Ultimate Rules

BrantfordAthletics.ca Official Ultimate Rules

(modified from USA Ultimate Rules for Intramural Ultimate Web: www.usaultimate.org Email: info@hq.usaultimate.org)


It is assumed that no player will intentionally violate the rules; thus, there are no harsh penalties for inadvertent infractions, but rather a method to resume play simulating what most likely would have occurred absent the infraction. In Ultimate, an intentional infraction is considered cheating and an offense against the spirit of sportsmanship. A player may be in a position to gain an advantage by committing an infraction, but that player is morally bound to abide by the rules. Each player is responsible for upholding the Spirit of the Game™ (see below), and this responsibility should remain paramount.

I. Introduction

A) Description: BrantfordAthletics.ca Ultimate is a non-contact disc sport played by two teams of five players with the objective of scoring goals. A goal is scored when a player catches the disc in the end zone that player is attacking. A player may not run while holding the disc. The disc is advanced by passing it to other players. The disc may be passed in any direction. If a pass is incomplete (i.e., hits the ground, is caught out-of-bounds, or is intercepted by a defensive player), a turnover occurs, resulting in an immediate change of the team in possession of the disc. An attempt to unfairly disadvantage an opponent through physical contact is a foul. Ultimate is self-officiated – there are no referees; players are responsible for making their own infraction and boundary (including scoring) calls.

B) Spirit of the Game: Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play. Protection of these vital elements serves to eliminate unsportsmanlike conduct from the Ultimate field. Such actions as taunting opposing players, dangerous aggression, belligerent intimidation, intentional infractions, or other “win-at-all-costs” behavior are contrary to the spirit of the game and must be avoided by all players.

II. Playing Field

The field is a rectangle with an end zone at each end.

III. Equipment

A. Rubber and molded cleats, turf shoes, or running shoes may be worn. No metal cleats.

B. Players must remove all jewelry.

C. Teams must wear shirts or jerseys of matching color, or pinnies.

D. Any disc acceptable to both teams may be used. The standard competition disc is 175 grams.

IV. Players

A team consists of five (5) players with a maximum of three (3) male players.

V. Playing the Game BrantfordAthletics.ca Ultimate

A. Game Time and the Duration of the Match
All matches will start on time. It is the responsibility of both teams to ensure they begin the match at the correct start time. If a team is not ready to play, a goal will be awarded to the opposing team after the first 3 minutes that the team must wait and for every 3 minutes after that (assuming the opposing team was ready to go for the full time). When the game begins, the team that was waiting MUST make it clear to the opposing team that they plan on accepting bonus goals for lateness. If nothing is said then it's understood that both teams were on time. If a team is not ready to play after 15 minutes, the match will be declared a forfeit. A team may elect to play the game short players but they may not have more than 3 men on the field even if they have an extra man but no women to play. The game consists of two 25-minute halves with a 5-minute half time. Time is continuous for each half.  Players keep track of the time themselves.  When the time expires, the teams can agree to finish the point as long as it doesn’t last for an unreasonable amount of time.

B. Starting and Restarting Play

1. A fair method, such as a coin or disc toss, will be conducted by representatives of the two teams.  The winner chooses to either receive the initial pull, or select the end zone they wish to defend.

2. The other team is given the remaining choice.

3. After a point ends, it is recommended that players begin the next point within 90 seconds.

4. After a turnover, a player on the team becoming offense may immediately pick up the disc and put it back into play by establishing a pivot foot in-bounds.

5. The second half begins with an automatic reversal of the initial choices.

C. Scoring

1. A goal is scored when an in-bounds player catches a pass in the end zone of attack.

2. The team with the most goals at the end of the game is declared the winner.

3. If the score is tied at the end of regulation, the game will be counted as a tie.  During playoffs, a tie is broken by playing one additional goal (sudden death).

D. Time-outs

1.  There are no time-outs unless there are extenuating circumstances.

E. Pull

1. Play starts at the beginning of each half and after each goal with a “pull” -- a player on the pulling team throws the disc toward the opposite goal line to begin play.

