Types of Tournament
Grass Tournament – These are outdoor tournaments played on grass (no, really?) with a full 7 players on the line at all times. Games are full length, usually 70mins plus and if you’re playing a mixed tournament there must be three girls, from each team, on the pitch at any time. Outside the stall count is 10 seconds. Outdoor tournaments can also be on astro-turf, in which case you’ll need astro-turf boots or regular trainers, but for the grass cleats (or football boots with studs or blades) are ideal – what kind of boots and kit you wear will obviously depend on the weather and the ground condition though.
Beach Tournament – It may sound easy but it’s not; this is the same level of fitness on a slightly smaller pitch, but now all the running and jumping is taking place in the sand. This is usually played five on five, as with indoors, but the stall count is 10 seconds, as with outdoors. Beach Ultimate is recognized by WFDF as a separate disc sport and the high-end beach tournaments include Paganello, held in Italy, Wildwood Ultimate Tournament and Lei-Out, both held in the US, and the World Championship of Beach Ultimate. All beach ultimate players demonstrate huge strength and stamina to play such a physical game while sinking into a soft, slippery surface.
Hat Tournament – These are tournaments where players join individually rather than as a team. The tournament organizers form teams by randomly taking the names of the participants from a hat. In the US lots of Hat Tournaments use the “Hat Rule” meaning all players must wear a hat at all times during play. If a player gains possession of the disc but loses their hat in the process, the play is considered a turnover and possession of the disc reverts to the other team. In other countries you may find that the hat wearing players are the experienced ones, this is to help you choose who to mark in a game. However in lots of tournaments the organizers don’t use a hat, but rather they select teams by splitting players down into skill, experience, height, sex and fitness level – provided by the player when they sign up. They spread these factors evenly across the teams so that in theory all teams are evenly matched and players play with at least some people they’ve never met before. Hat tournaments are normally primarily for having fun, socializing, partying and meeting other players. Players of all levels take part – world-class players to complete beginners.
Indoor Tournament – As it says on the tin, but these are rarely played outside of Europe (some of us feel this may be climate related). Indoor surfaces vary greatly, these can also be astro-turf or some form of synthetic grass but they are likely to be a normal wooden gym floor. When playing indoors the games are usually shorter, often between 18 and 25 minutes, and the stall count is only 8 seconds. You place five players on the line at all times; when playing mixed this means at least two girls at any time.