Flexagon Defence (Spectrum of D pt 5)



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5th and final part from the Spectrum of Defensive Coverage in Ultimate series. In this video we look at how flexagon defence combines principles of switching and surrounding the opponents in order to complicate situations and gain advantage from offences which focus on clustering players or running set plays.

Surrounding Stacks (Flex Defence Part 3)


Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/felixultimate
Part 3 of the Flexagon Defence series, focusing on surrounding stacks – initial positioning, and then how to react to offensive movement. Felix explains in detail with help from animated illustrations, and video examples with analysis.

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Sustained Poaching (Spectrum of D pt 4)



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Sustained poaching is the technique of covering a space on the field that is particularly valuable to the offence. If an offence makes disproportionate use of deep throws for example, then a poaching defender in the deep space can increase the difficulty of a deep throw, and force the offence to make shorter passes. The deep poach also allows 1 to 1 defenders to take away the under aggressively in the knowledge that the deep poach will help if they get beat deep. Similar tactics can be used with a poach in the open side lane, with other defenders aggressively covering the deep space, or a combination of a sustained under poach and a deep poach, often seen utilised against vertical stacks.

Combatting sustained poaching comes in two main styles. Either an offence continues to create options in the poached area by running through that space and drawing the poaching player out of position, leaving the space free for a cut. Alternatively the offence can look to use other areas of the field to work the disc up to the endzone. When a team uses a sustained poach it also requires other downfield defenders to switch off their mark and onto the poached player when they make a cut, which requires communication and field awareness. If the defence chooses not to do this when the poached player cuts away from the poach, they generate a large amount of separation and the space is left exposed.

In the 2019 EUCF final CUSB La Fotta used sustained poaching against Clapham to take away both the deep and under space at different parts in the game. Here you can see Justin Ford cut deep only to see a deep poach and look visibly frustrated, and here is a near poach d from Bruno Mine as he lingers in the under space. Check out full analysis of the game in 4 part series on the felixultimate channel.

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.

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

Spectrum of Defence: Zone (Part 2)

Full Spectrum video on Patreon: https://patreon.com/felixultimate

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Let’s take a look at the other side of the spectrum- Zone defence. In zones, defenders take up a position relative to the disc and then cover that space. Zones tend to have one of two goals. Either zones pressure shorter options and bait throwers into attempting high risk throws, or, zones leave easier options in the backfield open, and contain downfield options in the hope that over many throws the offence will make an unforced error. Zones thrive in poor weather conditions where the likelihood of routine mistakes and difficulty of expansive throws both dramatically increase.

The key problem that zones face is that it’s almost impossible to take away all the options when players take up positions instead of marking players. Therefore zones tend to rely on the offence’s poor decision making or execution errors to generate turns. Zones also require communication and awareness from defenders – keeping track of the disc position, restricting the space on the field in coordination with your teammates and avoiding double coverage – all complex processes which leave plenty of opportunity for critical errors, even in the very best zones.

Few teams play zone defence as a primary strategy in modern day ultimate. Throwers are so proficient at making precise and patient throws that zones may slow the tempo an offence but rarely cause consistent turns. Of course zone defence in adverse weather situations remains prevalent but transition zones are becoming more and more popular. Teams like Raleigh Ring of Fire and recently New York Pony may play zone for the first few passes or until the disc passes a certain point on the field before snapping to 1-1 matchups.

Spectrum of Defence: Matchups (Part 1)

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Spectrum of Defence: Matchups (Part 1)
Spectrum of Defence: Zone (Part 2)
Spectrum of Defence: Flash Poaching (Part 3)
Spectrum of Defence: Sustained Poaching (Part 4)
Spectrum of Defence: Flexagon Defence (Part 5)

Hi everybody, this is the spectrum of defensive coverage, which categorises the degree to which a team is defending space, or defending players. In this video we’re going to look at examples of the different concepts along this spectrum, their pros and cons, and why defences might want to play them at different times. For more info on Flexagon defence, which is my speciality, check out the videos on the felixultimate YouTube and patreon channels.