2. Each time a goal is scored, the teams switch their direction of attack and the team that scored pulls to the opposing team.

3. On a pull, players must remain in their end zone (not cross the goal line) until the disc is released.

4. A pull may not be made until a player on the receiving team indicates readiness to play by raising a hand.

5. After the disc is released, all players may move in any direction.

6. No player on the pulling team may touch the pull in the air before a member of the receiving team touches it.

7. If a member of the receiving team catches the pull on the playing field, that player must put the disc into play from that spot.  Note:  If a member of the receiving team touches the disc before it touches the ground and drops the disc, it is a turnover and the pulling team gets possession.

8. If the receiving team allows the disc to fall untouched to the ground, and the disc initially lands inbounds, the receiving team gains possession of the disc where it stops if in-bounds or at the point on the playing field, excluding the end zone, nearest to where it crossed the out-of-bounds line.

9. If the pull lands out-of-bounds the receiving team puts the disc into play at the point on the playing field, excluding the end zone, nearest to where it crossed the out-of-bounds line.

Note:  If the disc lands and stays in the end zone, the receiving team must start play from that point in the end zone.  (This only applies on the pull.  During normal play, after the pull, if the disc lands in the end zone the disc can be brought to the nearest point on the field outside the end zone.)

F. In and Out-of-Bounds

1. The perimeter lines themselves are out-of-bounds.

2. A disc is out-of-bounds when it first contacts an out-of-bounds area or anything which is out-of-bounds.

3. For a receiver to be considered in-bounds after gaining possession of the disc, the first point of contact with the ground must be completely in-bounds. If any portion of the first point of contact is out-of-bounds, the player is considered to be out-of-bounds.

4. If a player makes a catch in-bounds and momentum then carries him/her out-of-bounds, the player is considered in-bounds (to continue play, the player carries the disc to the point where s/he went out-of-bounds and puts the disc into play at that point).

5. The thrower may pivot in and out-of-bounds, provided that the pivot foot is in-bounds.

G. Turnovers

1. A turnover occurs when:

a. A pass is incomplete (dropped, hits the ground, is caught out of bounds, blocked, intercepted). A receiver must retain possession of the disc throughout all ground contact related to the catch (if a player falls to the ground during a catch and drops the disc, it is incomplete).

b. The marker’s count reaches the maximum number (10) before the throw is released.

c. When a turnover occurs, any member of the team becoming offense may take possession of the disc.

d. To initiate play after a turnover, the person picking up the disc must put it into play at the spot of the turnover. If the disc landed out of bounds, the offensive player puts the disc into play at the point where it crossed the out-of-bounds line.

H. Substitutions: May be made after a goal and prior to the ensuing pull, before the beginning of a half, or to replace an injured or ejected player. If, for some reason, a player desperately needs to come off of the field during play, that player may not be replaced while the opposing team has possession of the disc. Once the team with the missing player gains possession, the replacement player may come onto the field if the team hands over possession of the disc at that point.

VI. The Thrower

A. Any member of the offensive team may take possession of the disc.

B. The thrower must establish a pivot foot and may not change that pivot foot until the throw is released.

C. The thrower may pivot in any direction, but once the marker has established a legal defensive position, the thrower may not pivot into him/her.

VII. The Marker

A. Only one player may guard the thrower at any one time; that player is the “marker.”

B. The marker may not straddle the pivot foot of the thrower.

C. There must be at least one disc's diameter between the bodies of the thrower and the marker at all times.

D. The marker cannot position his/her arms in such a manner as to restrict the thrower from pivoting.

E. Stall count: The period of time within which a thrower must release a throw.

1. A player in possession of the disc has 10 seconds to release a throw.

2. The marker must be within 10 feet of the person with the disc before beginning the stall count.

3. The stall count consists of the marker counting to 10 audibly at one second intervals (e.g. “stall one, stall two, stall three . . . .”).

4. If the thrower has not released the disc by the count of 10, a turnover results. If this call is disputed, the thrower gets the disc back with the stall count coming in at “stalling 8.”

