Ultimate Frisbee Jargon: Essential Terminology Every Player Should Know

Ultimate Frisbee Jargon: Essential Terminology Every Player Should Know

Are you new to the world of ultimate frisbee and feeling overwhelmed by all the jargon and terminology thrown around by players? Look no further! This article is your ultimate guide to understanding the essential terminology every ultimate frisbee player should know. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player looking to expand your knowledge, we have got you covered. From understanding the basic rules to mastering advanced strategies, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to excel in the game. So, let’s dive in and demystify the world of ultimate frisbee jargon together!

Basic Terminology

In order to fully understand and participate in the thrilling game of Ultimate Frisbee, it is important to familiarize yourself with some basic terminology. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned player, having a good grasp of these terms will enhance your overall gameplay experience. Here are some essential terms every Ultimate Frisbee player should know:

Throwing Techniques

Mastering different throwing techniques is crucial for success in Ultimate Frisbee. The ability to accurately and skillfully throw the disc to your teammates is what sets apart a great player from the rest. Here are some common throwing techniques used in Ultimate Frisbee:

  1. Backhand Throw: The backhand throw is the most fundamental and frequently used throw in Ultimate Frisbee. It involves gripping the disc with your thumb on top and four fingers beneath it. The throwing motion involves swinging your arm across your body and releasing the disc with a flick of the wrist. This throw provides accuracy and control.

  2. Forehand Throw: Also known as the flick, the forehand throw is another essential technique in Ultimate Frisbee. It involves holding the disc with your thumb on the rim and your fingers on the top. The throwing motion involves a snap of the wrist, allowing the disc to rotate as it is released. The forehand throw is ideal for quick, short-distance passes.

  3. Hammer Throw: The hammer throw is an overhead throwing technique used to make long, high passes. It involves gripping the disc with your fingers on the rim and your thumb on the bottom. The throwing motion involves a vertical release, with the disc flipping upside down during flight. This throw is particularly effective for getting over defenders or when throwing in windy conditions.

Catching Techniques

Being able to catch the disc effectively is just as important as throwing it. A good catch can help maintain possession and advance the play for your team. Here are some common catching techniques used in Ultimate Frisbee:

  1. Two-Handed Catch: The two-handed catch is the most basic and widely used catching technique. It involves using both hands to secure the disc as it approaches you. This catch provides stability and control, making it ideal for routine passes.

  2. One-Handed Catch: The one-handed catch is a more advanced technique that allows for greater reach and agility. It involves extending one hand to catch the disc while using your body to maintain balance. This catch is useful for making diving or leaping catches, especially when the disc is out of reach for a two-handed catch.

Field Positions

Understanding the different field positions in Ultimate Frisbee is essential for effective team coordination and gameplay strategies. Each position has specific responsibilities and roles. Here are some key field positions in Ultimate Frisbee:

  1. Handler: Handlers are responsible for initiating the offense and controlling the flow of the game. They typically possess excellent throwing and decision-making skills. Handlers often stay towards the backfield and are involved in initiating plays and distributing the disc to cutters.

  2. Cutter: Cutters are the primary receivers on the field. They are responsible for making cuts, which are quick sprints or changes in direction, to get open and receive passes from the handlers. Cutters need to have good speed, agility, and catching abilities.

  3. Defender: Defenders, also known as markers, are responsible for guarding the opposing players and preventing them from making successful passes. They aim to disrupt the offense, block throws, and force turnovers. Defenders need to have good anticipation, agility, and defensive skills.

By familiarizing yourself with these basic terminology, throwing and catching techniques, and field positions, you will be well-equipped to excel in the exciting world of Ultimate Frisbee. So get out there, practice, and enjoy the exhilarating game with your newfound knowledge!

Gameplay Terms


In the exhilarating sport of Ultimate Frisbee, the term "pull" refers to the initial throw that starts a game or restarts play after a goal is scored. It is similar to a kickoff in football or a serve in tennis. The team that scores the goal or wins the toss gets the opportunity to perform the pull. The objective of the pull is to launch the Frisbee as far as possible into the opponent’s territory, forcing them to start their offensive play from a disadvantageous position. The pull requires precision and power, as a well-executed pull can immediately put the opposing team on the defensive.


