School teachers, particularly P.E./gym teachers, play a key role in the development of youth ultimate.  Camp counselors, recess monitors, club sponsors, and leaders of youth groups (like scouts or boys/girls clubs) may also influence the fate of the sport at the elementary and middle school levels.  This page offers resources to these audiences with an emphasis on resources for introducing the youngest of players to the sport.

Gym class ultimate

This site offers 5 lessons with supporting videos to introduce the game, and emphasizes why ultimate is “ideal for schools”

  • Inexpensive – play anywhere, with minimal equipment
  • Educational – based on sportsmanship, fair play, & self-officiation
  • Coed – non-contact, girls and boys may play together

Suggestions from Angie and Shannon O’Malley

First, get some “Rainbow Koala” foam discs ($45 for a set of 6 in 2016; $8 shipping; so about $9.50 for each 35-gram disc).  Angie uses these when she’s teaching her PE classes to get kids comfortable with the idea of a disc.  Shannon also uses these when she’s running ultimate camps, clinics, or practices — with any age — for Frisbee Tag!  🙂
Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 8.32.32 AM

These foam discs don’t fly super well, but it’s a much safer way to introduce the sport, particularly in a constrained indoor space like a small gym.  Another safe way to introduce the sport is to play ultimate, but with a stuffed animal (or soft ball) instead of with any sort of disc.  This allows them to learn throwing motion and movements of the game without worrying about throwing a disc accurately or hitting someone in the face with a hard plastic disc.  Angie often uses a stuffed pig, so the kids call it Ultimate Piggy!

After some practice playing with foam discs and an “ultimate stuffed animal” then a transition into using the J stars should be feasible and relatively safe.  It’s best to have kids mostly throwing into large open areas or try to hit a target on a wall or fence.  Throwing to someone is hard at the early stages (before 2nd or 3rd grade)!

Overall, do more individual practice first so they build up their skills and it isn’t too competitive.  Once they have good throwing, catching, and running abilities, consider progressing into some partner play, relay races, keep away, 5 catch in the box, and other fun pre-ultimate games?

Other resources

Screen Shot 2016-03-25 at 8.33.09 AM

Kyle Weisbrod says: “Michael Baccarini (PE teacher at Paideia and coach of the HS team there) swears by these soft “Fun Gripper” discs ($11.50 each in 2016; $10 shipping to Seattle; so about $16.50 per disc if you buy 2).  They fly tremendously well for being soft.”

The authoritative Schtick website has a blog post about playing Schtick indoors (on a basketball court) with Aerobie “Squidgie” discs., which the gym teacher said they prefer.  A Squidgie goes for about 8$ on Amazon in 2019.