The Rules of Ultimate Frisbee

The rules of Ultimate Frisbee

Are you ready to learn the rules of Ultimate Frisbee?

Before reading the basic rules of this game, if you have never played Ultimate Frisbee before, I recommend you to read my guide, which contains some simple steps to follow. At the end, you will be ready to play and enjoy this game.

Like the game itself, the basic rules of Ultimate Frisbee are easy and you can learn them quickly by following the steps below.

The Spirit of the game rules

  • Ultimate frisbee is a non-contact sport.
  • Players are responsible for their actions. Players must call their own mistakes and adhere to the rules of the game.
  • If a player does not adhere to the rules and a violation takes place, the captains of the team should discuss and agree on a common solution.
  • If the player cannot agree, the disc should be given back to the last thrower before the dispute occurred.
  • Each ultimate frisbee player must know the rules, be honest and truthful, say their own viewpoint clearly, allow the other player to present their perspective, be respectful, and only make a call if the violation is significant enough to affect the outcome of the play.
  • The following actions are considered clear violations:
    • Aggressive behavior
    • Intentional fouling or breaking of any sport’s rule
    • Intimidating other players
    • Disrespectful celebrations after scoring
    • Other win-at-all-costs behaviour
  • Teams are responsible for teaching their players the rules of the game.
  • Teams are responsible for the behavior of their players.
  • If a player does not know the rules, the other experienced players should explain them.

Ultimate Frisbee Field Rules

  • The field must have a rectangular shape and be flat.
  • The field must have two sidelines, two, end zones, and a central zone.
  • The goal lines are defined as the lines that separate the central zone from the end zones. The goal lines are included in the central zone.
  • The central zone and end zones must be marked by eight colored objects like plastic cones.

Equipment Rules

  • If the disc is accepted by both captains, the disc can be used in the play.
  • Each player must wear a uniform.
  • Players are not allowed to wear clothing and equipment that could potentially harm another player.

Point, Goal, and Game Rules

  • Each game is made from several points.
  • A game is finished when one of the teams scores 15 goals.
  • A game is divided into two halves. The first team to score eight goals calls for a halftime break.
  • After each goal, the teams must exchange their place on the field. The team that scored becomes the defensive team.

Team Rules

  • Each team consists of a minimum of 5 players.
  • Each team must have a captain.
  • Each team can have up to 5 substitute players. A player can be substituted during a timeout.

The Pull Rules

  • The pull is defined as the throw of the disc that happens at the start of the game, after half-time, or after a score.
  • The pull can be made only after both teams signaled that are ready to start.
  • After both teams are ready, the player must throw the disc by standing with one foot on the defending goal line.
  • After the disc is thrown player can move in all directions on the field.
  • Players from the defensive team are not allowed to touch the disc until a player from the offensive team touches the disc or the disc drops on the ground.
  • If an offensive player fails to take possession of the disc after touching it, then it is a turnover.
  • If the offensive player makes contact with the disc and then goes out-of-bounds without any contact with an offensive player, the thrower must establish a pivot point.

The pivot point is where the disc first crossed the perimeter line or the nearest location in the central zone.

State of Play

  • The play is considered dead:
    • After a goal is scored, until the disc is thrown
    • When the disc is moved to the pivot location
    • After a player makes a call
    • After a disc hits the ground
  • Players are not allowed to change their position or move during a dead play.
  • The thrower is not allowed to throw the disc to another player during a dead play.

Stall Count Rules

  • The stall count must be communicated to the thrower.
  • The marker is responsible for counting the stall.
  • The marker can start counting when the play is live.
  • If the game stops during a stall count, then the stall count is resumed:
    • When a defensive player breaks a rule, the person with the disc can start counting from Stalling one again.
    • When a defensive player breaks a rule, the person with the disc can restart the stall count from nine.
    • If there is a disagreement over a “stall-out” call, the person with the disc can start counting from “Stalling eight (8)” again

The Check Rules

  • Whenever the play needs to stop for various reasons, the play must restart as quickly as possible with a check.
  • When a call is made, players need to respect the following positioning rules.
  • If the call is made before a pass is thrown, players need to go back to the position they were in when the call was made.
  • If the call is made after a pass is thrown and the disc is returned to the thrower, players need to go back to the position they were in when the thrower released the disc.
  • If the play stands, players need to go back to the position they were in when either a player gained possession or the disc hit the ground.
  • Players must stay in their position until the disc is checked in.
  • Before the check, the player who is checking the disc and the closest opposing player must confirm that their teammates are prepared.
  • If there is a delay in checking the disc, the opposing team can give a warning. The warning is called “Delay of Game”. The opposing team can check the disc if the delay continues.

