Youth Development

Learn to Play
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DSC01695 Perry NacionalesYouth Development Programs:

Learn to Play Eventsis a youth outreach initiative that partners with organizers across the country to introduce and excite young athletes to play the game of Ultimate and connect athletes with structured playing opportunities in their community.

Education Outreach: USA Ultimate assists Physical Educators and Educational programs from Elementary Schools to Universities in offering Ultimate as an classroom activity, class, or afterschool program. If you are interested in offering ultimate in your school, contact

The Story of Youth Ultimate

In 2002, USA Ultimate, then called the Ultimate Players Association (UPA), recognizing the potential for growth in the Youth (under 19) division, created a full-time paid position at headquarters for a Director of Youth Development. The division had long been acknowledged as an under served sector as the large majority of participants in organized sports are high school aged and younger. From the early 1990’s to 2002 the division had been served by a number of volunteer National Juniors Director’s. The program’s two main components during that time were the US Juniors team which first sent a team to the WFDF World Ultimate Championships in 1994 and the UPA Junior Invitational Championships (later renamed the UPA HS Championships). At the end of 2001 the USA Ultimate had a total of 342 youth members.

Since 2002 USA Ultimate has initiated a number of new programs directed at growing the youth division in both breadth and depth. The USA Ultimate HS Championships has been split into the USA Ultimate HS Eastern and Western Championships and eligibility rules for these events have been tightened to restrict teams to single schools. Beginning in 2003 USA Ultimate began sponsoring HS State Championships and created positions for State Youth Coordinators.

In 2005 the USA Ultimate Youth Club Championships began to provide an opportunity to teams made up of players from several schools in one area. The US Junior National team has expanded to include try-outs in order to select the top players from around the country.
2009 YCC
USA Ultimate initiated a PE outreach program in 2003 with partner Wham-O that seeks to expose physical educators around the country to the sport of Ultimate. Finally, USA Ultimate initiated a coach and volunteer training and certification program, the USA Ultimate Coaching Corps in 2004.

USA Ultimate’s youth membership exceeded 7,000 by the end of 2009. While this is a eighteen fold increase from just seven years earlier it is merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of the potential for youth Ultimate. Ultimate, in many ways, is an ideal youth sport. It is easy to learn and play. It can be played with varying numbers on a side and in a variety of spaces from fields to gyms to blacktops. Being self-officiated Ultimate does not require the presence of a trained referee and contributes to young athletes’ character development and conflict resolution skills. Game play lends itself to cooperation and teamwork as no player can score by him or herself. The sport can be played single gender or co-recreationally. Most importantly, Ultimate is inexpensive – all you need to play is a disc. All of these factors will contribute to the future growth of Ultimate at the youth level.

For more information on growing the sport of Ultimate at the Youth level:

Online Resource Center


Youth and Education Resources




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