v 2.3 – October 2018
Concept first published 1st Jan 2013
Older version also available en Français (v2.1)
Hex is a natural and organic offence in ultimate frisbee. If you want to win and have fun, follow these three guidelines:
1. Keep the disc moving
2. Maintain team shape
3. Control your balance
Understanding and implementing these principles creates a fast-moving, flow-based offence which doesn’t give the defence a chance to set, maximises options, constantly changes the angles of attack, generates plenty of scoring opportunities, and is a lot of fun to play – for beginners and experienced players alike!
1. Keep the disc moving
Sustained flow is very valuable and hard to defend against, so players should take any open pass available to them without hesitation. The decision tree in the video below is a guideline for how players should move, and where they should look, in order to have the best shot at keeping the disc moving.
2. Maintain team shape
Players should maintain hex shape throughout their possession, as this will maximise their options. This is an ongoing task – shape doesn’t need to be perfect, and it will slightly deform whenever the disc or players move – but a little maintenance goes a long way. The shape is a hexagon made of equilateral triangles, with the thrower on one of the corners. Players should gravitate to shape positions when flow has stopped – something Outbreak could do a little better in this video illustrating hex shape:
3. Control your balance
In terms of individual technique, being in control of your balance whilst catching and throwing means you are in control of your acceleration and deceleration as well as the direction of the disc – a powerful combination! When used to counter defensive imbalance and/or exploit space, a thrower can generate flow and penetrate through defensive setups.
There are two basic types of throw: the dribble-throw and the pivot-throw. At the moment of release, a thrower’s acceleration is near zero for a pivot-throw, and maximised for a dribble-throw. Pivot-throws are useful for getting the disc around a defender, but leave a defender between the previous thrower and the new thrower. Dribble-throws are useful for moving (with the disc) past or away from a defender, but are more difficult to execute.
Video coming soon: Hex Technique Explained – Balance Control
Combine and train these three elements – movement, shape, and technique – with freedom, creativity, and spirit – to win whilst enjoying the sport of ultimate frisbee to its fullest!
Extra notes for players who are familiar with / trained in stack offences:
- De-prioritise gaining yards – hex values flow over yardage, so take the open pass regardless of yardage, field position, or stall count. Look to initiate and continue flow, instead of looking downfield to potentially gain yards
- Spread out – clumping together in a stack maximises space at the expense of options, which does not work well with a flow-based offence. Make equilateral triangles locally, and resist the temptation to flood (or ‘clear’) downfield when the disc is on the sideline (50% of the players should be behind the disc to keep balanced shape)
- Follow your throw – when throwing, instead of viewing nearby space as just areas for your receivers to cut to, view them as areas which you can attack immediately after releasing the disc, receive passes back to, and then use the momentum of your defender against them
- Face infield – the centre of the space – soon after catching the disc, instead of looking downfield
- Training Hex Offence with your team
- Frank Huguenard’s Motion Offence
- Old Hex O documentation 2.1 2.2
- SMOG at Windmill 2018
- Sussex Uni flow point at Uni Nationals 2018 (with analysis)
- Brighton Breezy at SE Regionals 2015
- Brighton City at UKU Nationals 2015
- Brighton City at Tour 3 2015
- GB Mixed vs India at U23 Worlds 2015
- GB Mixed vs Japan (zone) at U23 Worlds 2015
- How to start a point: Brighton City @ Regionals 2015
- Drone footage: GB U23 X vs GB Mixed 2015
- Early: Hex comparison to Spain’s Tiki-Taka style
- Early Hex analysis: vs 1-to-1, vs zone/switching/poaches
If you want your team to have a crash course on Hex in preparation for the season ahead, felixultimate.com can run a Hex Clinic in your city – this will get everyone on the same page and able to play hex within one weekend. If your team is already playing hex and wants to improve, you can book a live online video analysis session with Felix. At the time of writing, 7 Hex Clinics and 14 live online video analysis sessions have taken place. To arrange a live online analysis session or a hex clinic in your city, contact felix at felixultimate.com
Amsterdam Hex Clinic, 29-30th September 2018
Last weekend saw players from all over Netherlands and Belgium come together to learn Hex Offence and Flex Defence at the Amsterdam Hex Clinic, put together with help from Sjoerd Druven. The clinic started with a classroom session on Flexagon Defence theory – the group discussed common offensive mistakes and shortcomings, and thought about which were the most noticed, and which are rarely considered to contribute to turnovers. Then we looked at how defence could change to take advantage of the less noticed offensive shortcomings, and how such a defence could be trained.
… read more & see videos of drills …
We headed out onto the field after lunch to put into practice what we had been talking about – running a few drills without a disc involved, focusing on defensive movement. Here are clips from Trent’s Drill (credit to Trent Simmons from 10milliondiscs.org) and the Surrounding Stack Drill, which aim to get players used to moving and reacting to multiple offensive players in a group, rather than just 1-to-1 marking.
Casper / ulti.tv filmed the first outdoors session, so when we went inside we were able to immediately use the footage for video analysis! This was really beneficial to everyone – to be able to replay exactly what happened and consider alternative actions is a great way to learn quickly. After the analysis session we headed out again for the Triple-Sandwich drill, and more games!
Saturday night we had a meal at a Turkish restaurant and played some Dobble before going out for a couple of drinks & then back to Sjoerd’s house (picturesque – next to a canal).
Sunday was Hexagon Offence day – starting again with a classroom session where we looked at the history of offence, broke down the shared fundamental elements of offence, and looked at how different offensive systems prioritise different values – and how Hex fits into the picture. Hex, which values flow above all else, was explained through Movement, Shape, and Technique – each of which are very different compared to conventional stack offences.
