Dylan, Teaching Assistant with Zen Educate, found his love of teaching through his passion for Ultimate Frisbee. In this article, he shares top tips for introducing this sport to children, and how supply work allows him to carry out two passions in one!

So, what is Ultimate Frisbee and how do you play it?

Put simply, Ultimate Frisbee is a competitive way of playing a game of Frisbee, which requires great teamwork, skill and accuracy. Here are the rules:

  • Each game is self-refereed and can be played indoors or outdoors
  • There are 5 or 7 people on each team
  • The pitch consists of a rectangular field sandwiched by two endzones
  • A goal is scored when a player catches the disc in the endzone they are attacking
  • Players cannot run with the disc and can only move the disc by passing to teammates
  • The defending team takes possession of the disc if the attacking team makes an unsuccessful pass, for example an interception or the disc touches the ground
  • Each new point begins with both teams lining up on the front of opposite end zone lines, facing each other
  • The defending team throws the disc to the attacking team to start play. The first team to reach a certain number of points is the winner!

What’s it like coaching Ultimate Frisbee with children?

Coaching Ultimate Frisbee is absolutely thrilling to people of all ages! Most people know what a frisbee is and how to throw a simple backhand – the challenge of coaching arises when teaching different ways to throw. I start by allowing students to get familiar with the disc, as not everyone is. Once everyone is comfortable throwing, the correct technique can be introduced and developed. Kicking a ball is straightforward and simple, but when you start kicking at different angles and thinking about spin, it can get a little complex. Throwing is the same, whilst simple to teach and practice it takes time to master.

What are your personal goals and how do you balance this with work?

Carrying out Teaching Assistant work with Zen Educate has allowed me to develop a more professional relationship with schools, where I can propose coaching Ultimate Frisbee at after school clubs or during PE sessions. Ultimate Frisbee is the sport of the future! It’s still being developed and is easily accessible across most parts of the UK. It’s great teaching it to children because sports like basketball and football are oversaturated with players, making it difficult to play professionally. However, Ultimate provides more achievable pathways to compete competitively or for general fitness, so it’s great to introduce at a young age.

As a Level 1 qualified coach, I can teach and improve the grass-roots level of the sport. My personal ambitions include trialing for a top team next season, helping my university team (University of Leicester) reach the National Championships, and potentially undertaking a project that could change the future of Ultimate!

I am also trying to create my own Ultimate Frisbee team. In fact, I entered my team into the first official tournament at Crystal Palace, where we came first in the second division – however, the team isn’t formally a club yet, as there’s still a lot of admin work required! I also had the pleasure of commentating for an Ultimate Frisbee showcase game that supports the growth of players from minority ethnic and diverse backgrounds, called MESH (Minority Ethnic Showcase project).

Watch the showcase game and find out more about MESH.

If any Teachers or TAs are interested in learning to coach Ultimate Frisbee, I highly recommend dropping me an email at dpat1619@gmail.com or checking out the free coaching material at ukultimate.com.