Ultimate Frisbee: it's catching on fast

Tim Booth lunges for a frisbee in a game of Ultimate Frisbee at North Wollongong Beach. Picture: KEN ROBERTSON
Tim Booth lunges for a frisbee in a game of Ultimate Frisbee at North Wollongong Beach. Picture: KEN ROBERTSON

Frisbee is more than just a game to tire out your energetic puppy. In fact, Ultimate Frisbee is an internationally recognised sport and, like the name suggests, it's a whole heap of fun.

Whether you play it on a beach or in the park, all you need is a flying disc and seven people per team who are prepared to embrace their inner kid and jump, dive and weave to catch the frisbee and score some points.

The Wollongong Ultimate Frisbee Club has been around for more than a decade and there has been a constant stream of people signing up, from university students to people who pass the players in full flight and decide to check it out.

Tim Booth is one of the club's organisers and has been playing the sport since 1999. He was also a member of this year's Australian team, which took out silver in the men's competition in the World Ultimate Championships in Japan in July.

He says the sport is a great workout, comparable to an AFL game.

There are three main throws used: the backhand, which Booth says is the default way most people throw a frisbee; the forehand; and the hammer throw.

"A hammerthrow is an upside down throw, which is more difficult to master, sort of like a spike in tennis where you throw it over the top," he explains.

Within each of those throws there are ways to taper and angle the disc to get it to where your team is on the field.

Booth says people of all fitness levels show up to the club's twice-weekly casual games.

"You wouldn't have to have an amazing level of fitness or hand-eye coordination to get started, though it would help," he laughs.

Lila Hardge, another one of the club's organisers and a silver-medal winner in the open masters division in this year's world championships, says frisbee is a good activity for people who want to remain active.

She has been playing for six years and first got interested at uni, though it took her several years to show up to a game.

Once Hardge turned up at the games, she quickly realised there was a great sense of sportsmanship, partly attributed to the fact games are refereed by the players and not an official umpire.

"The thing that keeps you coming back again and again compared to other sports is the social bit.

"People look out for each other and it's a good little community," she explains.

The Wollongong Ultimate Frisbee Club meets at North Beach, North Wollongong every Wednesday afternoon and at Stuart Park on Sunday afternoons for a casual game. Anyone is welcome to join in.


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