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Strategies for Indoor Ultimate

Indoor ultimate is different than outdoor ultimate for a few reasons: there is no wind, the field is smaller, there are less players on the field, the disc won’t float as much and there are usually walls/ceilings to contend with. This usually means that the games will involve more precise throws, a different strategy since there will be less players and depending on if you play continuous scoring or not, retaining possession matters more.

Most indoor ultimate is 5 on 5 and for this case, assume a 4/1 or 3/2 male:female gender ratio with a field that’s close to regular width but usually 10-15 yards shorter so with that in mind, let’s look at a typical indoor game. Since you have 5 players on a field that’s pretty much the width of a regular field (just 5 yards shy) and only 15 yards shorter, I would make the following summations about this league, which can help guide strategy making. I find the best way to choose something for your team is to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the players on your team and also at what the conditions are surrounding your games – in this case the limitations of the game based on the number of players and the size of the field.


  1. There will be a lot of room to move the disc back and forth across the field
  2. Most of the players will be able to full field huck, with the field being 10-15 yards shorter.

Approaches based on the above:

  1. Since the field is very wide compared to the number of players, there should be a lot of space for in cuts – this means a fast team will be able to work the disc up the field more easily since they have room and can use that to their advantage. Against a fast team, I would try to shut down their in cuts and force them deep. Since the field is shorter, more players will want to huck but that also means a higher chance for bad hucks to be thrown. Make sure you have good defenders deep as the number of hucks will increase.
  2. Your staple defense will be person defense since the game will be so quick that a zone can be beaten against a team with strong handlers. However, do try to throw different looks at the other team. If you run person defense and are constantly being beaten, do something different or else the game won’t last very long.
  3. I would recommend at least trying a zone D. Have your tall, fast player deep, and try to have a fast player on the mark. Adjust based on the skill of your team compared to the skill of the other team, so it’s not always a gender play, since a lot of teams do have women on the mark and men upfield. You could also try a switchy back field where you have 1 mark, 2 players taking away the other handlers, and 2 players deep. That requires a lot of communication to make it work since there will be a lot of chances for little throws over the mark (hammers, scoobers, etc).
  4. Again, looking at the skill levels, it can be a good play to poach off the weakest player and force the opposing team to use that player.
  5. On offense, sometimes indoor is played with a lower stall count (5 or 7). This makes moving the disc quickly even more important than in outdoor. Many times you will be resetting the disc half a second before a stall down so if you can get the disc moving on stall 2 or 3, there will be less rushed throws, more open throws and breaks and ultimately, more scoring.

These are of course all suggestions and in many cases, the exact opposite will work. The key underlying point in all of this is to be aware of your player’s skills and the skills of the other team. Try to run a defense and an offense that will shut down their skills and promote your skills. Adjust as needed.

11 thoughts on “Strategies for Indoor Ultimate”

  1. Hey Rob,
    I saw your great video taken with your Go Pro. Could you write something on the 4 v 4? I’d be very interested in having your opinion on that. Btw, there’s the biggest canadian 4 v 4 indoor tournament Mars attaque coming upo in March.
    Take care. Have good training.

    1. @MichelBeauchemin I actually shot the video, Rob edited it and posted it. I had some end zone stuff from ground level but it was too choppy to splice together.
      Good write up Rob!
      Hi Michel, I actually shot the video Rob used from the Dick’s 4 on 4 in Saskatoon. I am a little surprised he didn’t mention that in the youtube credits actually. 
      Rob, great write up!

      1. @ultimaterob  Well, your article is ok when it comes down to 5 v 5 because the field is pretty large. In the 4 v 4 version, the Quebec ultimate federation is specifying a 18 x 30 m (approx 20 x 32 yd) with a 2,5 m (3 yd) endzone. It changes it all and strategies have to consider the restricted space. Could you expose those constraints and remedial approaches?

  2. @ultimaterob Instead of suggesting you poach off of the only woman on the field (she’s probably not into being called a girl) and then clarifying later that if she actually happens to be good (oh my!) then you could poach off a guy instead… why not just say it might be beneficial to poach off of the weakest player in the first place, regardless of their gender?

    Also… “It’s pretty much a men’s game since there is only one girl on the field” – really?? Let’s just leave 1/5 of the team out of the game… (Also, really, she’s probably over 18)

    1. Admittedly, this was written almost 5 years ago and is definitely in need of being updated, which I’ve done, taking your suggestions into account.

      And I agree that language does matter so I’ve updated that as well since there’s been a lot of discussion and learning in the last 5 years.

      Thanks for the comment!

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