* Editors note. As a brand interested in the ever-evolving world of athletics, we continue to reach out to athletes of all forms, competing in what are sometimes seen as non-traditional sports. These sports however are gaining wide spread appeal and have attracted and built a new breed of athletes hell bent on bringing their sports into the mainstream. We reached out to one such athlete by the name of Scott Walker, a Toronto based Ultimate Frisbee player to tell us what his sport has on the rest us on the playing field.
Ultimate frisbee, although gaining traction and minor notoriety around the world, is still a relatively mysterious and unknown sport. Let's face it, when your sport has only recently been acknowledged by the IOC as an actual sport, that says something. Regardless of its appearance on a few sports centre top 10 lists, most people are unaware of how many people actually play, and what's involved with the game. To those who do play, they know that a game of disc is a shinning example of what, simply put, makes them a better than most competitive athletes.
1. No stoppage in game play.
In its most common form, the game basically never stops. That's it... The only time during a game that the individual player stops moving really, is when they're handling the disc, and there's literally a rule that ensures this can only happen for a maximum of 10 stall counts. The only time the play stops is when someone scores. No 30 second hockey shift… No play by play stoppage like the NFL… And no 11 players on the field ‘I'll just walk around while the ball is on thaaat side of the pitch’ soccer mentality. What does this all mean? Ultimate players don't stop. The high intensity cardio from basically sprinting everywhere you go is absolutely unchallenged by most other sports and this ultimately makes you better.
In ultimate the players on the field have general position assignments but everyone must be able to do everything. You may be on a defence or offence line but rarely is a player only on the field to play one or the other. A forced turn over needs to be followed up by scoring after all. As we've already talked about, there's no stopping which means no time to sub players when there's a turnover. Top frisbee players must be top athletes going both ways. Blocking a disc from being caught for a point is absolutely as important as being able to catch it to score one yourself. A top frisbee player is the most well rounded all position players you will find.
3. Quarterback vs no quarterback.
Imagine a world where anyone on the team could be the star. Well this is the case with ultimate because when no one is the star, everyone is. There's no set quarterback position (although some player are inclined to make this they're focus on the field) which means everyone on the team needs to know how to throw. At any given time, a player could hit a team mate streaking long for points. No favouritism here. No prejudice either… Which means everyone is a threat offensively.
4. The best kind of physical challenge.
Everyone these days is on either Facebook or Instagram either some sort of fitness account or tips on how to be more physical. There's even an entire sport of cross fit that is made to measure and classify the type and amount of fitness you have achieved through various tests. Everyone's seen the videos of a guy with a 42” max vertical jump… But did he do it after a 50 yard sprint? I didn't think so. This is a regular for ultimate players who are constantly combining the quickness of cuts to the open field, with direct sprints to outrun opponents, and oh yea, pure explosiveness jumping straight up to catch a floating disc mixed right in the middle of it all. Bottom line is that if you're playing ultimate, you're probably doing a little more than just beating a straight line personal best sprint time.
5. The layout.
I couldn't have a talk about ultimate without this coming up. Anyone who knows me would tell you that this is quite possibly my favourite part of the game and obviously has to be on the list. I'm sure everyone knows what I'm talking about, but just in case, check out any Kevin Pillar highlight reel and you'll be brought up to speed. Now that you're back take a look at any Major Ultimate League highlights and see how these kind of plays aren't 1 in 1000 or even 1 in 100. They're commonplace. Offence… Defence… the pinnacle of ‘wanting it bad enough’ and that's really what it's all about.
The last bonus reason that ultimate is great is that it gets more people out playing sport in the community and that's really what it's about. Making some cracks about other sports is fun, but all joking aside, any time you get active and have fun with friends, you're winning. In all honesty playing ultimate could actually help develop other aspects of your game to take back to those classic sports we all love, and I'm sure you will have a great time doing it. Ultimate players are some of the friendliest out there so grab a disc and see why that very action is the first step to being better than everyone else.