Ultimate (sport)

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Rooke bid.jpg
Highest governing body World Flying Disc Federation
Nicknames ultimate, ultimate frisbee, flatball, or frisbee
Team members grass: 7/team, indoor: 5/team, beach: 5/team
(sometimes fewer or more)
Mixed gender In some competitions and most leagues
Equipment flying disc (disc, frisbee)
Olympic No, but is included in World Games, also recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)[1]

Ultimate, originally known as ultimate frisbee, is a non-contact team field sport played with a flying disc. Points are scored by passing the disc to a teammate in the opposing end zone. Other basic rules are that players must not take steps while holding the disc, and interceptions, incomplete passes, and passes out of bounds are turnovers. Rain, wind, or occasionally other adversities can make for a testing match with rapid turnovers, heightening the pressure of play.

From its beginnings in the American counterculture of the late 1960s, ultimate has resisted empowering any referee with rule enforcement, instead relying on the sportsmanship of players and invoking the "spirit of the game" to maintain fair play. Players call their own fouls and dispute a foul only when they genuinely believe it did not occur. Playing without referees is the norm for league play, but has been supplanted in club competition by the use of "observers"/"advisers" to help in disputes, and the nascent professional leagues even employ empowered referees.

In 2012 there were 5.1 million ultimate players in the United States.[2] Ultimate is played across the world in pickup games and by recreational, school, club, professional, and national teams at various age levels and with open, women's, and mixed divisions. The most recent World Ultimate Club Championship was in Lecco, Italy in July 2014 where US teams took Gold in all three divisions. In 2016, the World Ultimate & Guts Championships will be held in London where teams will be composed of their nations best players.

Invention and early history

Team flying disc games using pie tins and cake pan lids were part of Amherst College student culture for decades before plastic discs were available. A similar two-hand touch football-based game was played at Kenyon College in Ohio starting in 1942.[3]

From 1965 or 1966 Emily Ganderton and fellow Amherst students Bob Fein, Richard Jacobson, Robert Marblestone, Steve Ward, Fred Hoxie, Gordon Murray, and others developed a team frisbee game based on concepts from American football, basketball, and soccer. This game had some of the basics of modern ultimate including scoring by passing over a goal line, advancing the disc by passing, no travelling with the disc, and turnovers on interception or incomplete pass. Ella, an instructor and dorm advisor, taught this game to high school student Joel Silver during the summer of 1967 or 1968 at Mount Hermon Prep school summer camp.[3][4]

Joel Silver, along with fellow students Jonny Hines, Buzzy Hellring, and others, developed ultimate beginning in 1968 at Columbia High School, Maplewood, New Jersey, USA (CHS). The first sanctioned game was played at CHS in 1968 between the student council and the student newspaper staff. Beginning the following year evening games were played in the glow of mercury-vapor lights on the school's parking lot. Initially players of ultimate frisbee (as it was known at the time) used a "Master" disc marketed by Wham-O, based on Fred Morrison's inspired "Pluto Platter" design. Hellring, Silver, and Hines developed the first and second edition of "Rules of Ultimate Frisbee". In 1970 CHS defeated Millburn High 43-10 in the first interscholastic ultimate game. CHS, Millburn, and three other New Jersey high schools made up the first conference of Ultimate teams beginning in 1971.[3][4][5][6][7][8]

Alumni of that first league took the game to their colleges and universities. Rutgers defeated Princeton 29-27 in 1972 in the first intercollegiate game. This game was played exactly 103 years after the first intercollegiate American football game by the same teams at precisely the same site, which had been paved as a parking lot in the interim. Rutgers won both games by an identical margin.[5]

Rutgers also won the first ultimate frisbee tournament in 1975, hosted by Yale, with 8 college teams participating. That summer ultimate was introduced at the Second World Frisbee Championships at the Rose Bowl. This event introduced ultimate on the west coast of the USA.[5]

In 1975, ultimate was introduced at the Canadian Open Frisbee Championships in Toronto as a showcase event. Ultimate League play in Canada began in Toronto in 1979. The Toronto Ultimate Club is one of ultimate's oldest leagues.[9]

In January 1977 Wham-O introduced the World Class "80 Mold" 165 gram frisbee. This disc quickly replaced the relatively light and flimsy Master frisbee with much improved stability and consistency of throws even in windy conditions. Throws like the flick and hammer were possible with greater control and accuracy with this sturdier disc. The 80 Mold was used in ultimate tournaments even after it was discontinued in 1983.[10]

