Youth Ultimate Frequently-Asked Questions

Questions are broken into three general categories:

Some questions might apply to more than one category, so be sure to check both locations if you don't find the answer you need. If you still don't find it, email the DiscNW .

Playing Youth Ultimate

I was just introduced to the sport of Ultimate. I want to play! How do I find out if my school has a team?

To see a list of teams who participated in the DiscNW league during the largest season (spring), visit the Play Youth Ultimate page, click on the spring league for your age group, and click on "Standings." There are also several teams who play but who do not participate in DiscNW leagues. Ask your school's principal, activity coordinator, or athletic director.

My school doesn't have an Ultimate team! How do I start one?

USA Ultimate and the British Columbia Disc Sports Society (BCDSS) both have resources for starting new teams. These are designed with middle and high schools in mind, but many of the concepts may also be applicable at the elementary school level. If you need more guidance, contact the DiscNW for assistance during this process (e.g., finding a coach, acquiring equipment, developing "selling points" to convince school administrators, etc.).

I tried really hard to start a team at my school, but it just didn't work out. Does this mean I can't play this season?

Not necessarily! It is possible for a student to play on a "consortium team." That is, the student can play on a team from a different school, or two schools can combine efforts to create one team. However, this requires completion of the Application for Eligibility Review, which must be approved by the DiscNW Youth Eligibility Committee. Several factors will be considered before approval is granted, including but not limited to school size, make-up of the team, and valid demonstrated attempts to create a team at the separate schools. To read the details about this option, visit the Youth Eligibility page.

Additionally, there are some opportunities to play outside of school-based events. Check out the Play Youth Ultimate section and look for any event with the words "club," "hat," or "camps" in the title.

What kind of equipment do you recommend for playing Ultimate?

  • Disc.  DiscNW events use USA Ultimate approved discs that are 175 grams and 10.75 inches in diameter. Check the Teams and Coaches section for information on how to acquire discs.

  • Cleats. The sport of Ultimate involves running fast and making sharp cuts. Grass and artificial turf can be slippery, especially when they are wet. Cleats help you keep your footing on the field, which will make you faster and, perhaps more importantly, will help you to avoid injuries related to slipping and falling.

  • Non-Cotton Athletic Wear. Actually, cotton can be OK on a warm, dry day. But on wet days (which occur frequently in the Northwest), cotton will soak up water like a sponge and will make you cold and heavy. Synthetic materials, on the other hand, can repel water, dry quickly, and wick moisture from your skin, depending on the material. And don't forget your socks! Numb toes and blisters are no fun. In the winter, consider socks with both thermal and wicking properties (e.g., merino wool socks).

  • Sunscreen. That's right. Carry it with you year-round and put it on, even if it doesn't look sunny. Prevent wrinkles and skin cancer!

  • Compression Sportswear. Compression sportswear (including shorts, tights, and long-sleeved and short-sleeved tops) helps to maintain body temperature and wick away moisture. Some Ultimate athletes wear compression sportswear year-round (there is some evidence that it has physiological benefits that enhance athletic performance). Others wear it just when it's cool outside and that extra warmth is needed.

  • Rain Gear and Warm Clothes. You can never be too sure when it comes to preparing for rain in the Northwest. It is recommended that you carry rain gear with you, no matter how the weather looks. This includes a rain jacket, rain pants, a rain hat, umbrellas or a canopy for the sideline, and a waterproof gear bag (e.g., a kayaking dry bag, or even a heavy-duty garbage bag to enclose your regular sports bag). It can get awfully cold on those long tournament days, too. Bring gloves, a scarf, a stocking cap or headband, and extra layers (preferably fleece, wool, or other wicking material) for your top and bottom.

  • Field Food. When you're playing a league, playing just one game at a time, you're probably likely to eat what you need before and after your game. But on a tournament day, when you're playing all day long, it's harder to stay on top of your nutritional needs. You'll want to eat a combination of simple carbohydrates for quick energy (e.g., energy gels or fruit), complex carbohydrates for sustained energy (e.g., breads or energy bars), and proteins for better recovery (e.g., nuts or jerky). Eat small snacks all day long, and eat before you feel hungry; once you feel hungry, you'll lose energy quickly.

