When you start playing you want to get better, quick. These tips will do exactly that. You will learn most important skills in Ultimate. Get ready to destroy your competitors!
These beginner tips helped me the most when I started playing Ultimate Frisbee. In this post we cover throwing, marking, easy but powerful tactics and much more. I already implemented all of these tips.
Trust me! They will make you better very fast!
Let’s jump right into it.
1. Jump higher than your defender
Everyone who played Ultimate Frisbee before has expirenced it.
Your teammate fires the disc all over the field. It’s flying towards the endzone.
You are running after it. Getting closer and closer.
The disc is still high up in the air. You already think about the catch.
Everyone will celebrate you.
The chance to become the hero.
Now you are in the endzone.
You start jumping.
Stretch your arm to reach the disc.
You can almost touch it.
But SUPRISE! Your defender jumped higher and blocked you.
So how do you avoid this situation in the future?
I see it every day in our practice. Beginners try to jump but they jump way to early and don’t use their body.
When you are about to jump you need to store energy in your body. Either you do it by excercising to increase your strength or you use the right movement.
Here is a great YouTube Video about excercises to increase strength.
The right technique helps you instantly.
Before your jump make sure to bring your arms down. During the last step lower your whole body by bending your knee and hip.
Then it‘s release time.
Open up your knees and your hip. Stretch yourself.
And fire your arms in the air.
This creates momentum to shoot you high up in the air.
When you are about to catch the disc you stretch one arm even further to get the last height out of your body.
Practice without running first. Go down, bring your arms down and then fire both up.
You can feel and see the immediate improvement.
2. defend a faster player
Worst feeling ever? Marking a fast player! You feel that everything you do won‘t help. Before you catch up the disc is already caught.
This happens to me at least once every practice.
I got super annoyed and asked a more experienced player for advice.
The advice he gave me helped me to really crack to code of defending.
The goal is not to avoid any throw, rather you force the cutter in the direction you want him to go.
And how do you manage to do that?
Use your body and size. If you are a bigger slower player you will probably have always faster ones to defend, so pay attention 😉
You are right! Ultimate Frisbee is a non contact sport therefore defending takes practice.
You want to position yourself in a way, that the cutter has only one option to go.
Open up the space where you want him or her to run.
Yes, you are not allowed to run into them. But so are they!
Use different routes to control the open space.
Another important part is to watch what the cutter is doing during the ultimate game.
If you know where he will go, than you can choose your route to avoid him from pulling away.
That was another tip I got from an AUDL player.
Stop faster players from speeding up by cutting them off. Don’t foul them!
This takes even more practice and requires game intelligence.
If you get it down, faster players are not fast anymore! And then you have the size advantage as well.
In short: move the cutter where it is best for you.
My biggest advice would be to use your size. It can be a huge advantage. Start nice and close to your person so you can touch them and use your body to keep them from using any speed they may have over you.
If you set up in between them and the space they want to run to they need to figure out a way to get around you. If you can move side to side to keep chipping them they can’t get up to speed.
It’s more scary and higher risk/reward but if you practice this you will be able to prevent them from being fast and then they have to play the size game with you.
3. Stop the disc from tilting during hard throws
Still one of my biggest problems! I am always a bit scared when I have to throw the disc at the start of each point (throw-off).
The goal is to send the disc over the whole field. Therefore you need a lot of power.
Oh man I fucked that up a lot.
The worst was when we played inside and the disc went of to to right. I took down the emergency exit sign.
This is the moment many beginners are scared of. But hey… I am still alive.
A great tip i got was to tilt the disc in the opposite direction. When you pull a long throw an the disc always tilts to the right. Then release it tilted to the left.
This needs some practice but it really helps to balance out the throw.
The second little tip to avoid a bad throw that goes of to one side, is to position your fingers right.
Sometimes the disc sticks to the fingers and ends up almost killing a spectator.
Make sure your index finger sits on the rim and does not touch the inside of the disc.
With this litte change I could avoid most of my bad throws.
4. Block the throw like a boss
You made a mistake and the defender got the disc? Now you need to make up for your loss. You want to see the disc hit the floor! A straight monster block would let you feel like a boss.
How do you block a throw right away?
There are three tips that helped me:
First you need to be unpredictable to stop the thrower from waiting for the right moment. This means moving your arm like a moron. Go up and down, left right with no real pattern. The player won‘t be able to find the perfect time to throw the disc.
Second tip is to appear smaller than you are. This takes a few times to get it right. You want the thrower to think your reach is smaller.
How is it done? During the first few seconds you try to move with the thrower. But make sure you only do 80% of your actual reach.
The thrower will see how far your arms go out. When he or she is really about to throw they will go a bit further than before, so the disc goes past.
But then you use the last 20% you were hiding. And surprise them with your reach. And boom! You blocked them from throwing.
The hard part is to figure out when the player is throwing. Take your time and try it in your Ultimate practice first.
This is a tip which can only used rarely and only once or twice on the same thrower. So choose the right moment, young padawan!
Third tip is to read your player. This is probably the typical coach sentence and no one knows what it means.
Let me explain a bit.
An Ultimate Frisbee Game goes on for quite some time. Use this time to watch the players.
How do they look when they are faking a throw?
Is there a hint in their movement when they are actually throwing?
Are they looking around or have they focused on a target?
What about the grip? Forehand or Backhand?
All this questions give you a look in the future. You know where and when they are throwing before they even know it themself.
Very common habit for Ultimate Frisbee beginners, is that they only have two or three patterns of movement they use to fake a throw.
Just watch them for some throws and you know which combination they are doing.
If you implement these tips you will be able to block more throws. And you can really get into the head of your opponent.
This is even more fun! You don’t even have to block but they are so scared you know their next move that they stress and make stupid throws.
5. How to nail every throw
This sounds to good to be true right? Especially as a Ultimate Frisbee Beginner, when you are maybe scared to take the disc.
Don’t worry! Everyone has that fear in the beginning!
I had it in every sports I played before.
Until I started playing Ultimate Frisbee and got this tip.
It‘s a simple tip but the one that helped me the most.
Now I am one of the best throwers in our team.
The tip is: Take your time!
Boring right? And you heard that before. But do me a favor! Remind yourself.
As soon as you get the disc. Breath and wait. You have 10 seconds to throw. That’s an eternity.
It’s very hard I know. But just stop and watch the field. Don’t care about your defender counting. Look where your mates are running and where a gap will appear.
Try to predict the movement of the different players.
And very important! Don’t pivot around all the time.
Many beginners are on fire and try to break every block and just pivot around. This will prohibit you from watching the field.
Remember to watch and breath!
Please try it in your next Ultimate game! This changed everything for me.
When you try it a few times you gain confidence with every throw. And then you test out new throws, deeper throws and so on.
Then you supercharge your learning and get even more confident. This is an upwards spiral!
My best day was when I tried my first hammer in a game. Keep in mind. Been insecure all my live when I had the ball (played soccer)
But I stayed calm. Watched the field. And saw my teammate running towards the edge of the field.
I just went for the hammer and it landed perfectly.
Afterwards I felt like a hero.
These tips helped me the most as a beginner. Some are easy to implement and work right away. Others take time and make you better step by step.
If you want to read more about tactics, throws and tips about Ultimate Frisbee, read more articles in this beginners guide.
Thank you for reading and have don’t forget to have fun my dudes!