Discraft introduced the Ultrastar 175 gram disc in 1981, with an updated mold in 1983. This disc was adopted as the standard for ultimate during the '80s, with Wham-O holdouts frustrated by the discontinuation of the 80 mold and plastic quality problems with discs made on the replacement 80e mold. Wham-O soon introduced a contending 175 gram disc, the U-Max, that also suffered from quality problems and was never widely popular for ultimate. In 1991 the Ultrastar was specified as the official disc for UPA tournament play and remains in wide use.[10][11][12]

The popularity of the sport spread quickly, taking hold as a free-spirited alternative to traditional organized sports. In recent years college ultimate has attracted a greater number of traditional athletes, raising the level of competition and athleticism and providing a challenge to its laid back, free-spirited roots.[13]

Players Associations

In late December 1979, the first national player-run ultimate organization was founded in the United States as the Ultimate Players Association (UPA). Tom Kennedy was elected its first director. Before the UPA, events had been sponsored by the International Frisbee Association (IFA), a promotional arm of Wham-O.[5]

The UPA organized regional tournaments and has crowned a national champion every year since 1979. Glassboro State College defeated the Santa Barbara Condors 19-18 at the first UPA Nationals in 1979.[5]

In 2010, the UPA rebranded itself as USA Ultimate.

The first European Championship tournament for national teams was held in 1980 in Paris. Finland won, with England and Sweden finishing second and third.[5] In 1981 the European Flying Disc Federation (EFDF) was formed.[5] In 1984 the World Flying Disc Federation was formed by the EFDF to be the international governing body for disc sports.[5] The first World Championships tournament was held in 1983 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Ultimate Canada is the national governing body in Canada. The first Canadian National Ultimate Championships were held in Ottawa 1987.[14]

The European Ultimate Federation is the governing body for the sport of Ultimate in Europe. Funded in 2009, it is part of the European Flying Disc Federation (EFDF) and of the World Flying Disc Federation.

In 2006, ultimate became a BUCS accredited sport at Australian and UK universities for both indoor and outdoor open division events. In 2012, Robert Knight captained Australia's National Frisbee team to the World Championship Final, coining a tactic now popularly referred to as the "reverse-double-double cheese stack", and inspiring a huge grass roots following.

The WFDF was granted full IOC recognition on 2 Aug 2015.[15] This allows the possibility for the organization to receive IOC funding and become an Olympic Game.[16]


Ultimate playing field

A point is scored when one team catches the disc in the opposing team's end zone.

A player cannot run with the disc - it may be moved only by passing. The player holding the disc must maintain a pivot point which does not "travel" throughout their possession. A team can advance the disc to the end zone they are attacking through any number of passes, including (but not limited to) one long throw to the end zone, or several shorter passes.

If a pass is incomplete, caught out of bounds, intercepted or knocked out of the air by the defense, it is a "turn over" and the opposing team immediately gains possession, trying to score in the opposite direction.

Ultimate is non-contact, meaning non-incidental physical contact is disallowed. Defenders must make clean interceptions on throws in order to get possession of the disc, and cannot take the disc from an offensive player who has secured a catch. Contact which is not incidental can prompt a foul call from a player, which stops the game.

The game is self-refereed, relying on the honesty of the players to call their own infractions, and to try to play within the rules of the game at all time. It is assumed no player will intentionally violate the rules, and will be honest when discussing calls with opponents - this is called Spirit of the Game. After a call is made, the players should decide on an outcome, based on what they think happened and how the rules apply to that situation. If a player has been fouled on a catch, they will often gain possession of the disc. If the players agree to disagree on a catching foul, the disc can be given back to the thrower, with play restarting as if the throw didn't occur.

Each point begins with the two teams starting in opposite end zones. The teams indicate their readiness by raising a hand, then the team who scored the previous point throws the disc to the other team, in a throw called the "pull". When the pull is released, all players are free to leave their end zones and occupy any area on the field.

A regulation outdoor game is played 7 vs 7 outdoors, with substitutions allowed between points and for injuries. Games are typically played to a points limit of 13/15/17 or a time limit of 75/90/100 minutes.

