Clearing out, properly

Most of you playing Ultimate would've already heard this from one of the senior players on your team, but here we go, anyway: There are only two speeds for cutters in Ultimate, zero and full-speed. This may be a little bit of an exception, but most players who have played for a few months would already realize that handlers don't give you a disk, if you are not cutting at your full speed! But, the speed rule doesn't hold true only when you are cutting. It holds when you are clearing too! You need to be clearing as hard as you cut, and still "remain active" when you are clearing. By active, I mean that you should still be expecting a pass from the handler, and be ready to catch anything that your handlers sends at you. Even if that's not the case, you should atleast make your defender believe that you are active. Otherwise, he/she can poach on you!

I often use the "extent" to which my defender is poaching on me, as an indicator of how active I am on the field. If I'm letting my defender poach on me and get discs going to other players on my team, I'm definitely not being active enough. This can be used as an indicator not just when I'm standing in the (vert/ho) stack and waiting, but also when I'm clearing. When clearing, you should ideally be looking at your handler atleast from the corner of your eye, and keep looking for opportunities of asking for a pass, the moment your defender slackens a little upon you.



Rule of the Week: Spirit of the Game

I'm going to post one rule a week, starting this week, and this should ensure at least one post a week up to Feb, '14!

I'm also going to post the official interpretations of the rules, from the WFDF interpretation guide that complements the rule book.

The WFDF interpretation guide also mentions the general principles on which the rules of Ultimate are based. It would definitely help players to be aware of these principles.

General Principles for the Rules of Ultimate (from WFDF interpretations)

The Rules of Ultimate are based on principles that outline how the game should be played and how to resolve issues. When encountering a scenario that is not expressly described by the rules, these principles are a good guide to help resolve the issue:

  • It is trusted that no player will intentionally violate the rules; thus there are no harsh penalties for breaches, but rather a method for resuming play in a manner which simulates what would most likely have occurred had there been no breach.
  • A team should not be disadvantaged because the opposition has made an error or caused a breach.
  • Calls should only be made where a breach has occurred that has a meaningful impact on the game. Players should allow for a reasonable degree of tolerance for minor breaches involving small discrepancies in distance and time.
  • Not everybody sees a situation in the same light. Two players with a very good view of a situation can still see very different things happening. Human perception is not perfect. Players should be aware of this when trying to resolve calls.
  • If a call cannot be resolved then the disc shall be returned to where possession was last undisputed and play shall resume as it was prior to the call.

Rule #1: Spirit of the Game

  1. Ultimate is a non-contact, self-refereed sport. All players are responsible for administering and adhering to the rules. Ultimate relies upon a Spirit of the Game that places the responsibility for fair play on every player.
  2. It is trusted that no player will intentionally break the rules; thus there are no harsh penalties for breaches, but rather a method for resuming play in a manner which simulates what would most likely have occurred had there been no breach.
  3. Players should be mindful of the fact that they are acting as referees in any arbitration between teams. Players must:
    1. know the rules;
    2. be fair-minded and objective;
    3. be truthful;
    4. explain their viewpoint clearly and briefly;
    5. allow opponents a reasonable chance to speak;
    6. resolve disputes as quickly as possible, using respectful language;
    7. make calls in a consistent manner throughout the game;
    8. only make a call where a breach is significant enough to make a difference to the outcome of the action.
  4. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but should never sacrifice the mutual respect between players, adherence to the agreed-upon rules of the game, or the basic joy of play.
  5. The following actions are examples of good spirit:
    1. informing a team-mate if they have made a wrong or unnecessary call or caused a foul or violation;
    2. retracting a call when you no longer believe the call was necessary;
    3. complimenting an opponent for good play or spirit;
    4. introducing yourself to your opponent; and
    5. reacting calmly towards disagreement or provocation.
  6. The following actions are clear violations of the spirit of the game and must be avoided by all participants:
    1. dangerous play and aggressive behaviour;
    2. intentional fouling or other intentional rule violations;
    3. taunting or intimidating opposing players;
    4. disrespectful celebration after scoring;
    5. making calls in retaliation to an opponent’s call; and
    6. calling for a pass from an opposition player.
  7. Teams are guardians of the Spirit of the Game, and must:
    1. take responsibility for teaching their players the rules and good spirit;
    2. discipline players who display poor spirit; and
    3. provide constructive feedback to other teams about how to improve their adherence to the Spirit of the Game.
  8. In the case where a novice player commits an infraction out of ignorance of the rules, experienced players are obliged to explain the infraction.
  9. An experienced player, who offers advice on rules and guides on-field arbitration, may supervise games involving beginners or younger players.
  10. Rules should be interpreted by the players directly involved in the play, or by players who had the best perspective on the play. Non-players, apart from the captain, should refrain from getting involved. However players may seek the perspective of non-players to clarify the rules, and to assist players to make the appropriate call for "down" calls and line calls.
  11. Players and captains are solely responsible for making all calls.
  12. If, after discussion, players cannot agree what occurred in a play, the disc shall be returned to the last non-disputed thrower.