Then we headed out onto the field again! We trained technique first, emphasising the throw-and-go / dribble-throw technique, and had a Dribble Slalom Race:
Ulti.tv were filming again, so we were able to go inside and immediately have an analysis session. During this session I noticed that everyone was analysing their own play – I didn’t really need to contribute much because the theory knowledge from earlier was being put into action, and everyone could see what they could do better in any situation, and what was working well.
Although it was quite a light turnout this time around, we had 7v7 and I felt the clinic was a huge success. Everyone understood the theory, implemented it well, saw another side of ultimate strategy, and many players said they were keen to take the O/D back to their teams.
I learnt more about how to teach the strategies and implemented a few new drills with great success. Most importantly though, everybody had FUN playing Hex & Flex!
… read transcript / summary …
Hex Movement Decision Tree: Brief explanation / shortened transcript of video
The way I’ve been looking at offence recently is to break it into three elements; Movement, Structure, and Technique.
This decision tree is a guideline for how to sustain and generate movement of the disc. The left side pertains to movement of the disc, and the right side is more focused on players who are off-disc.
If you have the disc in your hands then you have three questions; Is someone open in front of you?, Is the previous thrower open?, and Can you continue the path of the disc? If the answer is Yes to any of these three questions then you take the open pass, and look for the return pass, before returning to the start of the decision tree. If the return pass is successful then you enter a loop on the top left of the tree, which is where give-go / dribbling moves thrive.
If the answer to any of the three ‘open’ questions is Maybe, then you fake. The answer could be ‘maybe’ because you’re not confident with the distance or type of throw the option is asking of you, or because the defender is half-covering the throw, or for any reason you’re not happy with the option – in this case, fake, and return to asking “Is someone open in front of you?” – which may be the player you just faked an option to.
In some situations it’s better to look to continue the path of the disc before looking back to the previous thrower. Looking back to previous thrower lends itself to a more dribbling-style of Hex, but looking first to continue the path of the disc fits in quite nicely with techniques players have learnt from conventional offences.
If all then ‘open’ answers are ‘No’, then you should face the centre of the space. In Hex, this means you face where the Hat position is (the central player), and you should have all your team mates within your field of view. At this point you return to asking yourself if anyone is open in front of you.
Let’s say you go for the return pass and don’t get the disc back into your hands. The first question to ask yourself is ‘Am I in good hex shape?‘. The details about hex shape / structure are defined in another video, but if you decide you are not in good hex shape then you should reposition – with urgency. Repositioning moves are like cuts, and simply repositioning may well provide the thrower with a viable passing option.
If you are in good hex shape, ask yourself if you are open. If you are, communicate with the thrower by gesticulation or vocalisation, to let the thrower know you are a potential option for them to hit or fake to.
If you aren’t open, see if the thrower is looking at you. If they are, you should try to generate an option for them to either hit or fake to – by moving, or by gesticulating towards space. This will create further options for your team mates.
If you’re in good hex shape, not open, and the thrower is not looking at you, then you should see whether you can create useful space for a team mate. This means looking around to take note of your team mates positions and their defenders relative positions, and working out whether you moving in any direction could create a space, or occupy another defender, which would be useful for your team mate. If you can, then you should generate this option.
If none of these things are the case, then you should chill – don’t stress or feel pressure to create an option, because if everyone on your team is going through the same decision process then the thrower will be faking to half-options, looking at players to generate options, and so on, and the options will come. Continue monitoring the situation to see if you can create useful space for a team mate, to make sure you’re in good hex shape (as a team), and to see if you’re free or if the thrower is looking at you, but aim to become comfortable being in the position of sustaining offensive possession as a team.
Oakland’s coach Valerio got in touch about reviewing some footage of his team. They play conventional offence and defence – here is an excerpt from a Live Streamed Analysis session I ran with them.
Here’s the full 2hr video:
Check out the Catching module at http://www.ultyresults.com
WUCC 2018 in Cincinnati has concluded, free live streams of the AO All-Stars games have begun!
Live streaming WUCC with ulti.tv (through Fanseat) was a great success – we covered 5 games a day for the first 5 days, then the first half of the Mixed Semi Final, before lightning struck and tornado warnings were sent out, and the remaining games were moved indoors – crazy stuff! Here are the highlight reels we put together:
Now I’m on the road with Mike Palmer and Casper Schmitt, live streaming the Asian-Oceanic All-Star Women’s Tour. Last night they played against Bent in New York – highlights below – so 4 games are remaining against some top US competition. Here’s the upcoming schedule [all times are EST]:
Weds 25th 18:30: vs Green Means Go (Philadelphia)
Thurs 26th 19:00: vs Scandal (Washington)
Fri 27th 19:00: vs Brute Squad (Boston)
Mon 30th 19:00: vs 6ixers (Toronto)
Highlights from the New York Bent match:
More info on WUCC at http://www.wucc2018.com
Kept the video short and had some technical issues with my new machine, otherwise would’ve loved to have mentioned how great Reading look heading into Worlds, and how I’m looking forward to seeing SMOG (and perhaps some other teams) bring out some Hex! If you see any being played, send me the link!
Follow the games I’ll be working production on live by subscribing to Fanseat – http://www.fanseat.com
- Analysis / discussion – 2 times the stadium bigscreen settled foul calls in the EUCF Final 2018 November 16, 2018
- Analysis: Excerpts from Live Analysis with Blue Devils U22 (Victoria State) Australian team playing Hex November 12, 2018
- Hexagon Offence v2.3 October 14, 2018
- Amsterdam Hex Clinic October 1, 2018
- Hex Movement Decision Tree September 6, 2018
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