  • Fluids. If you're playing in a tournament, you should always bring enough water to last for the entire day (64-96 ounces). The tournament will usually provide water, but you should always be prepared just in case it's not easily accessible. You should also consume plenty of sports drinks to maintain a healthy water/electrolyte balance. Water intoxication (over-consumption of water without the replacement of electrolytes lost through sweat) can be a very serious health problem.

  • Hand Warmers. These are disposable packets that, once their outer package is opened, produce heat for several hours when kept in an enclosed area (such as a pocket). Anyone who has caught a disc with cold hands before (ouch!) will appreciate this item on a chilly day.

For a list of many of the vendors from whom you can purchase these items, visit the DiscNW Ultimate Equipment page.

I don't live in Seattle, and it's a pretty long drive. Are there options to play youth Ultimate in my area?

Teams seem to come and go in Puget Sound areas outside of Seattle proper.  Contact the DiscNW for information on current youth Ultimate opportunities outside of Seattle.  DiscNW is always looking for passionate volunteer coordinators in cities outside of Seattle who can make a commitment to starting a consistent program, so let the Youth Director know if that might be you.  Also, visit the Youth Contacts and Networking page to find some other options for connecting with teams outside of Seattle.

Click here to return to the Youth FAQ index.

Teams and Coaches

My team has never played before in a DiscNW event. How do we sign up?

Registrations for all DiscNW events are managed through the DiscNW website. Your first step is to check the Play Youth Ultimate page and pick the event(s) for which you want to register. Note the dates of those events. At about 2 months before the event, check the right hand Events bar of the DiscNW home page regularly to see if registration for your event of interest is open yet. If it is within 40 days of the event and you still have not seen registration, there may be a problem or a change in the schedule. Send an email to the DiscNW indicating your interest.

Where can I get discs for my team?

Some general purpose retailers, such as REI and Fred Meyer, sell discs, but you'll want to use caution; make sure you get a USA Ultimate approved disc for Ultimate.  Here are recommendations for acquiring an approved disc:

  • DiscNW sells 175-gram DiscNW logo discs to youth programs for a very reasonable price. Contact the DiscNW if you would like to purchase discs from DiscNW.
  • Wright Life sells a number of different disc packages and educational kits, which include several standard (age 13 and older) or junior (age 12 and under) discs and written coaching materials. 
  • USA Ultimate members can apply for equipment grants for new teams or buy very inexpensive misprints from Discraft's juniors program
  • Last but not least, you can shop for discs at a number of the vendors on the DiscNW Equipment page. 

How can I set up scrimmages with other local teams?

First, to get the contact information for other teams, visit the Play Youth Ultimate page, click on the spring league for your age group, click on "Standings," and click on the team(s) you'd like to scrimmage. Once you click on the teams, you should be able to view contact information for the coach. Another option is to visit the Youth Contacts page and explore some of the options listed there for networking with other teams.

How can I get liability insurance coverage for my practice or for an event I'm organizing?

Liability insurance is extremely important, as it protects you from lawsuits that might arise as a result of accidents that occur at your event.  Most field providers require proof of insurance before they will allow you to rent fields for an event.

The need for liability insurance is one of the reasons why it is so important for you to communicate with school administrators about the existence of your team. Your school can often provide insurance for your practices and possibly for events that occur at the school as well.

Another option is to team with DiscNW to plan your event. This is not a great option for practices, but for larger events that involve several teams, there may be many benefits in collaborating with DiscNW (including advertisement and online registration). For more information on this, contact the DiscNW .

Finally, you can seek event sanctioning or practice insurance from USA Ultimate.  If you pursue this option, all participants in your event must either pay a nominal one-time fee to USA Ultimate or become USA Ultimate members.  Additionally, USA Ultimate paperwork must be submitted for all players (waivers), coaches (background checks), and teams (rosters).

My team needs a coach. How do I find one?

