Ultimate Frisbee

Ultimate frisbee is a game near and dear to my heart. I love playing it more than almost anything else. This article is not meant to be a "how to" or an advanced strategy guide. Rather, it is supposed to be a bunch of points that I feel every ultimate player could benefit from.
Have fun
If this isn't the most important point to you, you might as well stop reading now. Obviously we all have more fun when we win, but if winning is the only way to have fun, you might be ruining the game for everyone else on the field. I like to play each game to my very best. If I feel I had a good game, then I had fun regardless of the score.

Know the rules
I'm not saying that you need to adhere strictly to all the rules and be a huge jerk. It is important to know what the rules are so that you don't break them and you don't let anyone take advantage of you.

Embrace the spirit of the game
Ultimate was designed to be a game ruled entirely by spirit. While that concept seems to be fading today, you can do your part to keep it alive. What's the spirit of the game? Don't be a jerk. Don't spike the disc. Don't call a foul that didn't happen, and don't contest one that did. Go out there to have fun and play a good clean game.

Play as hard as you can
I seem to be off to a slow and obvious start. I shouldn't really have to mention any of the points I already have. Unfortunately I've played on many many teams where people only kind of play hard. I'm not saying you need to be good. I'm simply saying that you should try as hard as you possibly can. Unless you don't have subs there is nothing wrong with playing every other point if that's what it takes.

Winning contested arials
When most people learn to read a disc they run and stand under the first point they'll be able to grab the disc. They often get beat by people who can't read as well and end up chasing the disc to that point. Why? Because you can jump much higher with momentum and the people that are chasing the disc have more momentum. To use this to your advantage, run to a couple yards away from where you will first be able to grab the disc and then time your approach so you're taking a couple steps toward the disc before you jump for it.

Good cuts
Start by running straight at your defender as if you are going to run right through their legs. This gets them on their heels. Then fake one way until your defender has turned their hips and switch directions.

Good man-d
On defense, when you're setting up next to the person you're guarding, try to keep your hips perpendicular to theirs. This prevents the type of cut listed above.

I would say that faking is one of the most important and yet one of the most overlooked tips. People seem to think that making a fake throw is something only advanced players do once they've mastered all the throws. I find it to be quite the opposite. If you aren't a very confident thrower, making a fake before you're real throw will move the mark and give you a much much easier throw. Likewise, the defender doesn't know what throws you can and can't make. Don't be afraid to bust out the hammer fake. If you do a fake well, the mark should bite on it. A lot of people use wild exaggerated moves when faking. You should practice at home going through the actual moves of a throw but not releasing a disc. Your fake should be the exact same movement as a real throw with the only difference being that you don't release the disc. I've found that snapping the wrist especially makes for a good fake.

Keep running
Unless you're sure no one is around you, keep running until you've caught the disc. Possibly the #1 cause of D'd discs in lower level ultimate is the offensive player slowing down.

Catch your D's
I can't stress this point enough. A lot of people seem to think that smacking down a disc is "cool". I have seen countless blocked discs get caught, in many cases for a score. I have seen people dive and grab a blocked disc from inches off the ground. Bottom line: if you can catch it, catch it! Sometimes you try to catch it and you fail. That's ok. The important thing is that you tried to catch it. If you have the disc in your hand, you know your team has possession.

Every disc is your disc
It doesn't matter who the receiver is—unless they're on your team and you've communicated with them—if you can get the disc, grab it. You might seem like a jerk for grabbing your own players disc, but that's way better than both of you pulling off. Unless it's a very hard catch for you and you think it will be easier for someone else on your team, you should always go for the disc. Likewise, if you're playing defense, just because the disc is going for someone else's person, if you can get it, do it!

Everyone should have an easy throw
You can always cut in, even if you're not a handler.

Never let anyone go deep
Whether it's your person or someone else's, never let anyone run deep. You are capable of guarding anyone on the field, even their star player.

Don't get beat to where you know they want to run
That means don't get beat to the force side and don't get beat to places like the front corners of the end-zone.

Cut off the most important throw first
Usually that's the long huck right after a turn. Once you've established a mark and it's evident that you've taken away their ideal throw, you can resume guarding as usual.

Don't cut to the same place at the same time
It's very important to know when to pull off. Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing at all. Even if you started your cut first, if you notice someone else on your team running to the same place and they're going to beat you there, change your cut. This is especially true for deep. It's ok to "split the deep" but that is something that happens on purpose, not by accident.

Know when you're being poached and what to do about it
If you're on offense and the person who's guarding you is intentionally playing off, you usually have two good options. 1)Cut in for the easy throw. 2)Cut deep for the long throw in the end-zone—if the person with the disc can make it.

Learn to poach
Poaching is equally important for defense. If you know you're outmatched and you know that the person you're guarding wants to cut to a certain place, take a few extra steps in that direction. Keep in mind that you could easily get burned for poaching, so you need to do it wisely and you need to do it well.

Try difficult throws
If you never try difficult throws then you will never learn them. I'm not saying you should bust them out in every game, but it never hurts to try them in practice or in a pickup game.

Check out this study of frisbee in Madison.

Well, that's all I got for now. This is in now a way a conclusive list. There are plenty of other things to keep in mind while you are playing, but remembering these tips certainly doesn't hurt.