Flash Poaching (Spectrum of D pt 3)

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Flash Poaching is the technique that’s the first step away from purely marking players that teams use to generate turns. Aware defenders flash poach ahead of a cut when they believe they know which player will imminently be thrown to. A flash poaching player can dive into that space early to discourage the throw or late and potentially get a D. Flash poaching is great for adding a bit of chaos into your defence that throwers need to consider when deciding if a player is free enough to throw to; a more difficult task than deciding if a 1 to 1 marked player is free.

Flash Poaches do however leave a player with separation that can cut away from the flash poach and get very free. Flash Poaches also require a lot of field awareness as flash poaching an option that wasn’t going to be thrown to has no upside and means the player poached off of is even more likely to receive the disc. Flash poaching can encourage watching the disc to determine if a cut will be thrown to instead of keeping focus on your match-up, which can add a split second to a defenders reaction to their match-up cutting.

New York Pony are a team that have used flash poaching very effectively, specifically in the 2018 season, leading to wins at the Pro Championship Finals and USAU Club Nationals. Pony’s defence was excellent at recognising when their match-up was inactive, surveying the field, and attacking the space where an active player was cutting into. More analysis of Pony’s defensive strategy can be found in this analysis video from the Pro championship finals and these livestreams with coach of Pony, Bryan Jones as we go over Pony’s nationals win in 2018.

Justin Foord’s Masterclass in How to React to the Thrower on the Force

Justin Foord’s Masterclass in How to React to the Thrower on the Force from r/ultimate

Here’s the link to the full video analysis of this turnover from the UK Nationals Open Final between Clapham and Chevron in 2017: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15Lc-dPLvDs

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Japan v USA p08: Pointing, Field Balancing, & Player Counting from Koike

Extremely detailed analysis of a few seconds from the Worlds final in 2016 – breaking down Japan’s unique defence. In this clip Koike appears to player-count and then move to ensure the field is balanced, meaning every defender has a nearby offense player to mark. High levels of communication and field awareness are seen in Japan’s not-quite-zone defence.
Takeaways: (1) Point to communicate! (2) As a central defender deciding whether to push under or deep, count the players on the field to ensure your movement keeps the field balanced!
Part of the Japan v USA WUGC 2016 Analysis Series!

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The first thing I notice is the Japanese defender #3 Yasuo Takahashi at the top of the screen, passing off an offensive player (Schlacket) as they run down the wing – pointing in their direction as #81 Masatsune Miyazaki picks them up.

Watching #81 Miyazaki from the start (on the very left of the screen), you notice he allows an offensive player to move away from him across the width of the field, but he points in the general direction they went, which alerts #19 (Koike) to the potentially unmarked player. Miyazaki tracks Schlacket for the remainder of the clip, continually checking in with the disc and the other defenders around him.

#19 Koike in the centre also points towards Schlacket as he moves down the line, and later gesticulates towards the deep space as he moves towards it. Why does he prioritise the deep space? In the backfield at that moment there are three defensive and three offensive players, meaning the situation is balanced. In the deep space however there are 4 offensive players and 3 defenders – until he arrives to help. I believe Koike is player-counting, and that this is an important job for whoever finds themselves in the central defender position. By keeping track of the ratio of downfield vs backfield players, the central defender is able to position themselves to keep the field balanced, and prevent a heavy concentration in any particular area – which often leads to a defensive breakdown. It is of course critical for them to stay in constant communication with the rest of the team whilst doing this, as they act like the central node in a network.

A fairly clear ‘rule of thumb’ for the Japanese defence which we can extrapolate from this clip is one which we also identified in a previous clip: communicate the location of offensive players through gesticulation and vocalisation – especially important if those players are potentially unmarked (i.e. when you let your mark leave you). This would fall under the general defensive principle of: communicate. Less clearly, it appears the central defender is trying to maintain the balance of players on the field by player-counting and adjusting his positioning accordingly, which essentially leads to every defender having a mark / every offensive player being covered / no area being overloaded. Whether this is a rule of thumb, a principle, or part of a more general principle being adhered to is currently unclear, although the next clip I will analyse shows it is definitely an area of focus for Japan.

These two elements of the Japanese defence work very well together – through each defender communicating where the potentially free offensive players are moving around the field, and trying to maintain field balance, the team can work together like a network, and is able to flex in order to cover the offensive team’s movement & positioning, as commentator Bryan Jones makes note of during this point. This level of teamwork lifts the ceiling off what is usually expected from traditional approaches to defence.

How to Switch (Flex Defence Part 2)

Part 2 of the Flexagon Defence series, focusing on switching – early vs late, the triggers you can look for on the field, reactive vs proactive, and pre-empting switches. Felix explains in detail with help from animated illustrations, and video examples of 8 different switches with analysis.
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Fundamentals of Switching: • Two or more defenders change who they are marking • Cover offensive movement more efficiently and more effectively • Higher stall counts • Opportunities for blocks Early switches: • Increase efficiency • Neutralise cuts Late switches: • Generate blocks • Harder to recover from • Surprise the offence Pre-empting switches: • Spot opportunities • Connect with teammates • Decide together Triggers: • Cutters cross paths • Path takes them past your teammate or vice versa • Space aimed at is closer to a teammate or vice versa Reactive switches: • Most common • Damage limitation tactic • Independent decision making Part of the upcoming Flexagon Defence Series by felixultimate available to Patrons: What is Flexagon Defence? (Flex Defence Part 1) How to Switch Marks (Flex Defence Part 2) How to Surround Stacks (Flex Defence Part 3) Field Awareness & Communication (Flex Defence Part 4) How to Counter Flex (Flex Defence Part 5) How to Counter Hex (Flex Defence Part 6) How to Train Sandwiches How to Train Switches