How Does Scoring Work In Ultimate?

How Does Scoring Work In Ultimate

Ultimate is a sport that mixes frisbee and American football. However, rather than running plays, players continually run up and down the field, pushing on offense, then defending on defense. In that respect, ultimate is more like handball than it is American football. Read on to learn more about how one scores a game of ultimate.

Ultimate Scoring

A team scores a goal in ultimate if one of their players catches a legal pass in the end zone during their attack (the term attack simply means that the team is on offense). That player must, however, remain in complete possession of the frisbee throughout all ground contact. Ground contact is the first contact a player makes with the ground. Thus, if a player jumps in the air to catch a frisbee and hits the ground with their elbow first, their elbow would be the first point of ground contact.

A player can only be considered to have entered the end zone if:

  1. They have complete possession of the disk throughout ground contact in the end zone.
  2. Their first point of ground contact is completely in the end zone. The end zone line does not count as inside the end zone.

This means that a player who catches a frisbee and lands on their toes inside the end zone receives a goal, even if their heels touch outside of the end zone after the fact. Their toes were the first ground contact; therefore, the referee will base the goal on them. However, if a player catches a frisbee flat-footed with half their foot in the end zone and the other half out of it, that player would not receive a goal.

Each goal scored inside an end zone rewards one point to the team on offense. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Special Scoring Rules

Once a player makes a legal goal, they must shout “goal” and raise both hands above their head. After a player makes this shout, all play stops. If a goal shout is contested, the play must restart after a check, and the goal is considered to be made once a pass inside the end zone is caught. After play resumes, the two teams consider the previous goal shout (or call) to have been made once the player who caught the disc established possession.

Possession Rules

Whenever making a goal, players must abide by possession rules. The most important rule that players must keep in mind is that if a player loses possession of the frisbee due to the motion they make as they make a catch, the initial possession ends. If this occurs inside the end zone, and the player who made the catch does not retain complete possession throughout all ground contact, the goal is not awarded. On the other hand, if a player legally makes a goal, that goal is considered to have been made at the time the player establishes complete possession over the disc.


Sometimes, a player loses possession of a disc due to no fault of their own. In that case, they are awarded a goal. We detail some of these special cases below.

  1. If all of the above criteria for a goal are met, and a player loses possession of the disc due to an uncontested foul, they are awarded a goal.
  2. Or if that player lands outside of the end zone because of a force-out foul, they are awarded a goal.

Other Special Rules

Other special cases exist that do not involve fouls.

  1. If a player catches a frisbee outside of the end zone and cannot pivot to the central zone, it cannot be considered a goal, and they have to place the frisbee in play near the goalline and resume play.
  2. If a player catches a frisbee legally inside the end zone and throws a pass unwittingly, they are still awarded a goal; however, if there is no consensus as to if that player made a legal catch inside the end zone, the result of their throw stands.
  3. A player cannot make a goal by running into the end zone. They have to catch the disc inside the end zone for it to count.


How do you score points in Ultimate?

Players can score a goal for their team by catching the frisbee inside their end zone. For a goal to count, that player has to maintain possession throughout all ground contact related to their catch. Players must catch the disc inside their end zone (not on or outside the end zone lines) for their goal to count; they cannot run into the end zone and score a goal.