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Ultimate (also called Ultimate Frisbee) is a limited-contact team sport played with a 175 gram flying disc. The object of the game is to score points by passing the disc to a player in the opposing end zone, similar to an end zone in American football or rugby. Players may not run while holding the disc.

Ultimate being played.

While originally called Ultimate Frisbee, it is now officially called Ultimate because Frisbee is the trademark for the line of discs made by the Wham-O toy company. In fact, discs made by Wham-O competitor Discraft are the standard discs for the sport, because they are more streamlined and have a softer curved edge for easier handling. In 2008, there were 4.9 million Ultimate players in the US.


In the fall of 1968, Joel Silver, then a student at Columbia High Schoolmarker proposed a school Frisbee team to the student council on a whim. The following summer, a group of students got together to play what Silver claimed to be the "ultimate game experience," adapting the sport from a form of Frisbee football, likely learned from Jared Kass while attending a summer camp at Northfield Mount Hermonmarker, Massachusettsmarker where Kass was teaching. The students who played and codified the rules at Columbia High Schoolmarker in Maplewood, New Jerseymarker, were an eclectic group of students including leaders in academics, student politics, the student newspaper, and school dramatic productions. Key early contributors besides Silver included Bernard "Buzzy" Hellring and Jonny Hines. Another member of the original team was Walter Sabo, who went on to be a major figure in the American radio business. The sport became identified as a counterculture activity. The first definitive history of the sport was published in December 2005, ULTIMATE: The First Four Decades.

While the rules governing movement and scoring of the disc have not changed, the early Columbia High School games had sidelines that were defined by the parking lot of the school and team sizes based on the number of players that showed up. Gentlemanly behavior and gracefulness were held high. (A foul was defined as contact "sufficient to arouse the ire of the player fouled.") No referees were present, which still holds true today: all ultimate matches (even at high level events) are self-officiated. At higher levels of play 'observers' are often present. Observers only make calls when appealed to by one of the teams, at which point the result is binding.

Collegiate clubs

The first collegiate ultimate club was formed by Silver when he arrived at Lafayette Collegemarker in 1970.

The first intercollegiate competition was held at Rutgersmarker's New Brunswick campus between Rutgers and Princetonmarker on November 6, 1972, the 103rd anniversary of the first intercollegiate game of American football featuring the same schools competing in the same location.

By 1975, dozens of colleges had teams, and in April 1975, players organized the first ultimate tournament, an eight-team invitational called the "Intercollegiate Ultimate Frisbee Championships," to be played at Yalemarker. Rutgers beat Rensselaer Polytechnic Institutemarker 26-23 in the finals.

By 1976, teams were organizing in areas outside the Northeast. A 16-team single elimination tournament was set up at Amherst, Massachusettsmarker, to include 13 East Coast teams and 3 Midwest teams. Rutgers again took the title, beating Hampshire Collegemarker in the finals. Penn Statemarker and Princeton were the other semi-finalists. While it was called the "National Ultimate Frisbee Championships", Ultimate was starting to appear in the Los Angelesmarker and Santa Barbaramarker area.

Penn State hosted the first five-region National Ultimate Championships in May 1979. There were five regional representatives: three college and two club teams. They were as follows: Cornell Universitymarker-(Northeast), Glassboro Statemarker- (Middle Atlantic), Michigan Statemarker-(Central), Orlando Fling-(South), Santa Barbara Condors-(West). Each team played the other in a round robin format to produce a Glassboro-Condors final. The Condors had gone undefeated up to this point; however Glassboro prevailed 19-18 to become the 1979 national champions. They repeated as champions in 1980 as well.

The first College Nationals made up exclusively of college teams took place in 1984 in Somerville, MA. The event, hosted by the Tufts University E-Men crowned Stanfordmarker its winner, as they beat Glassboro State in the finals.