Start early! Coaches are in high demand, and it can be pretty difficult to find one, even if it's a paid position. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Contact the DiscNW and request that the job be posted on the Coaches' Info section of the website and the DiscNW Facebook Page.
  2. Post on the DiscNW Bulletin Board. Post it under the "General Discussion" section rather than the "Youth Ultimate" section (or do both!) because more adults who are candidates to coach tend to read the former, whereas folks who are already committed to teams tend to read the latter.
  3. Email local college and club teams. Visit the DiscNW Youth Resources page to find their websites (most of which will list general email adresses for the team).
  4. Enlist a teacher as coach, even if (s)he is not familiar with the game. If that becomes necessary, contact the DiscNW to request training and/or to find some assistant coaches who can help out once in a while (even if they can't help out for the whole season).
  5. Contact the DiscNW to brainstorm some other forms of advertising.

I'd like to coach a team. How do I find one?

Coaches tend to be in very high demand at the beginning of seasons. Check the Play Youth Ultimate page to find out when seasons start and, thereby, when you should start your search for a team.

  1. Check the Coaches' Info page for job listings.
  2. Visit the DiscNW Bulletin Boards frequently. Check the General Discussion, Classifieds, and Youth Ultimate Sections; posts about coaching positions might be placed in any of these locations. Also post your desire to coach a team, and tell a little about your experience.
  3. Sign up for the DiscNW youth email list and the Friends of DiscNW list and watch for job listings that are posted to those groups.
  4. If you still don't find anything, email the DiscNW to be placed on the list of interested coaches needing a team.

Click here to return to the Youth FAQ index.

Website Troubleshooting

How do I register my child for a DiscNW event using the website?

Registering for a DiscNW individual event (e.g., camps, clinics, or hat events) first requires the creation of a Player Page/Profile on the DiscNW website. There are two options for managing your child's registrations:

A. Creating one Player Page/Profile, under the parent's name, and adding players (children) so that all of your children are on one, easy-to-manage account (most suitable for parents managing registrations for multiple young children).

To register in this way, follow these instructions:

  1. On the DiscNW home page, look in the top right corner (under the words "ultimate in the northwest") and find a box outlined in gray. It should say "Please Log In."
  2. At the bottom of that box, click on the words "...or Register."
  3. Complete all of the fields and follow all directions to create your Player Page/Profile.
  4. After you've completed this process, return to the DiscNW Home Page.
  5. In the right-hand column, click on the event for which you want to register.
  6. If you've clicked on a youth event requiring individual registration (e.g., hat league or camp), you should see a link near the top that says "create new player" or something similar to that. Click on that link. If it is not available, contact the DiscNW .
  7. Answer all questions and click on "Register" to complete your registration!

In the future, when you log in to your Player Page/Profile and click on an event to register, you will be given the option of registering yourself or one of the other players (children) on your Player Page/Profile.

B. Creating a separate Player Page/Profile for each individual child (most suitable for older children who check their email frequently and can manage their own registrations).

To register in this way, follow the instructions above, skipping #6, for each child. In the future, each child will have to log on to his/her individual Player Page/Profile in order to register for events.

As a parent, I'd like to receive the email announcements that my child receives regarding the event for which (s)he is registered. How can I do that?

Unfortunately, because of website limitations, each Player Page/Profile can be associated with only one email address. Therefore, if you want to receive your child's notifications, you will need to change the email address on his/her Player Page/Profile to your own. Here are the steps for updating the email address associated with a Player Page/Profile:

  1. On the DiscNW home page, look in the top right corner (under the words "ultimate in the northwest") and find a box outlined in gray. It should say "Please Log In."
  2. Log in, entering your child's (or your own) username and password.
  3. In that same gray box, you should now see the link for "Player Page." Click on it.
  4. Click on "Go to User Profile."
  5. Change the email address and then click "submit."

The DiscNW Webteam is working on rehauling the registration process. The plan is to create a more explicit connection between parents and children, and to make registration more user-friendly.

Click here to return to the Youth FAQ index.

Click here to return to the general Youth Ultimate index.