A WFDF [1] regulation field is 100 meters by 37 meters, including end zones each 18 meters deep.[17] A USA Ultimate regulation field is 120 yards (110 m) by 40 yards (37m), with end zones 25 yards (23m) deep.[18]

USA Ultimate vs. WFDF Rules

There are two formal sets of rules for ultimate. Mostly identical, but with slight changes.

  1. USA Ultimate rules [2]. Applies for USA and Canada.
  2. WFDF rules [3]. Used anywhere else including at the World Championships.

The differences can be found on the WFDF website [4]

Handling skills

Catching is done with one hand or both hands on the rim or hands simultaneously on the top and bottom sometimes referred to as a clap-catch. Care must always be taken in hand placement and making sure to catch on the proper side of the disc, according to which way the disc is spinning. One side will tend to spin out of your hand, while the other side will spin into your hand, making for a more secure catch. Many players avoid this problem by always catching with both hands when possible. The most popular throws used in a game of ultimate are backhand, sidearm/forehand, hammer and scoober. Being a deep threat with multiple throwing techniques and the ability to pass the disc before the defense has had a chance to re-set, is always optimal. Some players use a throw and catch freestyle practice to help improve their ultimate handling skills.[19]

Strategy and Tactics


The standard configuration for a vertical stack (offense and force/one-to-one defense)

Players employ many different offensive strategies with different goals. Most basic strategies are an attempt to create open lanes on the field for the exchange of the disc between the thrower and the receiver. Organized teams assign positions to the players based on their specific strengths. Designated throwers are called handlers and designated receivers are called cutters. The amount of autonomy or overlap between these positions depends on the make-up of the team.

Vertical stack

One of the most common offensive strategies is the vertical stack. In this strategy, a number of offensive players line up between the disc and the end zone they are attacking. From this position, players in the stack make cuts (sudden sprints) into the space available, attempting to get open and receive the disc. The stack generally lines up in the middle of the field, thereby opening up two lanes along the sidelines for cuts, although a captain may occasionally call for the stack to line up closer to one sideline, leaving open just one larger cutting lane on the other side. Variations of the vertical stack include the Side Stack, where the stack is moved to a sideline and one player is isolated in the open space, and the Split Stack, where players are split between two stacks, one on either sideline. In vertical stack offenses, one player usually plays the role of 'dump', offering a reset option which sets up behind the player with the disc.

Horizontal stack

Another popular offensive strategy is the horizontal stack. In the most popular form of this offense, three "handlers" line up across the width of the field with four "cutters" downfield, spaced evenly across the field. This formation encourages cutters to attack any of the space either towards or away from the disc, granting each cutter access to the full width of the field and thereby allowing a degree more creativity than is possible with a vertical stack. If cutters cannot get open, the handlers swing the disc side to side to reset the stall count and in an attempt to get the defense out of position. Usually players will cut towards the disc at an angle and away from the disc straight, creating a 'diamond' or 'peppermill' pattern.

Reverse double double cheese stack

A popular strategy among Australian players, the reverse double double was a strategy master minded by Robert Knight (Australian National Team captain (2012)). The strategy involves three handlers zigging in a northerly directions and two cutters zagging in a southerly direction. This formation creates confusion on the pitch as no player can be marked by any opposing team member. Another popular offensive strategy is the horizontal stack. In the most popular form of this offense, three "handlers" line up across the width of the field with four "cutters" downfield, spaced evenly across the field. This formation grants each zig and each zag open space and sandwich the disc in the end zone. The tactic was popularly used in the 2012 World Championship where he set a record three carries, 2 assists and 6 goals to win the game.

Hexagon / Mexican Offense

A more recent strategy being adopted by teams around the world is Hexagon Offence. Players spread out in equilateral triangles creating a Hexagon shape with one player (usually not the thrower) in the middle. They create space for each other dynamically, aiming to keep the disc moving by taking the open pass in any direction. This maximises options by changing the angles of attack rapidly, hoping to create and exploit holes in the defence. Whereas vertical and horizontal aim to open up space for individual yard-gaining throws (like American Football), Hex aims to score by generating and maintaining flow by keeping multiple players connected to the play (like Soccer) - perhaps due to its being founded in England.[20] Hex offence can be played against Zonal defence as well as man-to-man, unlike vertical stack.