On the far left of this spectrum is Match defence where each defender matches up against an offensive player and aims to stop that individual getting free. Conventional match defence is extremely individualistic allowing defenders to pick favourable match-ups that correspond to their abilities. The basic teamwork that is happening at this end of the spectrum revolves around the force – the defender marking the thrower is tasked with pressuring particular types of throws or throws to a designated area called the break side, whilst the downfield defenders mark their matchups accordingly, usually by guarding moves to the open side as a priority over moves to the break side.

Offences exploit the reactive nature of match defence by forming vertical and side stacks which lead all the defenders into a small area and leave large open spaces for the offence to cut into. Match defence is also vulnerable as it places a disproportionate responsibility on the person marking the thrower to pressure all break-side throws.Most ultimate players have probably run a 3 person break force drill and have routinely broken the force time and time again, try this drill with your eyes closed on disc and you may be surprised at how successful you can be. [Insert video of blindfold breakforce, record one at next disc golf sesh] This means that break side throws are common in almost all high and intermediate level ultimate games.

Few high level teams play pure 1 to 1 match defence nowadays, most encourage a level of flash poaching and reactive switching in situations where a score must be stopped, or where a turnover can be generated. The more that players can lock on to a 1 to 1 match-up, the less on-field teamwork is used, which simplifies the task for defenders and allows them to focus on shutting down their matchup. This leads to a sustained level of pressure over time, with many bids possible from an athletic team. Teams that tend to have an athletic advantage over their opponents like Clapham, Fury and Grut have used match defence to great success as they can consistently shut out their match-ups without the need for team Defence.

If you think I’m doing worthwhile work and you’re benefiting from my videos, and if you want to see the rest of the Spectrum videos without delay, become a patron for any amount. If you want me to analyse footage of you or your team, my rates are very affordable right now because as a coach and cameraman, I need the work – get in touch with what you’d like to see. I’m glad you’re enjoying the videos and I appreciate any support!

What is Flexagon Defence?

In this short video I introduce Flexagon Defence and break it down to show how Flexing defenders can use dynamic teamwork to cause trouble for predictable offences, plus a video example of Flex in action.

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Flexagon defence is a hybrid defence – if you plot a spectrum from matchup-based 1-to-1 defence, to area-based zone defence, Flex lies somewhere in the middle. Sometimes it can resemble 1-to-1 coverage, and at other times it can resemble a zone, but it shouldn’t be described as being one or the other.
All the concepts on this Spectrum of Defensive Coverage are explained with examples in another video linked in the description below, be sure to check it out. This video focuses solely on Flexagon Defence.
Defenders in Flex switch marks as early and as often as they can, and they surround clusters of players including stacks. When the offensive players are spread out or isolated, defenders in flex mark 1-to-1. These coordinated team actions are executed mid-possession, triggered by particular offensive movements, and require strong awareness and communication skills from the flexing defenders. Defenders train to recognise when it’s appropriate to switch, to surround, or to mark 1-to-1, and they keep a constant on-field communication channel open so they can reposition, adjust, and adapt as a team accordingly.
The default force in Flex is towards the middle when the disc is near the middle, and toward the sideline when the disc is near the sideline.

This footage is taken from an indoor regional semi-final, though Flex is usually played outdoors. Reading form a tight stack in the centre of the space, the flexing Sussex defenders surround, and pick up players to mark 1-to-1 as they begin to cut. On the right hand side Zach picks his moment to switch off his mark and catch the interception.
The initial setup ensures little double-coverage as the defenders guard the open space. Despite an initial double-commit, there is quick communication and re-adjustment made before the offence are able to capitalise. Once all the offensive players are cutting, the defenders are marking 1-to-1 whilst looking to help each other. If the offence were to cluster together again, the defenders would return to surrounding them.

More from this series coming soon – for a classroom breakdown of Flexagon Defence check out the felixultimate patreon, and I’ll see you again soon!

Group Hex – Non-stop Hex footage analysed by coaches

A group of coaches look at non-stop footage of Hexagon Offence being played by different teams around the world, discuss the pros/cons, field questions from the YouTube chat, and provide critical analysis!

Clip from Rhino v Doublewide

Felix gets Angry about Picks from r/ultimate

Clip taken from Part 1 of the analysis of Rhino v Doublewide with Russ Allen – Part 2 is available on the felixultimate patreon.