Club and international play

A Japanese player makes a layout grab en route to winning the World Women's Ultimate Championship final versus Sweden in 1992.
Photo: Toby Green
In Californiamarker clubs were sprouting in the Los Angeles - Santa Barbara area, while in the east, where the sport developed at the high school and college level, the first college graduates were beginning to found club teams, such as the Philadelphia Frisbee Club, the Washington Area Frisbee Club, the Knights of Nee in New Jersey, the Hostages in Bostonmarker and so forth. Arkansas also had a few formidable teams located in the towns of Pocahontas, Newport, and Batesville.

During this time, ultimate arrived in the United Kingdommarker, with the UK's first clubs forming at the University of Warwickmarker and the University of Cambridgemarker. By the late 1970s and early 1980s, there were also clubs at the University of Southamptonmarker, University of Leicestermarker, and University of Bradfordmarker.

Players associations

In 1979 and 1980 the Ultimate Players Association (UPA) was formed. The UPA organized regional tournaments and has crowned a national champion every year since 1979.

The popularity of the sport quickly spread, 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.

In 1981 the European Flying Disc Federation (EFDF) was formed.In 1984 the World Flying Disc Federation was formed by the EFDF to be the international governing body for disc sports.

Founded in 1986, incorporated in 1993 the Ottawa-Carleton Ultimate Association based in Ottawamarker, Ontariomarker, Canadamarker, has the largest summer league in the world with 354 teams and over 5000 players as of 2004.

In 2006 ultimate became a BUCS accredited sport at UK universities for both indoor and outdoor open division events.

Rules of play

Traditional Ultimate

The UPA outdoor ultimate field

By the rules of the Ultimate Players Association, a standard game of ultimate is played on a field 40 yards wide by 120 yards long, the length of which is divided into a 70 yard playing field with 25 yard endzones at each end. All play is seven on seven, with teams permitted a maximum roster size of 27 players. In mixed Ultimate, there must be at least 3 members of each gender on the field at a time. Play begins with the defensive team fully within their end zone and the offensive team lined up on their end zone line. The defensive team player throwing the disc raises a hand to signal readiness to begin play. A player on the receiving team raises a hand to signal their readiness to begin play. After both sides have signaled their readiness, the defensive team throws ("pulls") the disc to the other team to begin play.

Once a player catches the disc, the player must come to a stop and have one foot planted as a pivot until after passing the disc to another player by throwing it (hand-offs are not permitted). The player has ten seconds to pass the disc, and this “stall” count must be announced, one through ten, by a defensive player within 10 feet of the offensive player in possession of the disc. If the ten seconds expire without passing the disc, if the disc is dropped on reception or during possession, if the pass is blocked, intercepted or not caught, or if the disc is thrown out-of-bounds and doesn't come back in-bounds, possession transfers to the other team, which then becomes the offense.

If a player physically interferes with an opposing player, a foul may be called. If the foul disrupts possession, in most cases the offense regains possession, the ten second clock is reset, and play resumes. Because ultimate is typically self-refereed, the player who committed the infraction is given the opportunity to contest or accept the call, with somewhat differing results depending on whether or not the player admits fault. If disagreement over a call cannot be resolved, in some instances the play will be repeated. Play is entirely continuous until a score is made, with the exception of stoppages for calls or injuries. Except for injuries, substitutions may be made only between points.

Scores are made by a team successfully completing a pass to a player located in the defensive end zone. After a score, the teams switch their direction of attack, and the scoring team pulls. The game continues until either team reaches 15 points with a two-point margin over their opponents, or until either team reaches 17 points total. A ten-minute halftime break occurs when either team reaches eight points total. Each team may call up to two 70-second time-outs per half. During play, time-outs may be called only by the player in possession of the disc. Any player may call a time-out in between points. Each team is allowed to call one and only one time-out once the score reaches 14-14.

Sportsmanship, respect for other players, fair play, and having fun are considered central aspects of play, even when competition becomes intense.

Indoor, Beach, Intense, and Street Ultimate

Ultimate is sometimes played on an indoor football field. If the field has indoor football markings on it, then the outer most goal box lines are used for endzone lines. Playing off the walls or ceiling is usually not permitted. Since indoor venues tend to be smaller, the number of players per side is often decreased. Depending of the size of the field, two types of game can be played : 4 on 4 or 5 on 5.