Feature / German

A variation on the horizontal stack offense is called a feature, or German. In this offensive strategy three of the cutters line up deeper than usual (this can vary from 5 yards farther downfield to at the endzone) while the remaining cutter lines up closer to the handlers. This closest cutter is known as the "feature", or "German." The idea behind this strategy is that it opens up space for the feature to cut, and at the same time it allows handlers to focus all of their attention on only one cutter. This maximizes the ability for give-and-go strategies between the feature and the handlers. It is also an excellent strategy if one cutter is superior to other cutters, or if he is guarded by someone slower than him. While the main focus is on the handlers and the feature, the remaining three cutters can be used if the feature cannot get open, if there is an open deep look, or for a continuation throw from the feature itself. Typically, however, these three remaining cutters do all they can to get out of the feature's way.

Many advanced teams develop variations on the basic offenses to take advantage of the strengths of specific players. Frequently, these offenses are meant to isolate a few key players in one-on-one situations, allowing them more freedom of movement and the ability to make most of the plays, while the others play a supporting role.


The marker blocking the handler's access to half of the field. Tartu, Estonia.


Marking with a force

One of the most basic defensive principles is the "force". The defender marking the thrower essentially tries to force them to throw in a particular direction (to the "force side" or "open side"), whilst making it difficult for them to throw in the opposite direction (the "break side"). Downfield defenders make it hard for the receiving players to get free on the open/force side, knowing throws to the break side are less likely to be accurate. The space is divided in this way because it is very hard for the player marking the disc to stop every throw, and very hard for the downfield defenders to cover every space.

The force can be decided by the defence before the point or during play. The most common force is a one-way force, either towards the "home" side (where the team has their bags/kit), or "away". Other forces are "sideline" (force towards the closest sideline), "middle" (force towards the center of the field), "straight up" (the force stands directly in front of the thrower - useful against long throwers), or "sidearm/backhand" if you wish your opponents to throw a particular throw.

Man-to-man defense

The simplest defensive strategy is the man-to-man defense (also known as "one-to-one"), where each defender guards a specific offensive player, called their "mark". This defense creates one-to-one matchups all over the field - if each defender shuts out their mark, the team will likely earn a turn over. Often players will mark the same person throughout the game, giving them an opportunity to pick up on their opponent's strengths and weaknesses as they play.

Zonal defense

With a zonal defensive strategy, the defenders cover an area rather than a specific person. The area they cover varies depending on the particular zone they are playing, and the position of the disc. Zone defense is frequently used in poor weather conditions, as it can pressure the offense into completing more passes, or the thrower into making bigger or harder throws. Zone defence is also effective at neutralising the deep throw threat from the offense. A zone defense usually has two components - (1) a number of players who stay close to the disc and attempt to contain the offenses' ability to pass and move forward (a "cup" or "wall"), and (2) a number of players spaced out further from the disc, ready to bid on overhead or longer throws.

Hexagon / Flexagon defense

A third type of defense is Flexagon, which incorporates elements of both man-to-man and zone defense. All defenders mark a specific player at all times, however they look to switch marks frequently where appropriate - effectively meaning they are also responsible for covering space. Whether the defenders switch marks or switch the spaces they are covering must be decided dynamically, depending on the field of play.

Elements/types of Zonal defense:

Wedge or Force/Poach

The wedge is a configuration of two close defenders. One of them marks the handler with a force, and the other stands away and to the force side of the handler, blocking any throw or cut on that side. The wedge allows more defenders to play up the field but does little to prevent cross-field passes.

File:Three-man cup defense in ultimate.jpeg
An offensive player tries to play through a three-man cup defense during an informal game.

The cup involves three players, arranged in a semi-circular cup-shaped formation, one in the middle and back, the other two on the sides and forward. One of the side players marks the handler with a force, while the other two guard the open side. Therefore, the handler will normally have to throw into the cup, allowing the defenders to more easily make blocks. With a cup, usually the center cup blocks the up-field lane to cutters, while the side cup blocks the cross-field swing pass to other handlers. The center cup usually also has the responsibility to call out which of the two sides should mark the thrower, usually the defender closest to the sideline of the field. The idea of the cup is to force the offense into making many short passes behind and around the cup.