The term "stack" is a crucial aspect of offensive strategy in Ultimate Frisbee. It refers to the formation that offensive players adopt in order to create space and facilitate effective movement down the field. The stack typically involves players positioning themselves in a line or semi-circular pattern, with each player maintaining a specific distance from their teammates. By setting up in a stack, offensive players can create passing options and confuse the defensive team. The stack allows for coordinated cuts and strategic positioning, enabling the offense to efficiently advance towards the opponent’s end zone.


In Ultimate Frisbee, the term "force" is used to describe the defensive strategy employed by the defending team to limit the offensive options of the opposing team. The force is typically applied by a defender who positions themselves in a way that restricts the thrower’s ability to pass the Frisbee in a certain direction. The objective of the force is to force the offensive player to make riskier or less comfortable throws, increasing the likelihood of turnovers. The most common forces used in Ultimate Frisbee are "force forehand" and "force backhand," which dictate whether the defender positions themselves to limit throws in the forehand or backhand direction.

By understanding and utilizing these essential gameplay terms – pull, stack, and force – players can enhance their understanding of the game and improve their performance on the field. Whether you are a beginner learning the basics or an experienced player looking to refine your skills, mastering these terms will undoubtedly contribute to your success in the thrilling world of Ultimate Frisbee.

Offensive Strategies

Vertical Stack

The vertical stack is a commonly used offensive strategy in ultimate frisbee. It involves positioning the offensive players in a vertical line down the field, with each player taking turns cutting towards the disc and then clearing out to create space for the next cutter. This strategy is effective for creating deep cutting opportunities and exploiting defensive mismatches.

The key to a successful vertical stack is proper timing and communication between the handlers and cutters. The handlers need to recognize when a cutter is making a move and deliver an accurate throw to their intended target. Cutters, on the other hand, must be aware of their timing and create separation from their defenders to receive the disc.

Horizontal Stack

The horizontal stack is another popular offensive strategy used in ultimate frisbee. Unlike the vertical stack, the horizontal stack involves positioning the offensive players in a horizontal line across the width of the field. This strategy aims to create space for cutters by stretching the defense horizontally.

With the horizontal stack, players take turns cutting from the stack towards the disc and then clearing out to the opposite side of the field. This strategy often requires quick and precise throws to move the disc efficiently. It allows for a variety of cutting options, such as under cuts, deep cuts, and break-side cuts.

The success of the horizontal stack relies heavily on player movement and spacing. Cutters need to time their cuts effectively to exploit gaps in the defense, while handlers must be patient and make smart decisions to maintain possession of the disc.


Isolation is a more specialized offensive strategy in ultimate frisbee. It involves isolating a single player in a one-on-one matchup against a defender. The rest of the offensive players clear out to create space and allow the isolated player to make a move.

This strategy is often used when a team has a particularly skilled or fast player who can outmatch their defender. By isolating this player, the offense aims to create a favorable matchup and increase the chances of a successful completion or scoring opportunity.

Isolation requires precise timing and execution. The isolated player needs to make quick and decisive cuts while the rest of the team provides support and maintains proper spacing. Handlers must be aware of the isolation and deliver accurate throws to take advantage of the favorable matchup.

Using the isolation strategy effectively can be a game-changer, as it puts the defensive team in a difficult position and forces them to adjust their defensive strategy.

Defensive Strategies

Man-to-Man Defense

Man-to-man defense is a fundamental strategy used in Ultimate Frisbee to mark and guard opposing players individually. Each defender is assigned a specific opponent to cover, with the objective of preventing them from receiving or advancing the Frisbee. This defensive approach involves tight marking, quick agility, and constant communication between teammates to ensure effective coverage. By employing man-to-man defense, teams aim to disrupt the flow of the opposition’s offensive plays, force turnovers, and regain possession of the Frisbee.

