The Pull

In Blantyre, we’ve had a few discussion recently about what happens when the disc goes out on the pull (the first throw used to start and restart the game) and/or lands in the end zone.

I think the rules for this have been updated over the years, and may be/have been different in the USA and the rest of the world. We’re using the most recent WFDF rules (2020).

The rules about the pull in detail are here:

But essentially:

  • If it stops or is caught in the field of play (including the end zone) play it from there.
  • If it lands in play but rolls out, play it from where it rolled out (or the closest point not in the end zone).
  • If it goes straight out, either play from where it crossed the line, or the brick mark (centre of the field about 18m from the goal line). If you want to play from the brick mark you should raise your arm overhead and say, “brick” (the rule changed from clapping about 10 years ago).

For a great pictorial explanation, grab this PDF or have a look at the slideshow below (‘OB’= ‘out of bounds’):

Delay of play

Two related rules issues came up last Sunday, both about how quickly play needs to restart; so I had a look at the rule book to give some definitive answers.

How quickly do you have to pick the disc up after a turnover or pull?

Essentially the answer is: as quickly as possible.

The aim being to keep the game moving at pace.

Attacking players need to (at least) walk to the disc and when there pick it up and play. If they don’t the defending team can call ‘Delay of play’ and if the attackers don’t stop delaying the defenders can start the stall count.

  • 8.5. After a turnover, and after the pull, the team that has gained possession of the disc must continue play without delay.
    • 8.5.1. An offensive player must move at walking pace or faster to directly retrieve the disc and establish a pivot.
    • 8.5.2. In addition to 8.5.1, after a turnover the offence must put the disc into play within the following time limits, if the disc did not become out-of-bounds, and the discs location is:
      • in the central zone – within ten (10) seconds of the disc coming to rest.
      • in an end zone – within twenty (20) seconds of the disc coming to rest.
    • 8.5.3. If the offence breaches 8.5 the defence may give a verbal warning (“Delay of Game”) or may call a “Violation”.
    • 8.5.4. If an offensive player is within three (3) metres of the pivot point and, after the verbal warning, the offence continues to breach 8.5 the marker may commence the stall count.
Taken from: WFDF – Rules of Ultimate

USA Ultimate’s current rule is essentially the same – see XIX.B.

What happens if the pull is delayed after a ready signal?

The rules we use (WFDF) do not really specify, but, again, the idea here is to get play restarted as quickly as possible:

7.1.1. Teams must prepare for the pull without unreasonable delay.

WFDF – Rules of Ultimate

The USA Ultimate Rules go into some detail about how much time can be taken and penalties for going beyond this, but as we use the WFDF rules, I won’t go into those – if you want to, look at VIII.C.

One thing that we might note is the order suggested by the WFDF rules:

  1. Receiving team signals that they are ready.
  2. Receiving team stays still, each player with a foot on the goal line – so pulling (defending) team can pick who to mark.
  3. Pulling team signals readiness – pulling team all need to be in their endzone.
  4. Once the pull is thrown all players may leave their endzones.

How we should play

I just watched this really interesting video by Ryan Lowe; it’s ostensibly about picking a team, which may not really seem relevant in Malawi, but actually he talks about what makes a great experience for people new to the game.

There’s loads of advice in here both for those of us who are more experienced, and for those who aren’t. I think if we use it to reflect on how each of us plays we’ll all get better quicker and have fun doing it. We do lots of this already, but emphasising it will only help.

One bit of jargon he uses is the term ‘handler’: this just means one of the key throwers (often a more experienced player with a good throw).

I’m particularly impressed by what he says about:

  • Passing to open players
  • Understanding when you aren’t really open – although you might think you are
  • When to ‘dump’ and when to try trickier throws
  • Time with the disc

What do you think? Add a comment below.

(BTW, Ryan has loads of other really useful tutorial videos on his YouTube channel and website.)

Blantyre Ultimate League

We’re now getting so many players involved in Blantyre I think we really have an opportunity to get a league going. I hope this will encourage more teams to get started and for us to develop our skills and tactics.



Initially I think we may have enough players for three teams; and we have three venues at which to base them:

  • Limbe at Hillview
  • Sunnyside at SAIPS
  • Nyambadwe at SAIntS

Each of these teams should aim to field a mixed-gender team of between 12-18 players a each Saturday meet-up. It may be that we need to work up to these numbers and we start with teams of 7-10.


If we start with smaller squads then games up to 7 points, with a maximum duration of 50 minutes would make sense. However when we have full-sized squads (14+ players) we should play to 15, with a maximum duration of 90 minutes.

