Flexplanation

Flexagon Defence is the application of teamwork principles to 1-to-1 defence, specifically switching and surrounding where appropriate (not poaching). Defenders are trained and conditioned to switch marks when the offensive players are crossing over, to surround clusters and stacks of players, and to communicate and react as a team to subsequent offensive movement.

This page covers the basic principles and concepts for players and coaches to understand exactly what Flex is and how it can be played. Videos on how to train Flex are available for Training Tier patrons ($8).

To see how Flex fits into the current framework of defence in ultimate, check out the Spectrum of Defence series (or the free YouTube playlist version with adverts).

Basic Flex Principles

  • Communicate
    • eye contact
    • gesticulation
    • voice
  • Switch marks & surround the offence
    • punish offensive crossovers and clustering
    • be proactive, early, and pre-empt offensive movement
  • Cover all offensive players as a team
    • no poaching
    • no double coverage

Advanced Flex

A series of articles which dive deeper into the above principles of Flex Defence is available to $1 patrons, including:

  • Advanced Flex – Principles in Detail” – a detailed look at the principles of Flexagon Defence, including the new Flex Movement Decision Tree
  • “Advanced Flex Part I: Counter-Strategies” – how to apply Flex to Vertical, Horizontal, Side Stacks, and end zone offence
  • “Advanced Flex Part II: Communication” – including a lexicon of common words and phrases
  • “Advanced Flex Part III: The Stall 3 Game-Changer” – how temporal control can compliment the spatial advantages Flex gives the defence.

Flex Videos

Watch the full Flex D 33-minute video by pledging $1/mo on Patreon. Contains all 4 parts of the Flex Defence video series, plus key excerpts from 2 training videos. Part 4 “Communication” is only available to $1 patrons, and the full training videos (aimed at captains and coaches) are only available to $8 patrons.

Or, watch the first 3 parts only for free (with adverts) via this YouTube playlist.

What is Flex?” provides an overview of Flexagon Defence and where it fits into the spectrum of defensive strategies in ultimate, with animations and one video example.

Switching” looks at early vs late switching, the triggers you can look for on the field, reactive vs proactive, and pre-empting switches. Features 8 video examples and animations.

Surrounding” looks at how to reposition to cover a stack as a team, reacting to offensive movement, and using dynamic teamplay to cover options and restrict space – turning a disciplined stack into a disadvantage for the offence.

Communication” ($1 patrons) looks at how a team can open & use communication channels quickly and efficiently, including best practices and a standard lexicon for local and global adjustments. Constant field awareness and good communication lead to very rapid development of skills in all players and form the base for a team developing coordinated defence.

Identifying Offensive Mistakes

Noah’s series on Offensive Mistakes lays out the problem with the conventional “1-to-1, one-way force, open/break side” approach to defence, and looks at different mistakes which are commonly made on offense – how to avoid making them on offence, and how to exploit them on defence.

Three more videos – these look at defence through Felix’s eyes, as he spots the missed opportunities for defenders to regain an advantage on the offence, and looks at how unconventional defence caused the majority of turnovers in the Japan v USA 2016 Worlds Final.

USAU 2019 Final: 3 times greater teamwork on defence could’ve prevented goals (7:37)

WUGC2016: Japan v USA – Every turnover of the match analysed (7:37)

Felix loses it at Ring’s defence (4:48)

Flex Training Videos

New videos are released every month on the Training Tier of the Hive Ultimate Patreon. $8/month gets you access to these videos, plus our channels in Discord where coaches share their experiences coaching Flex.

Trent’s Drill – 25th April 2021 – trains basic surrounding skills and concepts including communication, repositioning, and tightening.

Pop Pass Surrounding Drill – 25th May 2021 – works on surrounding a cluster of offence and defending short throws.

Conical Switching Drill – 25th June 2021 – works on basic switching skills in a width-restricted throwing channel, similar to horizontal stack.

Tennis Drill – a game for 8 players which trains teamwork on defence.

Optional extended material

If you learn best in a classroom environment, check out this 2.5hr online presentation which Felix gave to a team who had decided to learn & implement Flex Defence from scratch – Team Defence Session – $25 tier.