What is ultimate?

This is

Watch for yourself the athleticism, beauty and joy of playing ultimate.

The Rules

How you play

The Beauty of Ultimate

What Makes Ultimate So Great?

The Layout

Ultimate is perhaps the only sport in which “Getting Horizontal” is as common as getting vertical. The impressive and awe-inspiring sight never gets old as athletes routinely dive to make a catch on offense, or knock down an opponents pass on defense.

The Huck

A long, mostly full-field throw with pinpoint accuracy to a streaking cutter is a majestic and mesmerizing sight. A handler’s ability to apply the laws of physics, often times bending the disc along a curved flight path to a precise location, illustrates the skill of an elite thrower.

The Sky

The ability to sky your opponent to catch a 50/50 disc as it slowly floats in the air depends on a few factors like timing and position. But mostly it all comes down to who is the most explosive and can jump the highest.

Spirit of the Game

A unique and defining element of ultimate, Spirit of the Game places the responsibility of fair play solely on the athletes themselves, reinforcing mutual respect and trust between opponents, communication and conflict resolution skills.

Our values

What makes ultimate special


A unique and committed community is one of the defining aspects of ultimate. Time and time again, athletes will tell you they came for the sport and stayed for the community. The joyous, welcoming environment brings people together and helps form lifelong bonds for those who compete with and against each other on the ultimate field.


The main tenet of ultimate is Spirit of the Game – a concept that requires all players to know the rules, make their own calls and constantly exhibit respect for their opponents. Character is an essential part of the game – what you see and what you say matters.


Ultimate is an excellent athletic outlet – running, sprinting, jumping, laying out and more are all major parts of the game. Athletes are able to experience it all at levels from local recreational play to world championships.

Ultimate Terminology

Get to know the lingo

Click on a term to learn more.


Occurs when a player leaves his or her feet and dives in an attempt to catch the disc or create a defensive block

A flick throw with a lot of outside-in bend, which causes the disc to rapidly descend at a vertical angle

When the team that starts the point on defense scores a goal during that point

A throw made to other side of the field from what is being forced by the marker

The spot where play may be initiated when a pull lands out of bounds, typically 15 or 20 yards from the front of the offense’s end zone and in the center of the field (yardage varies based on individual tournament rules); players have the option of making this call or taking the disc on the sideline closest to where it lands

A defensive score, occurs when a defender catches the disc in the opposing team’s end zone


The wall of defenders that surround the thrower in a zone defense; the wall typically consists of 3 players, but variations with 2 or 4 defenders are also common

Player typically responsible for making cuts in toward the thrower to receive the disc

Player typically responsible for spreading the defense and making cuts downfield and receiving long passes

Typically short pass thrown to reset the offense or move the disc toward the center of the field

Forehand, thrown outside, away from the handler’s body

Side of the field to which throws should be contained; the marker will attempt to take away throws to one part of the field and is said to be “forcing” throws to go up in a certain direction

A jump, throw, catch combination that occurs when the disc is out-of-bounds, but a player jumps from in-bounds, catches the disc and successfully throws it back in-bounds to a teammate

An overhead throw that starts above the shoulders where the disc turns over in the air and lands upside-down

Player position most often responsible for moving the disc, typically makes more throws than other players on the field

A long throw

Typically the defender guarding the player with the disc

A defensive decision to leave a designated one-on-one matchup, usually temporarily, to clog a cutting lane or help defend a player other than the original

The “kick-off” of each point in which the defensive team throws the disc from their own end zone down the field toward the offensive team

throw released from locations similar to that of the flick and literally “pushed” forward usually by using the pointer and middle fingers for force and spin

An upside-down throw usually released from near shoulder height

The 10-second count for which a player is allowed to maintain possession of the disc; the opposing, defensive player must count the 10-seconds aloud; a “stall” occurs if the disc is held for more than the 10-second count

Occurs when a disc is knocked out of a player’s hands after they have stopped rotation and achieved possession

A throw usually following a dump pass that moves the disc from one side of the field to the other

What makes ultimate unique

Spirit of the Game

Spirit of the Game is one of the founding tenets of ultimate. It means the responsibility for fair play lies with the athletes. Every player has to know the rules and is empowered to make their own calls.