Some indoor leagues play Speedpoint, also known as Quebec City rules (4 on 4), in order to speed up play:pito
  • Only 2 pulls every game: at the beginning of the game and after halftime. Each team pulls once.
  • After a point is scored, play resumes from the point in the end zone where the point was scored.
  • Maximum 20 second delay between the scoring of a point and the beginning of the next one.
  • Players may only substitute between points.
  • Each team is allowed one timeout per game.
  • Timeouts cannot be called in the last 5 minutes of the game.
  • In 5 on 5, substitutions are allowed on the fly (while playing)

Indoor ultimate is played widely in Northern Europe during the winter because of frigid weather conditions.In North America, indoor ultimate tends to be played in venues that can accommodate a field of regular or near-regular size and the playing surface is AstroTurf or some other kind of artificial grass.In Europe, on the other hand, such facilities are rarely available, and indoor ultimate is usually on a handball or basketball court. In northern European and Scandinavian countries handball courts are the norm, whereas in the UK, Russia, and Southern Europe, basketball courts are more commonly used. Players often wear protection such as knee, elbow and wrist pads, much like in volleyball to avoid bruises and cuts when laying out.

European indoor ultimate has evolved as a variant of standard outdoor ultimate. Because of the small size of the court and of the absence of wind, several indoor-specific offensive and defensive tactics have been developed. Moreover, throws such as scoobers, blades, hammers, and push-passes are rarely used or discouraged outdoors because even a little wind makes them inaccurate or because they are effective only at short range, but they are common in the small and wind-free indoor courts. The stall count is reduced to 8 seconds because of the faster nature of the indoor game.

There are regular indoor tournaments and championships and stable indoor teams. The best-known and longest-running indoor tournament is the Skogshyddan's Vintertrofén held in Gothenburgmarker, Swedenmarker, every year.

Beach Ultimate at Wildwood
Beach ultimate is a variant of this activity. It is played in teams of four or five players on small fields. It is played on sand and, as the name implies, normally at the beach. Players are barefoot. The Beach Ultimate Lovers Association (BULA) is the international governing body for Beach Ultimate.

Most beach ultimate tournaments are played according to BULA rules, which are based on WFDF rules with a few modifications.

One of the largest and most notable beach ultimate tournaments is the co-ed tournament held annually at Wildwood, New Jerseymarker. Another well known tournament is Paganello in Rimini, Italy.

Intense Ultimate is a version of Ultimate made to play on a smaller field than regular Ultimate. It was devised as a way to play Ultimate in an urban setting for people who may not have enough space or grass to play regular Ultimate. Like Indoor Ultimate in many respects, games are usually played with 6 to 12 players.
  • There is only one end zone. The side with the end zone is divided into 3 parts, with 2 parts being "dead" end zones, and the central part being a "live" end zone that you can score points in.
  • If the disc is thrown so that is passes in-between the "dead" end zone "posts" and is caught anywhere in the end zones, the offensive team does not receive a point, but rather continues play and is required to pass the disc back onto the court before they are allowed to then score a point by catching the disc in the "live" end zone.
  • Points awarded to catching the disc in a "live" end zone is counted like a regular end zone. As long as the disc passes in-between the 2 "posts" for the "live" end zone, it can be caught anywhere in any of the end zones and still count as being caught in the "live" end zone.
  • Opposite the one end zone, instead of another end zone, is a transfer zone.
  • Catching the disc in the transfer zone turns the end zone into "your" end zone, that only your team can score in. Otherwise, the end zone turns into a "dead" end zone. Gaining possession in the transfer zone counts as a catch in the transfer zone.
  • The end zone remains "your" end zone until the opposing team catches the disc in the transfer zone, regardless of possession changes.
  • There is no pulling, instead the scoring team hands the disc to the opposing team, who starts from the transfer zone. This counts as it being caught in the transfer zone. The team has 20 seconds to start after the score.

