What Are The Player Positions In Ultimate Frisbee?

Ultimate Frisbee Positions and Roles

In ultimate frisbee (now known solely as “ultimate”), players take on roles on the field by being a handler or a cutter, which is typically determined by skill level. Each role takes a certain position on the field so that teams can score a goal or successfully defend against the other team.

Offensive strategies include a vertical stack or a horizontal stack and defensive strategies include man-to-man and zone. While players have a variety of offensive and defensive roles, the two main positions are handlers and cutters.

Offensive Roles

Ultimate Frisbee Players

If teams want to play ultimate well, each position must be fulfilled with the players who are capable. Handlers and cutters are the two main positions in ultimate, and below, we will discuss the qualities they should possess in order to fill their positions well.


Cutters play downfield, receiving long passes from the handlers and making throws into the end zone for goals. When you first start to play ultimate, rookies start off by playing as a cutter, because their throws and field awareness are typically underdeveloped. Helpful skills that will make you a better cutter are speed, the sharpness of your cut, the ability to catch, timing your cuts right, and keeping an eye on the player with the disc so you can pay attention to their next moves.


These players are usually more experienced and have decent backhands and flicks. They should be able to communicate with the cutters efficiently and be aware of the field and where the defense is. The skills needed to be a good handler are accurate throws, speed, communication skills, field awareness, and good decision-making skills. Handlers play at the rear of the offensive formation, setting up plays and making long passes to the cutters.

Ultimate Stacks

Stacks are offensive structures of players used to move the disc up the field towards the opposing team's end zone. The two main types of stack in ultimate are vertical and horizontal stacks.

Vertical Stack

In a vertical stack, cutters line up behind each other, facing their end zone and the handlers. The person closest to the handlers is the first person in the stack, and is usually a player with some handler experience. All of the other cutters must line up behind them with about seven feet away from each other. The people furthest away from the handlers are the first ones to make their move to receive the disc.

Two handlers are facing their cutters. The handler that does not have the disc has two choices of where to stand to be a good backup option:

  • Stand roughly 15 feet to the handler’s left side.
  • Stand 45 degrees behind and to the right of the handler, about 15 feet away.

Horizontal Stack

In a horizontal stack, instead of aligning vertically, four cutters will spread out on the width of the field (from sideline to sideline) and face their handlers. The two players in front of the handlers are the ones trying to get the disc. There are three handlers in back: one in the middle and the other two near each sideline. All are facing the cutters and the opposing team's end zone.

Defensive Roles

Ultimate Frisbee Strategy

When a team is on defense, their goal is to cause the other team to drop the disc and gain possession so that they can get a chance to score.

The strategies used to cause the other team to turn over the disc are called man-to-man and zone. Each individual defender must cause their offender to run one way or another by positioning themselves on one side of their body and blocking them from throwing or running.


In man-to-man defense, each defending player picks an opposing player and prevents them from receiving or throwing the disc. The following forces tell you what side the defensive player should be on to force the offensive player to only choose the other side in man-to-man.

Mark Force

The player who is defending the person with the disc is the person on mark. They are marking the offensive player.

Force Flick

Force flick is standing on the side of the body to cause the offensive player to throw a flick. Most players are right-handed so this usually means standing on their left hip, facing them. Even if a player is left-handed, you still want to stand on their left hip.

Force Backhand

Force backhand is standing on the side of the body to cause the offensive player to throw a backhand, which means their right hip.

Force Home

Force home is another term used to figure out which side a defender should force the offender. Forcing home means to force the player to make a throw towards the sideline, where the team's stuff is.

Force Away

Forcing away is to force the player to throw on the opposite sideline. 

Cutter Defender Force

When defending a cutter, keep in mind that the cutters will be facing their handlers and their hips will be on opposite sides. That means that cutter defenders will continue to be on their left hip to force a flick and block them from getting past them.

Zone Defense

These are typically more advanced concepts for a defensive strategy, but for many teams, defensive players will block a space rather than the offensive player to cover more of the field.

Sand Tournament Positions

In sand tournaments and for pickups, there will be five people from each team on the field for a point. There will still be two handlers for a vertical stack and there will be two handlers for a horizontal stack instead of three. This means more running for the cutters since there are fewer people able to make cuts. Man and force are still implemented on sand fields.


What are the main ultimate frisbee positions?

In ultimate, players take the cutter or handler position on offense and the mark position on defense. Handlers play at the rear of the offense and set up plays, while cutters play closer to the end zone and create scoring opportunities. On defense, players typically play a man formation or zone instead of a single position. However, the defender guarding the player with the disc is called the mark or marker.

What is the most important position in ultimate frisbee?

The most important position in ultimate is cutter, as they score most of the goals. However, cutters would never score without the help of the handlers, who pass the disc down the field and set up offensive plays.