Differences on the field are resolved by the players themselves, helping establish mutual respect and trust between opponents. Spirit of the game develops communication and conflict resolution skills and inspires self confidence – both on and off the field.

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A Brief History of Our Sport

50 Years of Ultimate


Aceball at Kenyon

Students at Kenyon College create and play Aceball, a team sport using a flying “disc” – a cake tin.


Invention of the Pluto Platter

Fred Morrison creates the Pluto Patter, the archetype of all modern flying discs. After selling the rights to Wham-O, the Pluto Platter becomes the Frisbee.


Ultimate is Invented

A group of students from Columbia High School invent the ultimate sport in Maplewood, N.J.


Ultimate Players Association Founded

The Ultimate Players Association, the precursor to USA Ultimate, is founded by Tom “TK” Kennedy in Santa Barbara, Calif.


First Club Championships

The first UPA Club Championships is held with five men’s teams in State College, Pa. Glassboro takes home the title.


Women's Division Founded

The women’s division is added to the UPA competition structure, with Boston B.L.U. winning the first women’s title.


First College Championships

Ultimate competition continues to expand with the addition of the Men’s College Championships. The women’s division is added in 1987.


WFDF Founded

The World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) is founded to serve as the sport’s international federation.


First Junior Nationals

Ultimate expands to the youth division and hosts the High School Championships. Eleven open teams compete in the inaugural event; Bronx Science takes the title.


Mixed Division Founded

The mixed (co-ed) division is founded and holds its first Club Championships event.


Boston Death of Glory captures its sixth consecutive club championship.


Ultimate Added to World Games

Expanding its international influence, ultimate is added to the World Games in Akita, Japan.


Ultimate Hall of Fame Established

The Ultimate Hall of Fame is established to honor outstanding ultimate players and contributors to the sport.


UPA Becomes USA Ultimate

To better align with the Olympic Family, the Ultimate Players Association rebrands as USA Ultimate.


San Francisco Fury captures its record-breaking seventh consecutive club championship.


First Major Television Broadcast

Ultimate makes its debut on the ESPN family of networks at the 2013 College Championships.


Ultimate Recognized by USOPC

Ultimate officially becomes part of the Olympic Family when the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee recognizes USA Ultimate.


WFDF Recognized by IOC

The World Flying Disc Federation is recognized by the International Olympic Committee, continuing to pave the way toward inclusion on the Olympic Program.


50th Anniversary

Ultimate celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Ultimate across the world

Where We Play

With ultimate being a year-round sport, including a college season that begins in January, practicing in the snow is not uncommon, especially for teams from the north like Bates College in Lewiston, ME.

The 2018 WFDF World Ultimate Club Championships in Cincinnati were moved indoors because of thunderstorms.

A little mud doesn’t stop an ultimate game as teams play on at the Inter-JC Championships in Singapore.

The inaugural USA Ultimate Beach Championships in 2015 stretched up and down the shores of Virginia Beach.

San Diego hosted the 2018 USA Ultimate National Championships as the sport celebrated its 50th anniversary.

At the 2016 College Championships in Raleigh, NC, weather delays pushed the national semifinal between Minnesota and Pittsburgh into the early morning hours.

Many tournaments start at dawn, play through dusk and into the night, including the 2013 USA Ultimate National Championships in Frisco, TX.

A stadium packed with fans for the 2016 WFDF World Ultimate Championship final in London between Team USA and Colombia underscores the global popularity of ultimate.

Pick-up, local city leagues and tournaments, and other grassroots, recreational competition – like this junior league in Atlanta, GA – represents the vast majority of ultimate.

A popular pastime on campuses around the country, college ultimate has evolved into an ultra-competitive club sport with most major schools – like Stanford and Oregon (shown here at the 2016 College Championships) – fielding teams.