A disc illuminated by two red LEDs
Street Ultimate, which is also known as Street Style, is a less formal variant of Ultimate and is usually carried out similar to a pick-up game. Since there is no set player limit, teams sizes are based on the number of people present. Formalities are usually disregarded as it is a slightly rougher style of Ultimate.
  • Street Ultimate is typically played in an open field (standard size) or football field.
  • The team size can vary from 2 to 12 players on each team. All people must play on the field at all times.
  • Stack plays are usually disregarded as the state of play is more chaotic and random. This causes games to be less predictable and places more focus on individual player talent.
  • Street games are commonly accompanied by music (usually by stereo or boom-box).
  • Games can be played at night using a LED illuminated disc and glow sticks or LEDs to mark each player.

Strategy and tactics


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.

One of the most common offensive strategies is the vertical stack. In this strategy, the offense lines up in a straight line along the length of the field. From this position, players in the stack make cuts (sudden sprints out of the stack) towards or away from the handler in an attempt 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.

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 upfield, spaced evenly across the field. This formation encourages cutters to attack any of the space either upfield or downfield of the stack, 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 in an attempt to reset the stall count while also getting the defense out of position.

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 down field 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.

A third common offensive strategy is the spread, or split stack. The spread offense features three handlers in the same formation as for a horizontal stack, and four downfield cutters. Cutters split into two-person teams near both sidelines at the same distance from the handlers as in the horizontal stack. The first cut can come from either sideline, then usually moves into the center of the field before moving upfield or downfield. The second cut can also come from either sideline, and will usually cut in the opposite direction (downfield or upfield) as the first cut. The spread strategy creates a large lane in the middle of the field in which the active cutter is looking to make one big play in or out before clearing back to one of the sidelines.

A fourth, less common strategy is called the hybrid, because it creates two-person teams of cutters just as in the split stack, but one of these two-person teams plays as a vertical stack on one side of the field. Handlers arrange themselves as in a horizontal stack. The advantage of the hybrid is that one of the two-person teams makes use of the large open lane created in the middle of the field just as in the split stack offense, while the other two-person team has one person ready to make a continuation cut and one person ready to make an additional cut to the handlers.

Many advanced teams develop specific offenses that are variations on the basics in order 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.

In all of these strategies, players making cuts have two major options in how they cut. They may cut in towards the disc and attempt to find an open avenue between defenders for a short pass, or they may cut away from the disc towards the deep field. The deep field is usually sparsely defended but requires the handler to throw a huck (a long down field throw).


The force

One of the most basic defensive principles is the force. The marker effectively blocks the handler's access to half of the field, by aggressively blocking only one side of the handler and leaving the other side open. The unguarded side is called the force side because the thrower is generally forced to throw to that side of the field. The guarded side is called the break-force side, or simply break side, because the thrower would have to "break" the force in order to throw to that side.

This is done because, assuming evenly matched players, the handler is considered to have an advantage over the marker. It is considered to be relatively easy for the handler to fake out or outmaneuver a marker who is trying to block the whole field, and thus be able to throw the disc. Alternatively, it is generally possible to effectively block half of the field.

The marker calls out the force side ("force home" or "force away") before starting the stall count in order to alert the other defenders which side of the field is open to the handler. The team can choose the force side ahead of time, or change it on the fly from throw to throw. Aside from forcing home or away, other forces are "force sideline" (force towards the closest sideline), "force center" (force towards the center of the field), and "force up" (force towards either sideline but prevent a throw straight up the field). Another common tactic is to "force forehand" (force the thrower to use their forehand throw) since most players, especially at lower levels of play, have a stronger backhand throw. "Force flick" refers to the forehand; "force back" refers to the backhand.

When the marker calls out the force side, the team can then rely on the marker to block off half the field and position themselves to aggressively cover just the open/force side. If they are playing one-to-one defense, they should position themselves on the force side of their marks, since that is the side that they are most likely to cut to.

