Why Ultimate Frisbee?

Ultimate Frisbee

Ultimate is a relatively young sport. The idea was first conceived in 1968 when a student named Joel Silver pitched it to his High School Student Council in New Jersey. 50 years later, Ultimate's popularity continues to grow: the sport is played in over 50 countries by 100,000 people and is fully recognized by the International Olympic Committee.  

In the Lower Mainland, growth has been exponential. The Fraser Valley Elementary League has grown from 0 to 40 teams in three years, and the High School Provincial Championships have grown from 16 teams to 80 teams in just nine years. As their skill level progresses in the sport of Ultimate, young athletes learn fundamentals, invaluable lessons that translate directly from the field to growth and development.

Joel Silver with his Columbia High School Ultimate team.

Sports Should Teach Life Skills

1.  Teamwork

In Ultimate, one athlete physically cannot do it alone. You cannot dribble up the court and dunk it, or skate end-to-end and score a sweet goal. You are not allowed to run with the disc so athletes must pass to, and rely on, their teammates to score a point. There is no need to worry about ball-hogs in our sport! Instead, athletes learn the value of trusting their teammates, and learn how to win and lose as a team.

 

2.  Sportspersonship and Personal Accountability

Ultimate is self-refereed and at first, this fact raises many eyebrows. You may be asking yourself right now, "Won't the kids just cheat?" It turns out that when every athlete on the field becomes the referee, they learn the value and power of competing with integrity more quickly than in other sports. Gone is the mindset of "It's not a foul if the ref doesn't see it." Ultimate gives young athletes the opportunity to learn how to advocate for themselves and resolve conflicts through discussion in competitive situations.

 

3.  Open-Mindedness

Ultimate is progressive and strives to create an inter-sectional, inclusive, and safe space for all its athletes. Upwind Ultimate is a great example of an organization that is breaking boundaries in sport and pushing Ultimate athletes in a positive, equitable direction.  We are proud that all elementary and high school Ultimate in Canada is mixed-gendered with a ratio of 4:3, either girls to boys or boys to girls. 

We Believe in Multi-Disciplinary Athletes

We love Ultimate because it seems to mix the best parts of every discipline into one. Here are some examples of how Ultimate can help your child in their other various activities:  

Basketball: There's a reason why the Wisconsin basketball team uses Ultimate in its off-season to train.  "It's a way for me to basically fool them into a great conditioning session that's specific to basketball," Wisconsin strength and conditioning coach Scott Hettenbach said. " Ultimate requires unselfish play, person and zone defense, hand-eye coordination, and throwing into tight spaces; all of these skills are necessary on the basketball court.  

Volleyball: Both Ultimate and Volleyball require a balance of finesse when it comes to passing, and raw, explosive power when it comes to jumping for the disc and spiking the ball. Ultimate helps reinforce key skills in Volleyball like the mechanics of jumping and Volleyball helps reinforce key skills in Ultimate like the Hammer throw. 

Soccer: Ultimate is great for teaching the importance of controlling the ball. Young soccer athletes usually kick the ball away as soon as it comes to their feet, but in Ultimate, they must catch it before they pass it to another teammate. Ultimate also helps reinforce key skills in soccer such as running towards the ball and passing into open space for teammates to run onto.  

Dance: Dancers can benefit from Ultimate because by building their anaerobic system in Ultimate, a sport which requires short but high-intensity bursts of speed, they will be more capable of performing multiple dance movements in a row without tiring. 

 

Ultimate in 10 Simple Rules

  1. The Field — A rectangular shape with endzones at each end. A regulation field is 64m by 37m, with endzones 23m deep.
  2. Initiate Play — Each point begins with both teams lining up on the front of their respective endzone line. The defense throws (“pulls”) the disc to the offense. A regulation game has seven players per team.
  3. Scoring — Each time the offense completes a pass in the defense’s endzone, the offense scores a point. Play is initiated after each score.
  4. Movement of the Disc — The disc may be advanced in any direction by completing a pass to a teammate. Players may not run with the disc. The person with the disc (“thrower”) has ten seconds to throw the disc. The defender guarding the thrower (“marker”) counts out the stall count.
  5. Change of possession — When a pass in not completed (e.g. out of bounds, drop, block, interception), the defense immediately takes possession of the disc and becomes the offense.
  6. Substitutions — Players not in the game may replace players in the game after a score and during an injury timeout.
  7. Non-contact — No physical contact is allowed between players. Picks and screens are also prohibited. A foul occurs when contact is made.
  8. Fouls — When a player initiates contact on another player a foul occurs. When a foul disrupts possession, the play resumes as if the possession was retained. If the player committing the foul disagrees with the foul call, the play is redone.
  9. Self-Refereeing — Players are responsible for their own foul and line calls. Players resolve their own disputes.
  10. Spirit of the Game — Ultimate stresses sportsmanship and fair play. Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players, adherence to the rules, and the basic joy of play.

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