Advanced Flex – Part I: Counter-Strategies

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Flex vs Vertical Stack

flex v verticalIf the opponents create a vertical stack, you should surround the stack as illustrated – this is also called the ‘scramble’ position (although in ‘scramble’, you usually transition to man-to-man defence after 1 pass).

Whichever offensive player runs towards your area, you mark tightly, and the other defenders reposition to account for the fact you’re now occupied. The 5 players guarding the stack are basically playing a 5v5 game against the players in the stack, where they cannot allow a player to be unmarked when in space or moving towards it. If a player cuts far out of the stack (‘running through the poach’) then it becomes 4v4, and so on, until it’s clear who everybody’s mark is and we’re back to playing regular Flex, looking for switches.

In Mixed, the players marking the stack should be gender-specific, e.g. it’s a 3v3 women’s matchup and a 2v2 men’s matchup. If a woman cuts out and takes a mark, it becomes 2v2 & 2v2. Keeping track of the number of players helps avoid double coverage & unnecessary poaching which might leave a player free.

Flex vs Horizontal Stack

Against a horizontal stack, you should start tight to your mark, and look for switches after the first cuts are made. As any of the four cutting players can go deep initially, they must be marked honestly. Trying to have a deep & under poach when the disc is in the middle of the field does not work, as it leaves somebody in too much space – causing the defence to break down.

flex v horizontalWhen setting up, one wing player must push up to mark the third handler – the wing player on the break side. Make this move early so it’s clear to the back/hat players who you are marking. The side cutter on the break side is marked by a ‘back’ player, the side cutter on the open side is marked by the other ‘wing’ player, which leaves the two in the middle (the ‘active pair’ when the disc is in the middle).

The back & hat players in the middle should mark their man honestly at first, as they don’t know whether they will go deep or come under, and it’s too easy to split the hat if we try to mark zonally. After the active middle pair make their first cut, the two defenders can get their heads up and have a look to see if they can switch. One defender will be ‘under’ – they can become the ‘hat’ – and the other will be ‘deep’ – they can become a ‘back’ player.

Flex vs Stack in the endzone

antWhen the opponents transition into a vertical stack in the end zone, you should stay in Flex to stifle the space and generate confusion & chaos. The ‘Ant’ defence is particularly useful against a static start – if there has been a timeout after a huck caught just outside the end zone, for example.

The force is straight up, and the remaining players surround the stack, picking up marks as they run towards them, and adjusting each time a defending team mate becomes occupied with a mark – like Flex vs Vert.

The ‘forward’ player marking the reset can also choose to leave them and join the ‘ant’ formation – which would give it six legs. If the person with the disc is a weaker thrower, the reset should be marked.

In the video below, Felix talks about the roles of each position in Flex before talking about Flex vs Vert stack (11:48) and Flex vs Horizontal stack (15:10):

Part of a series:
Flexagon Defence
Advanced Flex Part I: Counter-Strategies
Advanced Flex Part II: Communication
Advanced Flex Part III: The Stall 3 Game-Changer

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