Credit: Alberto Rossi Hernandez

Season preview: ultimate frisbee

Credit: Alberto Rossi Hernandez

Elise Camilleri-Brennan

In a nutshell, Ultimate Frisbee is a non-contact, self-refereeing team sport played with a flying disc. The aim is to get the disc into the “end-zone” on the opposite side of the field, which is defended by the other team. Like in American football, a goal is scored if you catch the disc in the end-zone. You cannot run with the disc (but you can pivot, like in netball), and there is a time limit on how long you can hold the disc without throwing it. Anyone can catch the disc whilst in mid-air, and if you’re on defence you can knock it to the ground to gain your team possession. Tactics are crucial, and between each point team tactics may change depending on the other teams’ performance and/or weather conditions. As the game is self-refereed, it relies on the integrity of the players to call their own fouls. (Players are expected to know the lengthy rules inside-out.) A major part of ultimate is the Spirit of the Game, which is similar to sportsmanship and fair play, and teams are scored on it after each game.

The game is fast-paced and requires a high level of fitness. Each team will have at least 12 players in their squad, so after every point the players are substituted, keeping energy at a consistent high. Ultimate Frisbee is played both indoors and outdoors; a typical outdoors game is played to 15 points, or up to 90 minutes, with potential for one point to last more than 20 minutes!

FarFlung, the University team, has a long list of achievements from previous years: our mixed first team won Indoor Regionals and Nationals last year, both times playing against Edinburgh in the final, and our men’s first team became BUCS Indoor National Champions! Mixed Outdoor Nationals was cancelled halfway through this year due to the “Beast from the East”, so as it stands, our mixed team is currently undefeated for 2 years straight. Our women’s team smashed it and gave their best performance so far at Outdoor Nationals, coming 4th overall and 9th at Indoor Nationals. Whilst our first team is a big focus, we also place big importance on the development of all club players. We try to send as many development teams as possible to tournaments. Our second team at Indoor Mixed Regionals only just missed out on a qualifying place at Nationals, and we usually send 5 teams in total to this tournament, including an all Freshers team.

This year we hope to continue our streak of success and still have high hopes; more than ever, we are pursuing new recruits and the development of strong and cohesive teams. The loss of recent graduates, especially in our women’s squad, means we are even more keen than usual to recruit Freshers, and you’re more likely to get to play bigger tournaments!

We have training sessions twice a week, with our first team squad potentially having an extra morning session. Don’t let this put you off however, because as well as the training side of things, we’re good at having fun! In September, we host taster sessions that are open to all, with a barbeque at the end of Freshers’ Week as our first social of the year, serving as the perfect chance to meet everyone. Our socials vary from big nights out featuring a “3-pints in a Frisbee challenge” to more chilled socials, such as movie nights, so there is always something for everyone. Not forgetting our two biggest events of the year: the Christmas dinner and end-of-year social. At the end of the year, we hand out awards to every club member, and present awards to the male and female Best Beginner, MIP and MVP, so it’s always an exciting night.

Various beginners’ tournaments are held throughout the year, the first one being Edinburgh Beginners at the end of September. This is a great chance for newbies to try out the sport and play a game with minimal input from experienced players. Tournaments usually last a full weekend, and we stay at a fellow frisbee players flat in the host city. We host “Glasgow One Day”, which as you can probably guess is a tournament in Glasgow lasting only one day. The format of the tournament means that you are guaranteed plenty of games throughout the day, instead of only three or four as in normal tournaments. We take as many teams as possible to beginner events and mix up beginners with experienced players, which is a good way to make fast progress. During these weekends there is often a themed party on the Saturday night, with a party prize up for grabs for the most creative club.

Playing ultimate at university is truly one of the best decisions I have made, and I would highly recommend it to everyone. It’s a fun way to keep fit and meet some great people whilst you’re at it. If you’re looking to try something different, or even if you’re still unsure whether ultimate frisbee is for you, come along to our taster sessions and you might be surprised!


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