So, with the shorter games we could play 7.30 to 11.00am. With longer games we’d need to incorporate lunch and work out how we avoid playing at the hottest times of the day.


What is the best way to create seasons so that we get regular groups of players turning up – and maybe allow/encourage some training too?

  • Games every week?
  • A game one week, then training the next?
  • Games every month?
  • Something else?

Obviously the more frequent the games the shorter the season would be.


  1. How often should we play?
  2. Can we incorporate training?
  3. How do we divide the teams? Do we allocate players to try to create fair teams; or do we encourage players to play for their local team and develop their team if they are lacking?
  4. Can people switch between teams?
  5. Do we have an age limit or allow everyone to play?
  6. If we do have an age limit, how do we include those outside of it on game days?
  7. How do we deal with gender splits?
  8. What else needs to be considered?

Add your answers and comments below.

To register your interest in playing in the first Blantyre Ultimate League, click here:

Off to SA for All Africa Champs

It had been my hope that we would be able to take a joint Lilongwe-Blantyre team to the All Africa Ultimate Club Championship that is happening this weekend in Johannesburg, but it just proved too expensive for most of our players. There will be Malawian representation at the event, however, as our players were invited to join the All Africa United team. So both Lilongwe and Blantyre are sending a player: Frank ‘Fula’ Makowa and Asher Jacobsberg (me), respectively.

Generous support has been given to ensure that we sent an actual Malawian, who also happens to be one of our best players. Thanks very much to all those who have contributed:

  • Sam (Blantyre)
  • Akeel (Lilongwe)
  • Asher (Blantyre)
  • Mina (Lilongwe)
  • Michael (Blantyre)
  • Sille (Lilongwe)
  • Nick (Blantyre)
  • Chris (Lilongwe)

Just got some Malawi flags for us to take

Any further sponsorship would be greatly appreciated.

As a cobbled together team I have no idea how All Africa United will compete against teams that play together week in week out, so we may come back broken men, but hopefully having also had a lot of fun.

Lilongwe women triumph, but Blantyre retain the mixed title

Last month saw the 3rd Malawi Ultimate Battle, between the Lilongwe and Blantyre Ultimate teams.

It was a great weekend of frisbee, with the level of play all around improving each time we meet.

As well as the mixed game for the tile of Malawi Ultimate Champions – to be the holders of the prestigious Malawi Ultimate Hippo – we had three other competitive games.

Women’s game

These kicked off with Lilongwe Women vs Blantyre Women. I’m sorry to say that this was a bit of a whitewash, with the Lilongwe team really outplaying Blantyre. There was no lack of heart or effort from the Blantyre women, but as a club we need to do more to develop our women’s skills.

MVP on MVP action
  • MVP (Lilongwe): Emma
  • MVP (Blanytre): Liana

Malawi vs the World

Our next game mixed up players from Blantyre and Lilongwe, but pitted Malawians against players from the rest of the world.

Fittingly, Malawi were victorious. Hopefully this bodes well for Malawi’s ability to compete on the international stage as Malawi Ultimate develops.

The World, wearing the Malawian flag shirts (confusingly), vs Malawi, in white
  • MVP (Malawi): Andrew
  • MVP (World): Momcillo

Under 20s

Our final warm up game was for our younger players, again the teams were mixed gender and mixed between Blantyre and Lilongwe.

There was fantastic play by all, with skill and commitment matching the, expected, youthful energy!

Caleb showing great form
  • MVP (winners): Momcillo
  • MVP (losers): Chris

Championship game

The final game of the day, which strecthed into the night, was our mixed gender Lilongwe vs Blantyre game.

Lilongwe took the first point easily and Blantyre looked a bit shell-shocked. Blantyre confidence was boosted, however, when Zack Brady pulled off an amazing diving catch to grab the frisbee from Chris’ feet.

Zack pulls off the catch of the game

There was also great defensive play, with Mina blocking Blantyre from what looked like a certain score right on the goal line.

Despite the high stakes, and the game swinging back and forth, excellent Spirit was shown all round, notably by Ian, who took time to explain his thinking and came to amicable agreement over some contentious issues.

The final Spirit Circle of the day
  • MVP: Zack
  • Spirit Champion: Emma

Final score: Blantyre 15 – 11 Lilongwe

3rd Malawi Ulimate Battle

This Saturday will be the third meeting between Malawi’s two biggest (only) ultimate teams. We’ll be competing for the chance to be crowned Malawi Ultimate Champions and win the MUC Hippo Trophy.

Malawi Ultimate Champions Hippo Trophy

In both previous meetings the visiting team has been victorius, this time Blantyre Ultimate hope to break that form.

