play Ultimate Frisbee.

  1. Make your teams
  2. Set up the field
  3. Learn the rules
  4. Pass the frisbee to your teammates
  5. Score in the opposite team’s end zone!

By following these five steps, you can easily have an Ultimate Frisbee game put together in a single afternoon. Keep reading for more details on each of the five steps.

Make an Ultimate Frisbee Team

An Ultimate Frisbee game can be put together with almost any number of players, so long as there is an even number of players on each team. The minimum number of players required is four (two players per team), simply because any fewer players would make it impossible to pass the frisbee!

Having five to seven players per team is the ideal number of Ultimate Frisbee players for a successful game. In competitive games, there are seven players on each side, though the team roster can contain more players than this. There are just only seven players allowed on the field for each team at a time.

Set Up an Ultimate Frisbee Field

In competitive Ultimate Frisbee, the game is usually played on soccer or football fields. The normal size for the field is at least seventy by forty yards (70 x 40), with the end zones being twenty yards (20).

With that being said, you can technically play Ultimate Frisbee on any size field. As long as you have clearly marked end zones for scoring, the size is not important outside of regulation play. This means that you can easily set up an Ultimate Frisbee game in a backyard or at a local park without worrying about carefully measuring the field.

An image of a person throwing a frisbee disc

Learn the Rules of Ultimate Frisbee

There are not too many rules of Ultimate Frisbee, so it is not too difficult to keep them in mind! Here are the most basic ones to get you started.

  • When you are in possession of the frisbee, you have 10 seconds to pass it.
  • You may not move while in possession of the frisbee.
  • When a pass is not completed (such as if it is dropped, intercepted, or goes out of bounds) defense immediately gains possession of the frisbee and becomes the offense.
  • A score is made when a pass is caught in the defensive end zone.
  • The game is played for 36 minutes long.

If you are interested in getting into competitive Ultimate Frisbee, there are a few more rules that you may want to learn, such as when players may be substituted and what constitutes a foul. However, these four basic rules are enough to get you started!

Pass the Frisbee to Your Teammates

According to USA Ultimate, the main United States Ultimate Frisbee organization, there are two main ways to pass the frisbee: backhand and forehand.

A backhand pass involves gripping the frisbee with your thumb on top and your four fingers wrapped around the bottom edge. Keeping the frisbee flat, you then swing your arm and snap your wrist to release the frisbee in the direction you wish to throw it.

For a forehand pass, you will spread your index and middle fingers into a V shape with your middle finger along the inside rim of the frisbee. Grip the top of the frisbee with your thumb. With your arm extended to the side, elbow bent, step out to the same side, and snap your wrist to release the frisbee in the direction you wish to throw it.

This video by Rowan McDonnell explains some of the most common throwing mistakes that beginners make when learning to throw forehand and backhand passes.

Score in the Opposing End Zone

To win a game of Ultimate Frisbee, you want to be on the team with the most points at the end of the game. To score, you must catch a pass in the defensive end zone. It is as simple as that! Try to position yourself further and further down the field as you catch passes from your teammates until you are able to place yourself in a goal scoring position.

Remember that you cannot move while holding the frisbee—the positioning must happen while you are waiting to catch passes.

An image of a person catching a frisbee disc

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Ultimate Frisbee a Contact Sport?

No, Ultimate Frisbee is not a contact sport. Tackling, pushing, or shoving of any kind will result in a foul.

What Kind of Frisbee Should I Use for Ultimate Frisbee?

You can technically use any frisbee for Ultimate Frisbee. However, a slightly heavier disc is usually used, because this allows for better control of the frisbee when passing it to teammates.

Are There Referees in Ultimate Frisbee?

No, there are no referees in Ultimate Frisbee. Players are responsible for acting as their own referees. This means that you are responsible for calling fouls, such as if a player makes contact with another player, runs while holding the frisbee, or takes longer than ten seconds to make a pass while in possession of the frisbee.

Players are also responsible for resolving their own disputes while in game. So, if one team calls a foul, there is no external party to resolve it—the players must do so on their own.

What Is “Spirit of the Game”?

“Spirit of the Game” is the foundation of the rules of Ultimate Frisbee. Basically, it means that the responsibility of conducting fair play is totally on the player. Although it is fun to be competitive while playing Ultimate Frisbee, it is more important to have fun.

It is also important that the players maintain respect toward one another at all times. While it is even encouraged by USA Ultimate to be competitive, they state that this should never come at the expense of players’ happiness and what they refer to as the joy of the game.


Since its invention, Ultimate Frisbee is a fun and fast-paced sport that makes for a great time with a group of friends.

To play, all you need is enough people to form two teams (ideally 4-14) and a decently-sized field where you can set up end zones. Then, pass the frisbee from teammate to teammate down the field until you can score in the defensive end zone. At the end of the game, the team with the most points wins!

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.