Rules of Ultimate

TUC Rules

Commencing Summer 2021, TUC games are generally played according to a slightly modified version of the USAU 2020-2021 Official Rules of Ultimate. Which rule set will be in effect depends on the season. We have outdoor rules (for all of our non-Speedpoint outdoor leagues, particularly summer), fall and spring outdoor Speedpoint rules, indoor rulesindoor 4's rules and beach rules.

Although not techically a "rule", scheduling and standings for most of our leagues are managed by a ladder system, so it doesn't hurt to know a bit about that.

*NOTE:  For 2021, to align with Provincial and Municipal Guidance, and TUC's Safe Return to Play - COVID-19 Guidelines, here are the rule modifications (Toronto Ultimate Club COVID-19 Return to Play Rules) that will be implemented.


Ultimate in Ten Simple Rules

These simple rules are enough to get you started in Ultimate.

USA Ultimate

Copyright © USA Ultimate, 2019

  1. The Field -- A rectangular shape with end zones at each end. A regulation field is 70 yards long by 40 yards wide, with end zones 25 yards deep.
  2. Starting Play -- Each point begins with both teams lining up on the front of opposite end zone lines. The defense throws ("pulls") the disc to the offense. A regulation game has seven players per team.
  3. Scoring -- Each time the offense catches a pass in the defense's end zone, the offense scores a point. The teams switch direction after every goal, and the next point begins with a new pull by the team that just scored.
  4. Movement of the Disc -- The disc may be advanced in any direction by completing a pass to a teammate. Players may not run with the disc. The person with the disc ("thrower") has ten seconds to throw the disc. The defender guarding the thrower ("marker") counts out the stall count.
  5. Change of possession -- When a pass in not completed (e.g. out of bounds, drop, block, interception), the defense immediately takes possession of the disc and becomes the offense.
  6. Substitutions -- Players not in the game may replace players in the game after a score and during an injury timeout.
  7. Non-contact -- Players must attempt to avoid physical contact during play. Picks and screens are also prohibited.
  8. Fouls -- When a player initiates contact on that affects the play, a foul occurs. When a foul causes a player to lose possession, the play resumes as if the possession was retained. If the player that the foul was called against disagrees with the foul call, they play is redone.
  9. Self-Refereeing -- Players are responsible for their own foul and line calls. Players resolve their own disputes.
  10. Spirit of the Game -- The foundation of the rules in ultimate is Spirit of the Game, which places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players, adherence to the rules, and the basic joy of play.

Comprehensive Rules

If you want to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding, check out the official USAU 2020-2021 Offical Rules of Ultimate. This is a great resource, with many inline annotations explaining finer details, intended interpretations, reasons, etc. Other USAU resources include the complete list of changes between the 11th and 2020-2021 edition rules.

There is also a useful Visual Guide to the Rules, which presents simple flowcharts to help you determine the correct outcome in various situations.