5. If the defense switches markers, the new marker must restart the count at one.

VIII. The Receiver

A. After catching a pass, the receiver may take only the fewest number of steps required to come to a stop and establish a pivot foot.

B. Exception: If the receiver catches the disc while running, s/he may throw a pass without coming to a stop, but only so long as s/he releases the disc before the third ground contact after catching the disc.

C. If offensive and defensive players catch the disc simultaneously, the offense retains possession.

IX. Fouls and Violations

A foul is the result of physical contact between opposing players; a violation generally is any other infraction of the rules. When an infraction (a foul or violation) occurs:

A. The offending player loudly calls out the infraction (e.g., “Travel,” “Foul,” etc.).

B. A player called for an infraction may contest that call (by loudly calling “contest”), if that player believes that s/he did not commit the infraction.

Note:  After calling “contest”, there is no need to discuss the infraction or to resolve who is right or wrong.  There is obviously a disagreement so the play returns to the original position and the play starts over.  Remember that sportsmanship is key.

C. After a call, play stops and players remain stationary until the parties involved have resolved the call.

D. If a call is not disputed, play resumes in a way simulating what most likely would have occurred without the infraction. E.g., 1) If a thrower was fouled while throwing and the pass was incomplete, the thrower gets the disc back with a new stall count, or 2) If a receiver is fouled on a reception attempt and the pass is incomplete, the receiver gets the disc at the point that the foul occurred.  Note:  If a receiver has possession in the end zone and loses possession because of a foul that is uncontested, a goal is scored.  If a receiver does not have possession and is fouled (uncontested) on a reception in the end zone, the offence gains possession on the goal line. 

E. If a call is disputed and the players cannot come to a resolution, the play is redone with each player returning to the position s/he occupied when the disputed infraction allegedly occurred.

F. Infractions include:

1. Foul: Contact between opposing players.

2. Fast count: When the marker counts at intervals of less than one second.

3. Double-team: When more than one defensive player is guarding the thrower within 10 feet.

4. Disc space: If the marker touches or is less than one disc diameter away from the thrower.

5. Travel: When a thrower fails to establish a pivot foot at the appropriate spot on the field, and/or to keep in contact with that spot until the throw is released.

6. Strip: When a defensive player knocks the disc out of a thrower’s hands.

7. Pick: Obstructing the movement of a player on the opposing team.

X. Positioning

A. Each player is entitled to occupy any position on the field not occupied by another player.

B. Picks: No player may establish a position, or move in such a manner, so as to obstruct the movement of any player on the opposing team; to do so is a pick.

C. When the disc is in the air, players must play the disc, not the opponent.

D. Each player has the right to the space immediately above him/her. A player who has jumped is entitled to land at the same point of take off without hindrance by opponents.

XI. Player Conduct


Acts of unsportsmanlike conduct, including unnecessary roughness, arguing fighting, abusive language, purposely not following the rules, purposely fouling to gain an advantage, will not be tolerated.  This is an adult league that is geared towards players who can control their emotions enough to play in a sportsmanlike fashion at all times.  If you do not fit into this category, this league is not for you.

XII. Etiquette

A. If an infraction is committed and not called, the player committing the infraction should inform the infracted player or team of the infraction.

B. It is the responsibility of all players to avoid any delay when starting, restarting, or continuing play. This includes standing over the disc or taking more time than reasonably necessary to put the disc into play.

C. On a stoppage of play, if it is ever unclear which of a team's members are the current players or where they are on or off the field, they should identify themselves when the opposing team requests.

D. If a dispute arises on the field, play stops and is restarted with a check when the matter is resolved.

E. If a novice player commits an infraction out of sincere ignorance of the rules, it should be common practice to stop play and explain the infraction.

F. When a call is made, throwers must stop play by visibly or audibly communicating the stoppage as soon as they are aware of the call and all players should echo calls on the field.

G. In addition to the assumption that players will not intentionally violate the rules, players are similarly expected to make every effort to avoid violating them.