What Is a Stall in Ultimate Frisbee?

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Ultimate Frisbee involves a set of rules too. One of them is related to a term called stall. What is a stall in ultimate frisbee and how does it affect the game? This article will explain all you need to know about stall so that you are well knowledgeable come game time. 

What Is a Stall in Ultimate Frisbee?

A stall is when a player is holding the frisbee disc for too long without making any pass or plays. Once a certain time is reached without any activity, a violation is called resulting in the change of  possession. 

There are also rules that players must follow regarding a stall.  These rules can vary depending on the event organizers’ rules. Most tournaments and leagues follow the Wold Flying Disc Federation format. Although some tweaks to the rules may be necessary to cater to the players. 

Woman playing Ultimate Frisbee

Stall Count Rules From the WFDF

These are the set of rules regarding stall count in ultimate frisbee according to the World Flying Disc Federation standards:

  • The marker shall start the stall count on the thrower by saying the word “stalling” out loud. The marker shall count from one to ten and the interval between the start of every number should at least be one second. 
  • The marker needs to ensure that the stall count is communicated clearly to the thrower.
  • The marker can only start and continue the stall count when the following situations are established:
    • When the play is live or the thrower establishes a pivot foot after a turnover
    • When the marker is within three meters of the throwers pivot foot or its location if the thrower is not at the location
    • All the defenders are positioned legally (outside of the 3 meter zone of the thrower)
  • If the marker moves away from the three meter or a different player switches to defend, the stall count must be restarted back to “stalling” and then counting one. 
  • When a stoppage occurs, the stall count resumes and may have different count depending on the situation:
    • When there is a confirmed breach by the defense, the stall count goes back to “stalling one”
    • When there is a call that involves the thrower and a separate receiving breach, resulting to the return of possession to the thrower, the stall count is resumed based on the call involving the thrower.
    • When there’s a call that involves “the Check”, the stall count continues to where it started prior to the violation

Common Terms Used Related to Stall

There might be some terms that you will encounter related to stall when you play an actual game. It’s better to know them in advance so you won’t get confused when players suddenly say these words. 

Stall Count

Stall count refers to the counting of the marker, usually from one to ten, to track the time of how long the thrower is in possession of the disc. 

Stall Out 

Stall out refers to when the thrower is unable to release the disc from his hand at the start of the word ten. A turnover is committed by the thrower and a change of possession of happens. 

Playing frisbee in sunset

Contested Stall Out

Contested stall out occurs when there is confusion of the stall out call. Usually, it involves the thrower having his hands off the disc at the start of the word ten. Observers are usually asked for call confirmation to get the call right. 

Fast Count

Fast count refers to when the staller counts too fast. If it does happen, the marker can shout “fast count”. When this happens the first time, the staller goes back two counts and counts continuously. 

The second time it happens is automatically a foul. The play stops and the stall count restarts to zero after a check. 

Double Team

If two or more defenders come to the thrower within 3 meters, the thrower can call “double team”. There are exceptions to this. For example, if a defender is within the 3 meters of the thrower and is marking another offensive player. You can’t call this a double team. 

If a double team is called for the first time, the staller also goes back two counts and continues counting. If it happens for the second time, a foul is called and play stops. The stall will restart at zero after a check. 


A check is when the thrower waits for the marker to touch the disc to signal the start of play. There are some situations where a self-check can be done by touching the disc to the ground. 

Calls That Players Are Responsible For

MarkerCount from 1 to 10 and call for a stall
ThrowerContest the stall count by calling for a ”fast count”
ObserverIf requested, help to resolve a dispute

In Ultimate Frisbee, there are no referees. Therefore, players are responsible for learning  and understanding the rules. Players are also responsible for making a call and letting other players know about it. Here are some common calls that players call:

  • Contesting – players usually contest calls if they don’t agree with the initial call. Players then convene in order to make the right call. 
  • Stall count – as mentioned before, players, particularly defensive players or markers counts usually up to ten for the thrower to release the disc. 
  • Stall call – if the stall count reaches ten, the marker can call stall and can result in a turnover if the call is uncontested.

Related Questions

How Long Is the Stall in Ultimate Frisbee?

A ten-second stall is used in the majority of official ultimate frisbee games. However, some matches may modify their stall count. For instance, some players reduce the count to 5 in order to play at a faster tempo or to practice.

What Happens After a Stall Violation?

After a player commits a stall violation the frisbee will be returned to the opponent. However, no points are deducted or added, the only penalization is the change of possession of the frisbee.

Who Counts the Stall Count in Ultimate Frisbee?

The markers are responsible for establishing a stall count every time a player holds the frisbee for too long. If the player holds it for more than 10 seconds, the marker will call for a stall.


Stall is an integral part of playing ultimate frisbee. It’s part of the rules which you must learn as a player. I hope you have increased your knowledge about stall in ultimate frisbee and help you play the game better. 

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.