The "wall" sometimes referred to as the "1-3-3" involves four players in the close defense. One player is the marker, also called the "rabbit", "chaser" or "puke" because they often have to run quickly between multiple handlers spread out across the field. The other three defenders form a horizontal "wall" or line across the field in front of the handler to stop throws to short in-cuts and prevent forward progress. The players in the second group of a zone defense, called "mids" and "deeps", position themselves further out to stop throws that escape the cup and fly upfield. A variation of the 1-3-3 is to have two markers: The "rabbit" marks in the middle third and strike side third of the field. The goal is for the "rabbit" to trap the thrower and collapse a cup around him. If the rabbit is broken for large horizontal yardage, or if the disc reaches the break side third of the field, the break side defender of the front wall marks the throw. In this variation the force is directed one way. This variation plays to the strength of a superior marking "rabbit".

Electric Slide

The electric slide is wedge defense with the "wall" of a wall defense, also called a "2-4-1". In the electric slide, two players are up on the handlers. One player will mark the offensive player with the disc while the other player covers the dump. When the handler with the disc does dump, the two defensive players slide over to cover them in the same way. If the mark forces, the other defender only has to guard the dump on the side his teammate is forcing. The other players set up like a wall defense, with four players lined up across the field stopping cutters and one player to cover deep throws. This player in the back can call out cuts to the four in the wall to help them.

This defense works very well with forcing as long as the mark cannot be broken. But, this does give the offensive handler the opportunity to throw deep. If the offense is constantly completing long throws, the defense can adjust and move one person back in the wall to join the person covering deep; also called a "2-3-2".

Junk/Clam defense

A junk defense is a defense using elements of both zone and man defenses; the most well-known is the "clam" or "chrome wall". In clam defenses, defenders cover cutting lanes rather than zones of the field or individual players. The clam can be used by several players on a team while the rest are running a man defense. Typically, a few defenders play man on the throwers while the cutter defenders play as "flats", taking away in cuts by guarding their respective areas, or as the "deep" or "monster", taking away any deep throws.

This defensive strategy is often referred to as "bait and switch". In this case, when the two players the defenders are covering are standing close to each other in the stack, one defender will move over to shade them deep, and the other will move slightly more towards the thrower. When one of the receivers makes a deep cut, the first defender picks them up, and if one makes an in-cut, the second defender covers them. The defenders communicate and switch their marks if their respective charges change their cuts from in to deep, or vice versa. The clam can also be used by the entire team, with different defenders covering in cuts, deep cuts, break side cuts, and dump cuts.

The term "junk defense" is also often used to refer to zone defenses in general (or to zone defense applied by the defending team momentarily, before switching to a man defense), especially by members of the attacking team before they have determined which exact type of zone defense they are facing.

Spirit of the Game

A disputed foul was called by the Swedish player (in blue) after this attempted interception in the 2007 European Championship final between Great Britain and Sweden in Southampton, UK.

Although professional ultimate uses a refereed system in the USA, club ultimate is known for its “Spirit of the Game”, often abbreviated SOTG. Club ultimate's self-officiated nature demands a strong spirit of sportsmanship and respect.

In Europe and other countries, even top level play does not have referees. Some world championship games have had no referees, and disputes were decided by the players themselves.

"Observers" are used in some high level tournaments outside the USA. Disputes are handled by the players, but advisers step in if no agreement is reached. Some other hybrid forms of refereeing exist. In some settings, the advisers use a stopwatch to track the stall count and the defending players are not counting the stall.

The following description is from the official rules established by USA Ultimate:

Ultimate has traditionally relied upon a spirit of sportsmanship which places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of the bond of mutual respect between players, adherence to the agreed upon rules of the game, or the basic joy of play. Protection of these vital elements serves to eliminate adverse conduct from the ultimate field. Such actions as taunting of opposing players, dangerous aggression, intentional fouling, or other ‘win-at-all-costs’ behavior are contrary to the spirit of the game and must be avoided by all players.

Many tournaments give awards for the most spirited team, as voted for by all the teams taking part in the tournament.[citation needed]

While "spirit of the game" is a general attitude, Ultimate has an agreed upon procedure to deal with unclear or disputed situations[21]


Pick-up games

There are many types of pick-up. Often this consists of tournaments played outside the championship circuit, including hat tournaments, in which teams are selected on the day of play by picking names out of a hat. These are generally held over a weekend, affording players several games during the day as well as the chance to socialize at night. Pick-up leagues also exist, hosting weekly pick-up games that may be played on arbitrary week nights. In addition, less formal games of pick-up are frequent in parks and fields across the globe.

