You’ve realised ultimate’s a dope sport and got yourself a disc. What’s next?
Here we are. Your friend has taught you how to throw a forehand, albeit still a slightly wobbly one. You’ve gorged yourself on hours of highlight reel and trick shot videos on YouTube. You’ve brought a brand new pair of cleats (preferably football or soccer ones, the more studs the better) and a regulation 175 gram Ultrastar disc. It’s time to play. But where? Thankfully, opportunities to get involved with teams and pickup scenes exist all over the globe. Here’s how to find them.
The top ultimate nations (the US, Canada, most of Europe, Australia, Japan etc.) all have governing bodies (such as USA Ultimate, UK Ultimate and Ultimate Canada) whose websites hold comprehensive team lists and maps and are good first ports of call to gauge the popularity of ultimate in your area. If you live in one of the above-listed countries, chances are there will be a local team nearby, although ‘nearby’ may be a relative term when applied to the vast expanses of Canadian tundra or Australian outback. Global resources like Ultimate Central are also gaining in popularity and thus utility, with details of competitive and recreational play from around the world. These sites may be more detailed than the governing bodies’ lists and provide further information like upcoming tournaments and tryout maps.
If the above sites don’t yield results, or you want more in-depth team information, social media is your next destination. Some teams or individuals may not know or care to register with large sites, but you can bet they’ll have a Facebook page to organise pickup games. The accessibility of ultimate means that you only need one keen player to start a whole scene, as the sport is so easy to learn. The Cayman Islands, with a population of just 60,000 people, achieved just this, with a Facebook page that coordinates twice-weekly pickup on the beach. I know what you’re thinking – I also looked up flights there – it sounds like heaven! Assuming you’re not in the Cayman Islands, search for ultimate frisbee groups in your area (the use of ‘frisbee’ is usually necessary so that non-players understand what it is!) and get in touch. The combination of ‘spirit’, pride in their non-mainstream sport, and ultimate’s capacity for growth and learning makes players a welcoming bunch always keen for new recruits.
It’s Up to You
If there really aren’t any teams nearby, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. The internet will still be a priceless resource here. Scour it for signs of local players – I have managed to find, and organise clubs with, fellow players through the corporate profiles at work, where we should really be listing our professional, and not disc, skills! It is easier to have backup involved, but not impossible without. Look up rules, drills and instructional videos to hone your skills and knowledge, then grab some mates and get out throwing. Even matches as small as two a side can be enjoyable (as well as incredible fitness) or you can just work on your throwing until the numbers swell, which shouldn’t be long. Once people give the sport a go, the beauty of a disc in flight and the adrenaline of their first diving catch usually hook them! With a bit of enthusiasm, you should be able to pull together matches before long.
That, in a nutshell, is how I’d recommend getting involved in the sport. You may need to put some effort in initially, but the payoff will be well worth it. I wish you the best of luck in finding, joining or even forming a team!
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