Out-of-Bounds Rules

  • The perimeter lines are not considered part of the playing field.
  • The out-of-bound area means the ground and anything it touches that is not part of the game. It does not include defensive players, who are always part of the game.
  • When the disc is thrown it is considered in-bounds.
  • A disc is considered out-of-bounds when it touched the ground or an object outside the playing area, when it is caught by a defensive player from the outside playing area, or when it is touched by an offensive player who is outside of the playing area.
  • Players are allowed to go out-of-bounds to return an out-of-bounds disc.
  • If the disc goes out-of-bounds, the player who gains possession of the disc must put it back into play at the nearest point in the central zone to where it went out.

Scoring Rules

  • A goal is scored when an inbound player catches a legal pass in the end zone of attack and maintains possession of the disc throughout all ground contact related to the catch.
  • The player’s first point of ground contact must be entirely in the end zone to be considered in the end zone after catching the disc.
  • Players are allowed to call a goal when they believe a goal has been scored. The play stops.

Turnovers Rules

  • A turnover means when the opposing team takes over possession of the disc.
  • A turnover takes place when the disc hits the ground without being controlled by an offensive player.
  • A turnover takes place when a defensive player takes possession of a pass. This is called an interception.
  • A turnover takes place when the disc goes out-of-bounds.
  • A turnover takes place when the offensive team drops the disc on the ground.
  • When the thrower does not pass the disc within 10 seconds, then the play stops and a turnover takes place.
  • The play is stopped and a turnover takes place when the thrower hands the disc to another player.
  • The play is stopped and a turnover takes place when an offensive player assists another teammate to catch a pass.
  • In case of a stall-out call, if the thrower tries already to pass and the pass is incomplete, then the turnover stands and the play starts with a check.
  • A turnover location is where the disc stops or is picked up by an offensive player.
  • If the turnover location is out-of-bounds, a pivot point at the location must be set up by the thrower. The pivot point must be close to the area where the disc went out of bounds.
  • If the turnover location is in the central zone, the thrower must establish a pivot point at that location.
  • If the turnover location is in the offense’s defending end zone, the thrower can choose at the pivot point the nearest location on the goal line.

Fouls, Calling Fouls Rules

Calling Fouls

  • A breach of the rules due to physical contact between opposing players that is more than minor is classified as a foul.
  • Infractions do not stop play.
  • Every breach of the rules is considered a violation.
  • A player can only call a foul if they are the one who was fouled. The player must say “Foul.”
  • Only the thrower can call an infraction by naming it.
  • An opposing player can claim a violation by naming the specific name of the violation.
  • Players must make the call immediately.
  • Players are allowed to retract their call if they determine that it was not the correct one. Players must say “Retracted.”
  • Players are allowed to contest a call if they think it was not the correct one.
  • If a player makes a foul or violation call or attempts to stop play in any way, play is stopped immediately with no chance of a turnover.
  • If a foul is called against the thrower and the thrower passes the disc, then the play continues until possession is established. If the team that made the call gains possession, the play continues. If the team does not gain possession, the play stops.
  • When the thrower calls a foul during the act of throwing, then the play continues.
  • If a foul is called when the disc is still in the air, then the play continues.


  • Dangerous plays are treated as fouls. A dangerous play is when a player becomes aggressive or poses a significant risk of injury to others.
  • A receiving foul is when a player makes non-minor contact with an opponent before, while, or directly after the opponent makes a move for the disc.
  • After a player gets a receiving foul, the fouled player takes control of the disc at the location where the foul happened, even if it’s in an end zone. Play restarts with a check.
  • A blocking foul is when a player stays in a spot that makes it impossible for the opponent, who is moving properly, to avoid them. This situation is treated as an indirect or receiving foul.
  • A force-out foul is when a receiver is fouled by the defense before taking possession of the disc. If the catch would have been in the receiver’s attacking end zone, it’s treated as a goal. If the disc would have become out-of-bounds, it’s a force-out foul if contested.
  • A defensive throwing foul occurs when a defensive player is illegally positioned and then makes non-minor contact with the thrower.
  • An offensive throwing foul is when the thrower makes non-contact with a defensive player who has a legal position.
  • An indirect foul is when there is non-minor contact between a defensive player and a receiver that does not have an impact on the play.
  • An offsetting foul is called when accepted fouls are called by both offensive and defensive players on the same play. In this case, the disc returns to the non-disputed thrower.
  • Another situation when an offsetting foul is declared is when non-minor contact is initiated by opposing players moving toward a single point all at once.

Time-Outs Rules

  • To call a time-out, a player must form a “T” with their hands and loudly say “time-out”.
  • Either team can call a time-out before the start of a new play, and the team receives an additional 75 seconds.
  • After a pull, only the thrower can call a time-out by signaling the “T” with their hands. The time-out lasts for 75 seconds, and substitutions are not allowed during this time.
  • If a team has no remaining time-outs and the thrower attempts to call one, play is stopped, and the marker must add 2 seconds to the stall count before restarting play with a check. If this results in a stall count of 10 or above, it’s considered a “stall-out” turnover.

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About the author: Madalina Salceanu

MadasFounder of, Madalina Salceanu channeled her passion for sports in a blog about sports apparel and equipment. Madalina likes to research daily and discover the latest sportswear trends. Keep reading...

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