Zone Defense

Zone defense is another commonly used strategy in Ultimate Frisbee, wherein defenders collectively guard specific areas of the playing field rather than marking individual opponents. The objective of the zone defense is to create a defensive wall or barrier that makes it challenging for the opposing team to execute passes and find open receivers. This strategy involves players positioning themselves strategically to cover specific zones, often in a formation such as a cup, wall, or diamond. Zone defense can be highly effective in preventing long throws, forcing opponents into making errors, and generating turnovers.

Force Middle

Force Middle is a defensive tactic that aims to restrict the offensive team’s options by forcing them to throw the Frisbee towards the middle of the field. By employing this strategy, defenders position themselves in a way that encourages the offensive players to throw inward rather than towards the sidelines. The objective of forcing middle is to limit the available space for the offense, making it easier for defenders to anticipate and intercept passes. This defensive approach requires coordination and communication among teammates to maintain the force and effectively restrict the offensive team’s movement.

Implementing a combination of man-to-man defense, zone defense, and strategic tactics such as force middle can greatly enhance a team’s defensive prowess in Ultimate Frisbee. By understanding and implementing these defensive strategies, players can effectively disrupt the opposition’s offensive plays, create turnovers, and gain an advantage in the game.

Tournament Terms

Pool Play

In the world of Ultimate Frisbee tournaments, pool play refers to the initial phase of a competition where teams are divided into smaller groups called pools. Each pool consists of several teams who compete against each other in a round-robin format. Pool play is a crucial stage as it determines the seeding for the subsequent bracket play.

During pool play, teams within a pool face off against one another, usually playing every other team in their pool. This format allows teams to showcase their skills and strategies while accumulating points based on their performance. The outcome of these matches often determines which teams advance to the bracket play and in what position they are seeded.

Bracket Play

Once pool play concludes, the tournament moves into the bracket play phase. In bracket play, teams are ranked based on their performance during pool play and are placed in a single-elimination bracket. This means that each team competes against another team in a knockout format, where the winner advances to the next round while the loser is eliminated from the tournament.

Bracket play adds an extra level of excitement and intensity to the tournament, as each match becomes crucial and can be the deciding factor for a team’s overall performance. As teams progress through the bracket, the competition becomes tougher, and the stakes get higher. Ultimately, the team that emerges victorious from the final match of the bracket play is crowned the tournament champion.


Seeding is a vital aspect of any Ultimate Frisbee tournament, and it plays a significant role in determining the matchups during pool play and bracket play. Seeding refers to the ranking or placement of teams based on their performance or predetermined criteria.

Teams are typically seeded based on their performance in previous tournaments, their overall skill level, or a combination of various factors. The goal of seeding is to ensure a fair and balanced tournament by grouping teams of similar skill levels together, especially during the pool play phase. This helps to create competitive matchups and increase the overall quality of play.

Seeding also affects a team’s path in the bracket play phase. Higher-seeded teams usually face lower-seeded teams in the early rounds, providing them with a potentially easier pathway to the later stages of the competition. Conversely, lower-seeded teams often face tougher opponents right from the start, making their journey through the bracket more challenging.

In conclusion, understanding these tournament terms – pool play, bracket play, and seeding – is essential for every Ultimate Frisbee player. These terms shape the structure and dynamics of a tournament, determining the teams’ progress, matchups, and ultimately, the crowning of a champion.

In conclusion, understanding the essential terminology in ultimate frisbee is crucial for every player. By familiarizing themselves with the jargon, players can communicate effectively, strategize efficiently, and enhance their overall performance on the field. Whether it’s learning about the different throws, defensive strategies, or game-specific terminology, this article has provided a comprehensive guide to equip players with the knowledge they need to excel in the sport. By incorporating these terms into their vocabulary, players can deepen their understanding of ultimate frisbee and become more confident and skilled players. So, go ahead and embrace the jargon, and take your ultimate frisbee game to new heights!