Before the main event there will be a picnic and various warm-up matches, and afterwards a party at Baobab Backpackers. All players and supporters are encouraged to come to the whole day.


Venue: Saint Andrew’s International High School, Nyambadwe

13.00   Picnic lunch – Blantyre players please bring a dish to share

14.00   Women’s game (20 minutes)

14.30   Malawi vs The World – mixed Blantyre and Lilongwe teams, Malawians vs citizens of elsewhere (20 minutes)

15.00   Under 20s – mixed younger players from Blantyre and Lilongwe (20 minutes)

15.30   Warm-up game awards

16.00   Headline game: Blantyre vs Lilongwe

18.30   Party at Boabab Backpackers, Sunnyside – including Headline game awards


Games will be self-refereed and played in the spirit of ultimate and good sportspersonship. If any dispute arises, we will defer to the WFDF rules:

Warm up games

Warm up games will be played on a 20 minute timer. The team with the most points at the end of 20 minutes wins.

Women’s game: if possible, this will be Blantyre vs Lilongwe, otherwise mixed teams.

Malawi vs The World: it’s up to each player to say where s/he is from.

Under 20s: we may change the upper age limit depending on who is able to play.

Headline game

Teams should do their best to have the same gender split. This will likely mean three women on the field for each team.

The headline game will be played to 15, with a margin of at least 2 goals. The hard cap will be 17. This means if one team reaches 15 before the other team reaches 14, they win. However, if the score is 14-14 then the game goes into overtime. To win in overtime a team needs to get a 2 goal lead or reach 17.

There will be a 10 minute half-time break when one team reaches 8 goals.

If neither team has won after 90 minutes (including the half-time break) the game will end; at this point the team with the highest score are the winners; if both teams have the same score the game is a draw.

The winners will take home the Malawi Ultimate Champions trophy. In the event of a draw it shall stay with the current holders.

Download: Programme and Rules

Pre-register for Blantyre Ultimate Battle

This Saturday will be our first Ultimate tournament in Blantyre. To help speed things up on the day, please fill out this short registration form. The aim of this is to help us to create competitive teams on the day.

This is useful for new and regular players as it helps us to highlight things that you may feel confident in that you don’t always get to show on Sundays or Wednesdays. It also helps me to see how many people we will have coming.

The form is here:

Please remember that filling this out does not guarantee you a spot, it will still be the first 28 people to register on the day. Filling this out now does mean you don’t have to do it by hand on the day though.
Thanks! See you Staurday!

Order your t-shirts now!

This post has been updated with new pricing and sizing.

I’ve finally finished the designs for the Malawi Ultimate t-shirts and I’ll be placing the order for them this week. Please add your order below so I know how many of each size to get made.

Sorry about this but because of an issue with the original manufucturer – they hadn’t understood that we wanted reversible shirts – I’ve had to find a new manufucturer and so the price has gone up slightly and the sizes may have changed. Please check below and confirm your order.

Further update (6/5/19): The new manufacturer, it turns out, also couldn’t make thje shirts reversible, so everyone will get two t-shirts, one ‘home’ and one ‘away’. The price and sizing remain the same.

Thanks and sorry for the hassle.

‘Home’ and ‘Away’ designs

The t-shirts will come as a set of two t-shirts: the green/black design for ‘home’ and the white design for ‘away’. They’ll be made from lightweight, wicking material.

Malawi Ultimate t-shirt black
Malawi Ultimate t-shirt white

Sizing – updated

They are coming from China, so the sizing may be different to what you’re expecting. You may have to order a bigger size than you would normally take. This is their sizing chart:


People ordering and paying now will get a set of t-shirts at cost price: K13,500 (£14.00, $18.50) – this is for a ‘home’ and ‘away’ set of two t-shirts.

I will need the money soon, as it’s quite a big outlay for me. I’ll send payment details when I confirm your order.

If you can’t pick the t-shirts up from me in person, you’ll need to pay any delivery costs as well – we’ll arrange someone to bring a load to Lilongwe for free though.

Order Form

Two big events coming up

This month and next we’ve got two Saturday events for you to get involved in, both in Blantyre.

The first is the Blantyre Ultimate Battle on the 27th April. This is a hat tournament – we mix up players to try to create relatively equal teams – with an Under 14s tournament running alongside it.

Full details: 1st Annual Blantyre Ultimate Battle

A few weeks later we’ll be welcoming Lilongwe Ultimate back to Blantyre to see if they can win back the amazing Malawi Ultimate Champions trophy they made, only to be forced to give it to us.

This game – and any warm ups around it – will be on the weekend of 18th May. Full details will be posted on this site, Facebook and WhatsApp as soon as they are finalised.