Hat tournaments

Hat tournaments are common in the ultimate circuit. At these tournaments players join individually rather than as a team. The tournament organizers form teams by randomly taking the names of the participants from a hat.

Many hat tournaments on the US west coast have a "Hat Rule" requiring all players to wear a hat at all times during play. If a player gains possession of the disc, yet loses his hat in the process, the play is considered a turnover and possession of the disc reverts to the other team. [5][6]

However, in some tournaments, the organizers do not actually use a hat, but form teams while taking into account skill, experience, sex, age, height, and fitness level of the players in the attempt to form teams of even strength. Many times the random element remains, so that organizers randomly pick players from each level for each team, combining a lottery with skill matching. Usually, the player provides this information when he or she signs up to enter the tournament. There are also many cities that run hat leagues, structured like a hat tournament, but where the group of players stay together over the course of a season.

Large tournaments are often organized with pool play on the first day and championship play on the second day. Teams in the lower half of play compete for the championship.

Current leagues

Regulation play, sanctioned in the United States by the USA Ultimate, occurs at the college (open & women's divisions), club (open, women's, mixed (co-ed), masters and grandmasters divisions) and youth (boys & girls divisions) levels, with annual championships in all divisions. Top teams from the championship series compete in semi-annual world championships regulated by the WFDF (alternating between Club Championships and National Championships), made up of national flying disc organizations and federations from about 50 countries.

Australia vs Canada ultimate players at WUGC 2012 in Japan. Ultimate Canada

Ultimate Canada is the governing body for the sport of ultimate in Canada.[22] Beginning in 1993, the goals of Ultimate Canada include representing the interests of the sport and all ultimate players, as well as promoting its growth and development throughout Canada. Ultimate Canada also facilitates open and continuous communication within the ultimate community and within the sports community and to organize ongoing activities for the sport including national competitions and educational programs.

Founded in 1986, incorporated in 1993, the Ottawa-Carleton Ultimate Association based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, claims to have the largest summer league in the world with 354 teams and over 5000 players as of 2004.[23]

The Toronto Ultimate Club,[24] founded in 1979 by Ken Westerfield and Chris Lowcock, based in Toronto Canada, has 3300 members and 250 teams, playing the year round.[25]

The Los Angeles Organization of Ultimate Teams puts on annual tournaments with thousands of players.

There have been a small number of children's leagues. The largest and first known pre-high school league was started in 1993 by Mary Lowry, Joe Bisignano, and Jeff Jorgenson in Seattle, Washington.[26] In 2005, the discNW Middle School Spring League had over 450 players on 30 mixed teams. Large high school leagues are also becoming common. The largest one is the discNW High School Spring League. It has both mixed and single gender divisions with over 30 teams total. The largest adult league is the San Francisco Ultimate League, with 350 teams and over 4000 active members in 2005, located in San Francisco, California. The largest per capita is the Madison Ultimate Frisbee association, with an estimated 1.8% of the population of Madison, WI playing in active leagues. Dating back to 1977, the Mercer County (New Jersey) Ultimate Disc League (www.mercerultimate.org) is the world's oldest recreational league. There are even large leagues with children as young as third grade, an example being the junior division of the SULA ultimate league in Amherst, Massachusetts.

High school and junior leagues

Tournaments at the high school level of play range from tournaments hosted by local teams to tournaments at a national level. USA Ultimate hosts the Men and Women's HS national championships every year in Blaine, Minnesota. This tournament is known as Youth Club Championships, or YCC's, and often features at-large teams (different players from within a large area such as New England), no single high school team attends.

The most prestigious tournaments for high school teams in the United States splits the championships between the Northeast, Southern, Central and West Coast. The tournaments are known as Northeastern's, Southern's, Centrals and Western's and are becoming more competitive as high school programs are beginning to treat the game of ultimate more seriously. USA Ultimate also hosts a national Junior's club team tournament and sends a representative team to the World Junior Ultimate Championships, held every two years. At a lower level, USA Ultimate has also sanctioned organized statewide tournaments in 20 states.

In the United Kingdom, UK Ultimate has organized Junior's indoor and outdoor Nationals since the mid-'90's, with a women's division since 2005.

