What is a turnover in ultimate frisbee


If you are new to the sport of ultimate frisbee, chances are you have heard about turnovers but you’ve had the question: What is a turnover in ultimate frisbee? Don’t worry–you’re not alone! Turnovers in ultimate frisbee can be confusing for beginners, so we’ve put together this guide to help clear things up and get you on your way with understanding exactly what a turnover is in this exciting team sport.

Turnover in ultimate

Basic rules of Ultimate 

Ultimate frisbee is an incredibly popular sport in many countries around the world. It combines aspects of football and netball while giving the game its own unique feel. 

At its core, the rules of ultimate frisbee are simple: no physical contact, no running with the disc, seven players per team, awarding points when a goal is scored, and you must pass the frisbee within 10 seconds of obtaining possession. 

When playing, teams should keep communication open to ensure each player knows which way their opponents will go in order to move down the field as efficiently as possible. 

In a casual game of ultimate, typically there is not an official referee. Self-officiating means that teams attempt to work out mistakes between themselves on the field. 

What is a turnover? (AKA Change of Possession)

Turnovers are very common in many sports like football, soccer, hockey, and basketball. A turnover in ultimate can occur in a few ways. 

  1. An incomplete pass occurs. 
  2. An interception occurs. 
  3. One person holds on to the disk for more than 10 seconds. 
  4. Out of bounds throw

In any case, when a turnover happens the game is momentarily stopped while the other team has some time to get to the frisbee. Once they have the disk in hand, gameplay resumes. The process repeats and now the other team does their best to not cause a change of possession. 

Every turnover is an opportunity for the other team to score so each team should take care to avoid them as much as possible. 

What is an incomplete pass in ultimate frisbee?

In ultimate frisbee, an incomplete pass is when a thrower releases the disc and it does not reach its intended receiver. 

When this happens, the receiving team keeps possession of the disc; however, they must pass from where it was dropped. There are various reasons why this may occur, such as a player moving while the disc is in their possession, running out of bounds while holding the disc, or dropping a catchable pass.

 Additionally, defenders can also block throws to disrupt passes and make them incomplete. With intentional direction changes and defense obstructing throws and catches, keeping track of who keeps possession of the disc can be challenging at times.

What is an interception in ultimate frisbee?

An interception, also known as a turnover in ultimate frisbee, occurs when one team catches the other team’s throw. This gives possession and control of the disc to the catching team. 

The difficult part of an interception is that, unlike most sports, players are not allowed to move while the disc is in play. This limits the catching team’s ability for effective positioning and tactical planning. As a result, interceptions require great skill and timing on behalf of the catcher in order to take full advantage of an unexpected opportunity.

What happens if you hold the disk for more than 10 seconds?

If you’re playing ultimate frisbee, an important rule is that you cannot hold the frisbee for more than 10 seconds. If you do, the other team is allowed to call a turnover and take possession of the disc. 

Usually after a turnover has been called, play stops then restarts with the opposing team receiving the disc where it was turned over. Players follow this rule in order to keep the game moving at a steady pace. It also prevents one team from holding onto the disc for too long. It also encourages players to use short passes and make quick decisions in order to keep control of possession.

What is an out of bounds pass?

If a frisbee is thrown out of bounds, it results in an immediate turnover. The other team gains possession and can then immediately gain field advantage. It’s important for players to be aware of the field boundaries when playing since inadvertently going out of bounds can result in this costly mistake. 

When you see the frisbee headed out of bounds, quickly yell “out!” so that your teammates know that they should start preparing to defend against the other team. 

Ultimately (no pun intended!) being aware of your surroundings on the field is essential to having a successful game.

Final Words

Hopefully after reading this article you don’t have any more questions about what a turnover is in ultimate frisbee. Remember that completely avoiding a change in possession is nearly impossible, but with time and practice you will be able to improve your skills and bring your team to victory.

To improve your ultimate frisbee game off the field, disc golf could be the perfect activity for you! It is similar to regular frisbee in that it requires technique, practice and accurate throws. Give disc golf a try and see if you like it as much as ultimate frisbee – you won’t be disappointed!

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