The opposite of the "force" is the "straight-up" mark (also called the "no-huck" mark). In this defense, the player marking the handler positions himself directly between the handler and the end zone and actively tries to block both forehands and backhands. Although the handler can make throws to either side, this is the best defense against long throws ("hucks") to the center of the field.

One-on-one defense

The simplest defensive strategy is the one-on-one defense (also known as "man-on-man", "man-to-man", or simply "man"), where each defender guards a specific offensive player, called their "mark". The one-on-one defense emphasizes speed, stamina, and individual positioning and reading of the field. 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. One-on-one defense can also play a part role in other more complex zone defense strategies.

Zone defense

With a zone defense strategy, the defenders cover an area rather than a specific person. The area they cover moves with the disc as it progresses down the field. Zone defense is frequently used when the other team is substantially more athletic (faster) making one-on-one difficult to keep up with, because it requires less speed and stamina. It is also useful in a long tournament to avoid tiring out the team, or when it is very windy and long passes are more difficult.

A zone defense usually has two components. The first is a group of players close to the handlers who attempt to contain the disc and prevent forward movement, called the "wedge", "cup", "wall", or "clam" (depending on the specific play). These close defenders always position themselves relative to the disc, meaning that they have to move quickly as it passes from handler to handler.

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.

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 wall involves four players in the close defense. One player is the marker, also called the "rabbit" or "chaser" 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 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 up field. Because a zone defense focuses defenders on stopping short passes, it leaves a large portion of the field to be covered by the remaining mid and deep players. Assuming that there are seven players on the field, and that a cup is in effect, this leaves four players to cover the rest of the field. In fact, usually only one deep player is used to cover hucks (the "deep-deep"), with two others defending the sidelines and possibly a single "mid-mid".

Alternately, the mids and deeps can play a one-to-one defense on the players who are outside of the cup or cutting deep, although frequent switching might be necessary.

Junk 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. 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 GB and Sweden in Southampton, UK.
Ultimate is known for its "Spirit of the Game", often abbreviated SOTG. Ultimate's self-officiated nature demands a strong spirit of sportsmanship and respect. The following description is from the official ultimate rules established by the Ultimate Players Association:

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


At some levels of competition, it is still customary for teams to cheer their opponent at the end of the game. This tradition is an example of how the spirit of ultimate differs from most other sports, as these cheers are meant to be ridiculous, fun, and amusing. Cheers are songs or chants that teams make up and sing for each other at the end of a game. Cheers are known as calls in the UK and are usually reserved for organized league play: they are virtually non-existent in pick-up games. Cheers are also less common at the higher levels of play and in Men's Ultimate, although attitudes towards this custom vary between countries and organizations.

Spirit Games

An alternative to cheers, spirit games are sometimes played after a game of Ultimate, especially during tournaments. They are often played in circles (such as "Big Booty," "Look Down, Look Up," "Pokey," "Mingle," "Miniature Tanks," "Bang", "Ultimate Ninja", "Street Fighters", and the "Wa (Tree) Game"). Spirit games, like cheers, serve as a way for teams to get to know each other, have fun together, and often lessen tensions after an intense game of Ultimate.

Pick-up games

In the spirit of ultimate's egalitarian roots, 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. In all these types of pick-up games it will not be uncommon to have as participants the same people who play on nationally or globally competitive teams. Newcomers are always welcomed at pick-up games or whenever people are simply throwing, and enthusiastic players will sideline themselves to spend time teaching beginners the throws and maneuvers necessary to play.

Ultimate Players Association Pick-up Listing: UPA Pick-up Listing

Mapped Ultimate Pick-up games around the world: World Ultimate Pick-up Map

Hat tournaments

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

However, in some tournaments, the organizers do not actually use a hat, but form teams taking into account skill, experience, sex, age, height, and fitness level of the players in the attempt to form teams of even strength. A 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.