College teams

There are over 12,000 student athletes playing on over 700 college ultimate teams in North America,[27] and the number of teams is steadily growing. Separated into Open (nearly 450 teams) and Women's (around 200 teams) Divisions,[citation needed] teams compete in the USA Ultimate College Championship series during the spring. The series consists of 3 tournaments: conferences, regionals, and nationals. Each year, the top teams from conferences move on to regionals. The regional champion, and possibly a number of strength bids, advance to Nationals to compete for the championship title in May. College teams have for years been trying to get the sport accepted to NCAA status, without success.[citation needed]

Ultimate Canada operates one main competition for university ultimate teams in Canada: Canadian University Ultimate Championships (CUUC) and with 6 qualifying regional events one which being the Canadian Eastern University Ultimate Championships (CEUUC).[14]

Club teams

USA Ultimate Club Ultimate consists of Open, Women's, Masters, Youth and Mixed divisions. Club has regional championships and a national championship, and international competition.

World Ultimate Club Championships are quadrennial events organized by WFDF. The previous tournament was in Lecco, Italy in July 2014.

Professional leagues

The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) is one of two professional level ultimate (frisbee) leagues in the United States. It was founded by Josh Moore, and its inaugural season began in April, 2012. In 2013 the league was bought by Ultimate Xperience Ventures LLC, a company founded by Rob Lloyd who was serving as VP of Cisco but has since become the CEO of Hyperloop. In 2012 the league began with eight teams, but currently consists of 26 teams in 4 divisions (East, South, Midwest, and West). Since the league's inaugural season, they've added 24 new teams and had 10 teams fold. Only three of the original eight teams remain in the league (Cincinnati Revolution, Indianapolis Alleycats, and Detroit Mechanix). Each team plays a total of 16 regular season games on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday during the months of April through July. In late July there are play-offs in each division followed by a Championship weekend held the first weekend in August. The AUDL uses the Discraft Ultrastar as its disc of choice. The team funding comes from sources similar to those of other professional sports: sales of tickets, merchandise, concessions and sponsorship.[28] In 2014, the league entered an agreement with ESPN to broadcast 18 games per season for a 2 year period (with a 3rd year option) on ESPN3. That contract was executed by Fulcrum Media Group, LLC.

Major League Ultimate (MLU) was formed in 2013 after the Philadelphia Spinners and their owner Jeff Snader left the AUDL due to differences in how the league should be structured. The MLU is centrally organized which provides consistent quality and branding among its' eight teams. The league has 4 teams in each division split between both the East and West coast. The MLU has broadcast weekly games on YouTube and in 2016 will create cross-divisional match-ups for the first time during the regular season. The MLU uses the Innova Pulsar as its disc of choice.[29]

Major tournaments

  • World Games, international tournament attended by national teams; organized by the WFDF. 2009 tournament link.
  • World Ultimate & Guts Championships, international tournament attended by national teams; organized by the WFDF. 2008 tournament link.
  • World Ultimate Club Championships, international tournament attended by club teams; organized by the WFDF. 2014 tournament link.
  • World Junior Ultimate Championships, international tournament attended by national junior teams; organized by the WFDF. 2014 tournament link.
  • USA Ultimate Championship Series, an American and Canadian tournament series attended by regional teams; organized by USA Ultimate. Championship Series link.
  • No Borders Ultimate Championships, Over fifty teams from across Canada compete annually. Hosted By the Ottawa Ultimate Club. 2014 tournament Link
  • European Ultimate Championships, European tournament attended by national teams; organized by the EFDF. 2007 tournament link.
  • European Ultimate Club Series, European tournament attended by club teams that qualify at the European Ultimate Championships in their region; organized by the EFDF. 2006 tournament link.
  • European Ultimate Club Championships, European tournament attended by club teams every 4 years; organized by the EFDF.
  • Spring Reign, an annual youth Ultimate Tournament held in Burlington, Wa. Organized by discNW, Spring Reign is the largest youth Ultimate tournament in the world. Spring Reign Website
  • Chennai Heat, India's largest Beach Terrain Tournament, held in Chennai. It is the most competitive tournament in India.[30]
  • BUO - Bangalore Ultimate Open - India's largest ultimate (frisbee) tournament on grass. [7]
  • Windmill Windup Amsterdam, the biggest annual tournament in Europe to date on grass with over 90 teams from all over the world. Known for its relaxed festival atmosphere and high-level ultimate. It is held annually in June, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
  • Malaysia Ultimate Open, Malaysia's largest annual tournament, held in Kuala Lumpur. Hosts about 6 fields annually. http://www.ultimatemalaysia.com/
  • North American Grand Masters Championships, Held annually in Montreal Canada in September.
  • Manila Spirits held yearly in the Philippines around October–November

