v 2.33 – May 2021
Concept first published 1st Jan 2013
Older version also available en Français (v2.1)
Hex is a naturally fast-paced offence, which flows organically and is a lot of fun to play. If you want to win and have fun, follow these three guidelines:
1. Control your balance (technique)
2. Keep the disc moving (movement)
3. Maintain team shape (spacing)
Players work together as a team to maximise options, meaning there are tons of opportunities to get involved in the play. For beginners this means more disc time, less restrictions, and more fun. For high level teams this means the offence can adapt quickly to defensive change by utilising the spread nature and quick disc movement. Training Hex will typically develop more intuitive, well-rounded players who are comfortable with the disc, as opposed to specific role fillers.
1. 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 body’s acceleration and deceleration as well as the flow/direction of the disc – a powerful combination!
When used to counter defensive imbalance and/or exploit space, a thrower who is prepared to throw’n’go in any direction can generate flow and penetrate through defensive setups.
There are two basic types of throw: the pivot-throw, and the throw’n’go (or half-pivot). Pivot throws leave the throwers static, throw’n’go moves end with the thrower running. Pivot throws are useful for getting the disc around a defender and adding power, throw’n’go moves are useful for getting away from your defender and offering an immediate return option.
Here’s analysis of Manuela Cardenas from Revolution / Colombia, using throw’n’go techniques and dribbling;
2. 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. This decision tree 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.
full image of the Hex Movement Decision Tree
In this video from 2018 I talk through the decision tree, and look at a point of hex being played from it’s perspective.
3. Maintain team shape
Players should maintain good spacing between each other and the disc throughout their possession, as this will maximise their options. The shape that forms naturally with equal spacing between 7 players is a hexagon made of equilateral triangles;
Players should gravitate towards shape positions during play and when flow has stopped. The shape will deform naturally whenever the disc or players move – it doesn’t need to be perfect, but shape maintenance is an ongoing task for each player which will benefit the team. Designate “Shape Police” in training whose task it is to oversee the shape during a point. The disc should be on the outside of the shape, and as the disc position moves across the field, the shape rotates a full 180 degrees – so the central point is directly towards the centre of the field when the disc is on the sideline. Here’s some shape-centered analysis of clips from Australian club team Outbreak Mountain;
When a team focuses on maintaining their shape and keeping the disc moving, they can generate and sustain flow – as explained in this analysis of USA D3 team Stevens IoT;
Combine and train these three elements – technique, movement, and shape – with freedom, creativity, and spirit – and you’ll not only enjoy training and playing more, but you’ll develop faster and start to see great results.
This video shows New Zealand team Hammertron using their shape and balance control to provide multiple options to keep the disc moving;
Non-stop footage of Hex Offence in action from multiple teams;
Looking to implement some of these principles into your team? For drills and exercises, check out the felixultimate How to Train Hex series;
To work together with Hive Ultimate – collaborating with planning elements of your trainings & season, check out the higher tiers on Patreon! We can also look into running a Hex Clinic in your city, and provide video analysis for your team – emailwith your request.
Extra notes for players who are familiar with / trained in stack offences / fundamental guide for Coaches:
- 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 spaces 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