In both hat leagues and hat tournaments, there is an emphasis on forming new connections throughout the ultimate community. Hat tournaments have a strong emphasis on having fun, socializing, partying, and meeting other players. Players of all levels take part in such events from world-class players to complete beginners. The tournaments (and sometimes also regular tournaments) often have a theme, such as wild west, aliens, pirates, superheroes, etc. The organizers often name teams also according to a theme, such as: beer varieties, movie characters, etc.

Current leagues

Regulation play, sanctioned in the United States by the UPA, occurs at the college (open & women's divisions), club (open, women's, mixed (co-ed), and masters 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, made up of national flying disc organizations and federations from about 50 countries.

Recreational leagues have become widespread, and range in organization and size. 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, Washingtonmarker. 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 Ottawa-Carleton Ultimate Association, with 350 teams and over 4000 active members in 2005, located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Dating back to 1977, the Mercer County (New Jersey) Ultimate Disc League ( 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, Massachusettsmarker.

High school and junior

Tournaments at the high school level of play range from tournaments hosted by local teams to tournaments at a national level. The UPA hosts the Men and Women's HS national championships every year in two locations, allowing them to split the championships between East and West Coast teams. These two tournaments, affectionately known as Eastern's and Western's, are becoming more competitive as high school programs are beginning to treat the game of ultimate more seriously. The UPA 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, the UPA has also sanctioned organized statewide tournaments in 20 states.

In the United Kingdommarker, there were over 20 teams attending this years Junior Nations (including a coach's team, who played purely for fun) which were held in Sutton Coldfield Birmingham. This event was run by Andrew Vaughan, the coach of the largest Junior team currently in the UK, Arctic Ultimate. Many of the pupils also play for their national teams Great Britain Juniors. With a continuation of the popularity of ultimate a possibility of it being introduced into further high schools making a more competitive league in the UK for junior ultimate players.

College teams and Club teams

There are over 600 college ultimate teams in North America, and the number of teams is steadily growing. Separated into Open (nearly 450 teams) and Women's (around 200 teams) Divisions, teams compete in the UPA Championship series during the spring. The series consists of 3 tournaments: Sectionals, Regionals, and Nationals. Each year, the top teams from sectionals move on to Regionals. The Regional champion, runner-up, and possibly a strength bid, advance to Nationals to compete for the championship title in May.

UPA Club ultimate consists of Open, Women's, Masters, Youth and Mixed divisions. Teams are listed on the UPA's team listing page.

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. 2006 tournament link.
  • World Junior Ultimate Championships, international tournament attended by national junior teams; organized by the WFDF. 2006 tournament link.
  • UPA Championship Series, an American and Canadian tournament series attended by regional teams; organized by the UPA. Championship Series 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, Wamarker. Organized by DiscNW, Spring Reign is the largest youth ultimate tournament in the world. { Spring Reign Website]

Other tournaments

  • April Fools Fest, the longest continuously running tournament in Ultimate history (30th anniversary 2006); organized by WAFC. tournament link
  • Trouble in Vegas, the largest ultimate tournament ever held (as of 2009), with close to 124 college teams from all around North America converging for a 3-day tournament on the outskirts of Las Vegas; organized by cu1timate
  • Potlatch, the largest mixed ultimate tournament in the world; organized by DiscNW. Tournament link
  • Canadian Ultimate Championship, Canada's national tournament series attended by regional division qualifiers; organized by CUPA. 2007 tournament link
  • Windmill Windup, the Dutch Windmill Windup tournament with an open, mixed and a women's division (largest women's division in Europe) hosts teams from all over Europe. With revolutionary Swiss-Draw format. 2007 tournament link
  • Wonderful Copenhagen Ultimate, the Danish WCU tournament with both an open and a women's division hosts teams from all over Europe and even some from the U.S. and Asia. 2007 tournament link
  • Amherst Invitational, the longest running high school tournament in existence
  • Furious Five (F5) - 5-on-5 indoor turnament in Odense, Denmark - Version 15 will be in January/February 2010 - tournament link

Beach Ultimate

See also


External links


Leagues and Associations

Where to Play

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