Beach Ultimate tournaments

Beach ultimate
Playing ultimate in Estonia.
  • World Championship Beach Ultimate, the official 5-on-5 Beach Ultimate World Championship for national teams. Last WCBU held 2015 in Dubai. Organized by Federação Paulista de Disco[31] with the collaboration of BULA.
  • European Championship Beach Ultimate[32] European tournament attended by national teams; organized by BULA.
  • Paganello,[33] unofficial Beach Ultimate club world cup, held every year on Easter weekend in Rimini, Italy.
  • Yes BUT Nau[34] in Le Pouliguen, France, held every year on the Pentecost/Whit Monday holiday (May/June), organized by the Frisbeurs Nantais[35]
  • Croatian beach tourney "Spinning Paradise" (with grass and beach edition) http://spinning-paradise.com/
  • Beach Cup,[36] Burla Beach Cup A large tournament, in 2006 hosted 70 teams, held every year in September in Viareggio, Tuscany, Italy. Organized by the Tuscan Flying Bish Association.[37]
  • CUBE[38] Caledonia's Ultimate Beach Event. The University of Aberdeen's BULA affiliated open beach Ultimate competition held annually in April.
  • Wildwood[39] the largest annual beach Ultimate tournament in the world[40] held in Wildwood, New Jersey.
  • Sandblast,[41] an annual beach Ultimate tournament held in early July located in Chicago, Illinois.
  • TBUF[42] the longest-running annual beach Ultimate tournament[43] in the world (since 1986) held in mid June located in Galveston, Texas.
  • Lei-Out,[44] held in late January in Santa Monica, California.
  • Flat Out,[45] held every November in Nelson, New Zealand since 2000.
  • Beaches Be Crazy,[46] held every year at the beginning of September at Curracloe Beach, Co. Wexford, Ireland
  • Boracay Ultimate Open,[47] held every April/May in Boracay Island, Philippines.
  • Chennai Heat,[48] is India's 7-on-7 beach Ultimate tournament held every October in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
  • MonsterBall,[49] is a Dutch Beach Ultimate tournament held at the end of summer in Monster, South Holland, The Netherlands.
  • Sandslash,[50] is most popular polish ultimate and freestyle tournament organized end of September in Debki, Poland.
  • SUN BEAM,[51] is the biggest Baltic states event ongoing every mid of July in Curonian Spit beach at Smiltynė (it is UNESCO heritage site). Klaipėda, Lithuania.

See also

Player trying to score.

External links


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  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Leonardo, Pasquale Anthony; Zagoria, Adam (2005). Ultimate: The First Four Decades. Joe Seidler. ISBN 0976449609. Retrieved 13 January 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  10. 10.0 10.1 "Special Merit: The "80 Mold"". usaultimate.org. Retrieved 2013-12-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  13. Jordan Holtzman-Conston (2010). Countercultural Sports in America: The History and Meaning of Ultimate Frisbee. Waltham, Mass. Retrieved 5 December 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  27. USA Ultimate College Championships
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  31. "frisbeebrasil.com.br".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  34. "yes BUT Nau homepage".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  38. "?". Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  39. "Wildwood Ultimate homepage".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  40. "With 400-plus teams in action at Wildwood Ultimate 2010, sand, Frisbees and bodies all go flying". pressofatlanticcity.com. Retrieved 3 December 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  41. "Chicago Sandblast homepage".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  42. "Houston Ultimate - TBUF".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  43. "Houston Ultimage - TBUF".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  44. "Lei-Out homepage".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  45. "Flat Out homepage".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  46. "Beaches Be Crazy homepage".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  47. ((cite web |url=https://www.facebook.com/boracayopen2015/ |title=Boracay Ultimate))
  48. "Chennai Heat Home Page".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  49. "MonsterBall Homepage".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  50. "Sandslash homepage".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  51. "SUN BEAM homepage".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>