Ultimate in Motion: A view of the game through a non-traditional lens

This is a foreword written by Felix for the book Ultimate in Motion: Balance & Dynamism by Florian and Marie Gailliegue, with added illustrations. The book is offered to patrons joining the Swarm Tier (alongside a free Hive disc), or is available for purchase directly.

Florian and I first had contact in 2016 when he left a comment on the Hexagon Offence documentation; “The more I look into it, the more attracted I am to this offense.” I could relate to the feeling, but I couldn’t imagine that just a few years later I would be reading a book of his creation which goes far above and beyond that original content.

Florian offered to translate the documentation into French so it could be shared further. From that point on, we communicated regularly – including meeting up in Paris to discuss our thoughts about how the sport of ultimate might evolve in the future. Bouncing ideas around with another creative thinker with a great passion for ultimate is very enjoyable – Florian’s added experience with other sports, combined with his sharp intelligence, gives him unique insight and perspective, which means his ideas will pique the interest of all ultimate coaches and ambitious players of the sport!

A little history about the sport: ultimate started in Colombia High School in New Jersey, USA, in 1968. The first thing most people notice about the sport is its dramatic name – a question most players have been asked many times is “What makes a frisbee an ultimate frisbee?”. Incidentally, some sports names like American Football aren’t questioned enough – shouldn’t we be calling it “Handegg”?

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Ultimate In Kuwait

The following article was written by Lujain Almulla, captain of team Pampered Cats and head of women’s ultimate in the newly formed Kuwait Flying Disc Federation. Lujain discusses the recent grass-roots development of the sport in Kuwait, as well as some of the unique challenges they face trying to grow ultimate as a mixed gender sport in a country hostile to mixed gender activities.

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Travis Norsen’s Games with Modifications / Conditions

In this patron-only training article, Travis explains the two different types of game modifications or constrictions which can be applied during scrimmages, which he prefers, and provides a number of examples of modifications he has found to work well with a youth team training hex-style. Training Tier patrons can view the article here.

Reflections on My First Season

The following article is a reflection written by hiveultimate patron Travis Norsen after his first season coaching his local high school ultimate team.  Norsen is a long-time ultimate player who also had considerable prior coaching experience, but in football/soccer, where he has been influenced by, championed, and even written a book – Play With Your Brain – for youth players about the philosophy/style developed and implemented especially by Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola at Barcelona.  Despite only stumbling onto hive ultimate around the beginning of his season, Norsen’s approach was heavily influenced by some of the same ideas (from the football world) that influenced Felix, so we thought his experiences would be of considerable interest to anybody interested in Hex and Flex, and get some interesting discussions going. Travis has also authored two training pieces: the Diamond Throwing Exercise and Keepaway.

As a football (or, as we Americans call it, soccer) player and fan for most of my life, I was delighted to volunteer to start coaching my kids, about a decade ago, when they became old enough to play and showed some interest in the sport.  We had a good time and my kids both grew increasingly serious about the sport over the years.  Coaching them also fanned the flames of my own passion:  I started playing more; following professional football more closely; and reading books about football tactics, the history of the game, coaches and coaching, etc.  I even wrote a book, aimed at young teen/preteen soccer players, attempting to explain in an accessible and compelling way some of the basic principles of the Cruyff/Guardiola philosophy that had significantly inspired my own playing and coaching.  

But in the last year or two, my kids aged out of (and got too good for!) the local teams where I was able to coach them, and I jumped at the opportunity to redirect my love of coaching to the other sport I have played obsessively across the decades:  ultimate frisbee.  I had helped out with the middle school ultimate team that my kids played on (when they could squeeze it in between soccer practices) a few years ago, and then last year I joined the local high school girls ultimate team as an assistant JV coach about halfway through the season.  But this spring I agreed to be the head coach for the whole girls high school program.

What follows is my attempt to summarize the season:  what I did and why, how it went, what I learned from it, and finally how it all relates to Hex and Flex.

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Yina Cartagena talks BENT, Revo Pro and Becoming a World Class Player

Este artículo también está disponible en español

Yina Cartagena has been a stalwart member of Revolution Ultimate for over a decade. She has been a part of a Revolution side that have won the 11 consecutive national titles, the US Open in 2017, and the inaugural PUL championship in 2019. She has also represented Colombia numerous times, being a key part of Colombia’s strong 2017 World Games team, and lead in stats by far in the Colombian Women’s team that reached the 2016 WUGC final.

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NHexGen – We catch up with Valerio Iani as he brings Hex to Italy

Nestled in the hills of Rome, a new approach is exercised in a mission to challenge CUSB.

You might remember Valerio from his Ultiworld article that argues for revolutionising your training habits and introducing hex philosophy to your team. Before a recent move to Italy, Valerio coached OAK, a team for Middle and High School Boys in Oakland, California – placing 10th at YCCs in 2019. I caught up with him and asked him about the recent camp dubbed NHexGen.

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Organic Ultimate Strategy

Conventional thought on ultimate strategy views the team as a mechanical system – a machine with the players as the moving parts. Teams strive for a highly disciplined style of play, reducing the number of variables as much as possible and applying the theoretically optimal tactics to achieve a simple, predictable system.

This view, however, is limiting. Treating ultimate as a mechanical system allows for a high degree of control but misses the opportunity to explore naturally occurring, organic, styles of play which may be just as effective, if not more so, than conventional strategies.

Here I will argue in favour of an ecological approach to ultimate strategy, analysing the shortcomings of mechanical systems and the advantages of organic play styles.