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As you start to get involved with Ultimate, there’s a good chance you’ll hear your teammates using the term “pull.”
So exactly what is a pull in Ultimate Frisbee? How does it work?
Are there certain rules you need to know, or any special techniques or strategies that will help you master this important aspect of the game?
In this article, we’ll give you answers to these questions and more.
So be sure to read on, for everything you need to know about the pull in order to get your Ultimate game underway!
What is a pull in Ultimate Frisbee?
In Ultimate Frisbee, a pull is a throw used to pass possession from one team to the other.
If you’re familiar with American Football, you can think of the pull as Ultimate’s version of a kickoff.
The pull takes place at the start of game, at the start of the second half, and after either team scores.
In a nutshell, members of the throwing team line up behind their goal line, and members of the receiving team must have one foot on their own defensive goal line.
A player from the throwing team (the puller) throws the frisbee, and wherever the opposing team catches the frisbee they establish a pivot and the game continues.
Are there any specific rules about the pull?
The short answer to this question is yes, several.
The WFDF supplies a complete list of the rules concerning how the pull works, but for your convenience we’ll go through the most important ones here:
The first rule is that players must line up for the pull quickly without stalling for time.
The members of the throwing team must line up with both feet completely behind the plane of their own goal line.
(There is no pivot for the pull, which means that the puller is allowed a running start to get more distance.)
The team that will receive the pull must line up with at least one foot touching their own goal line, and must not change position relative to one another until the disc is released.
Once each team is in position, the puller and a member of the receiving team must make a signal that their teams are ready.
At this point the puller throws the frisbee and all players are free to move.
The throwing team may not touch the frisbee until it is touched by the opposing team or it has touched the ground.
If any player leaves his or her starting position before the frisbee is released, other players can call “offsides.”
The call must be made before the receiving team touches the disc.
Receiving: In or out of bounds
If a member of the receiving team touches the disc before it hits the ground but fails to catch it, this is called a “dropped pull” and results in a turnover.
If a player from the receiving team catches the frisbee, the player establishes a pivot at the spot on the field closest to the place where the frisbee is caught (including inside their own end zone).
If the disc touches the ground in-bounds and remains in-bounds, the receiving team establishes a pivot where the disc stops (including inside their own end zone).
If the disc lands in-bounds but rolls out-of-bounds without being touched, the pivot is where the disc went out of bounds, or the closest point that is not inside the receiving team’s end zone.
If the receiving team touches the disc first before it rolls out-of-bounds, the pivot is wherever the frisbee went out of bounds, including the team’s end zone.
If the pull lands directly out-of-bounds without touching the ground or a player of the receiving team, the offense can decide to establish a pivot at the brick mark closest to their own end zone (a player must extend a hand and yell “brick” before touching the frisbee), or at the place on the playing field closest to where the frisbee went out of bounds.
Techniques and Strategies
So now that you know all the rules about how a pull works, let’s talk about how these rules actually apply to gameplay, and what kind of pulls will put your team in the best possible position.
The main factors to consider when throwing a pull are distance, ease or difficulty of catching, and field positioning.
Naturally you’ll want to put the opposing team as far from your own end zone as possible, so distance is key on pulls.
The farther you throw, the more ground the other team will have to cover to score.
This could mean throwing far with massive hangtime, or it could mean bending a roller that will cover most of its distance on the ground (this can be a good option especially on windy days).
Here it is especially important to get a good run-up, making sure to stop short of the line.
Ease of catching
As you’ll remember from the rules, if the opponent tries to catch the pull and drops it this results in an automatic turnover; this means that you’ll want your pull to be as hard to catch as possible.
While a perfectly flat throw may get you better distance, putting an angle on your throw will make it much harder to catch and will increase your chances of causing a turnover.
Perhaps the most important of all factors is how you can trap your opponent with a good pull.
With enough accuracy you can pin the other team up against the sideline, giving them less room to maneuver.
But if you overshoot and your pull flies out of bounds, you’ll lose out on both distance and positioning.
An ideal pull will balance all of these factors, combining distance, positioning, and the chance of causing a turnover.
But of course, this is easier said than done; now that you know the theory it’s time to get out there and play!
Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com