  1. Providing evidence to support a call (1.3.4)


    It is an essential component of good spirit that a player must be prepared, if asked, to explain concisely the objective evidence that led to making a call, or contesting a call.


    After making a travel call, if asked, the defender might explain "I saw you lift your pivot foot while the disc was still in your hand."


    The objective evidence is evidence that can be tested for validity. It makes it clear that the call was not based on emotion or what the player wanted or expected to happen, but what they actually observed.

    If a player is not reasonably certain of the objective evidence, they should not make a call.


    Players should be aware and understanding of the language limitations accompanying international play, however opponents should still be able to communicate, even through gestures, what they saw. Team captains and team mates should get involved if they think their team’s player is wrong or does not behave correctly.

  2. Making calls in a consistent manner throughout the game (1.3.7)


    Players should make calls without taking into account the context of the game. This means that players should not start making more calls just because the game is nearly over and the scores are quite close.


    If at the start of the game minor travel infractions were not called, then they should not be called later in the game.

  3. Only calling significant breaches (1.3.8)


    Players should allow for a reasonable degree of tolerance for minor breaches involving small discrepancies in distance and time.


    If the thrower established a pivot one centimetre away from the correct pivot point then a travel infraction should not be called.

  4. Disrespectful celebration after scoring (1.6.4)


    This includes spiking directed at an opponent and taunting of the opponent by "showing" them the disc. These actions must be avoided.


    Opposing team captains should discuss all matters relating to violations of spirit and try to resolve them.

  5. Seeking perspective from non players (1.10)


    It is still up to the players involved to make the final call. Non players must not provide verbal advice regarding a call unless they are requested to by the players involved.

    Line calls are defined as any call relating to the spot that the disc became or went out-of-bounds, or a player's position relative to the perimeter lines or goal line. Line calls relate to the following calls: "out-of-bounds", "goal" and "offside".

  6. Discussion of what occurred in a play (1.12)


    Before the disc is returned to the thrower when players cannot agree, players should discuss what happened in the play. Both players involved should attempt to clearly explain what they think happened and listen to the view of their opponent, or other players with good perspective on the play.

    If discussion is difficult due to a language barrier, then gestures or recreations of the incident can be used to indicate what was experienced during the incident (eg. striking yourself across the back of the hand to show that your hand was hit as you were trying to catch the disc).

    The discussion should be as brief as possible with the preferred outcome being either a retracted call, or an uncontested call. However once it becomes clear that no resolution will be reached, the disc should be returned to the last non- disputed thrower.

Spirit of the Game Stoppage (Appendix 9)

  1. If a team's captain believes that either or both teams are failing to follow the Spirit of the Game (SOTG), they may call a "Spirit of the Game Stoppage". This can only be called:
    1. After a call which stops the play or any other stoppage, prior to the disc being checked in.
    2. After the start of a point and prior to the ensuing pull.
  2. During this stoppage, neither team may engage in tactical discussions. All team members of both teams will form a "spirit circle" in the middle of the field.
  3. Separately from the spirit circle, the two opposing team captains shall discuss all current issues with adherence to SOTG, determine actions to rectify those issues, and then convey the agreement to the spirit circle.
  4. SOTG stoppages do not affect, nor are they affected by, the number of time-outs available.
  5. Time taken for a SOTG Stoppage will be added to the game time to determine time caps for the game. The captain initiating the Stoppage will convey the start and end of the Stoppage to game officials for time-keeping purposes.

Additional Reading:

  1. Huddle Issue #24 Top players from around the world, write about their views on SOTG.
  2. History of SOTG and observers in the game [pdf]


Surat Ultimate Open 2013, Again!

Surat Ultimate Open is here again! For the second time in 2013, Fountainhead School is going to host a tournament. Delhi and Surat swapped spots on the calendar, due to some issues with organizing the Delhi tournament in November.

The last tournament in March 2013 was super fun, with good accommodation and awesome food arranged by the school, along with amazing fields to play on and lots of teams! Look at this facebook event for more details on the upcoming tournament. See you there!

PS: I'm back to writing here, after a break of about a month!