Referred to by some experienced Hex players as the drill they have done the most over the years, and some of the faster players’ favourite drill, the Hex Sprint Pattern focuses on an individual’s speed, agility, and stamina, and it can be done individually or in groups of 2-5.
With other players involved, the drill also trains synchronization between a thrower and catcher in a variety of short-quick-pass situations, an individual’s throw’n’go technique, and one long throw/sprint/catch per rep.
In this video we're going to go through the Hex Sprint Pattern, which is an exercise that can be run with 1-5 people. First I'll explain it in detail with moving illustration, then there's going to be some examples with the GB U23 2015 Mixed team training it. We'll take time to go through the pattern that you run, and then bringing a disc into the equation and how that works. At the end of this video there's an idea of how you can expand the drill - change the focuses to be more advanced and get the most out of it.
Hope you enjoy it and I'll see you again soon!
The Hex sprint pattern is primarily a fitness exercise, with some realistic hex frisbee thrown in there too. One player runs a pattern consisting of 12 yard sprints and 120 degree turns, finishing in a long sprint. If another player is present, they stand to the side with a disc, and on each corner they either fake or throw a pass to the runner. The key in this exercise is that the fakes are well timed and realistic, so the runner looks for the pass and then changes direction in sync with the thrower. Around 50% of the time the disc should be thrown, 50% faked. The long sprint at the end is always hit, and something we liked to add in was when the runner was tired at the end, they’d have to throw the disc back as accurately as possible - the thrower would give them a target to hit and that would basically be a measure of the success of that rep.
If you have a third player present, they can be a second thrower - keep one disc, but as well as faking or throwing to the running, the throwers can pass to each other, so the runner must keep track of where the disc is. Running 10 reps is a fairly good workout and you can have four or five people involved without the waiting times getting too long.
The pattern is going this way, then you either turn left or right, I'm going to turn left (turns right), ha, that was a right turn. Then turn right again, this is where it's hardest to remember, I turn (120 degrees) to the right so I go back the same route - actually the same so I'm running a full triangle - going straighter is what people do wrong a lot. Then when I hit this cone a second time I turn left (that IS left), and then I run the same thing again - left here, left here as well so you're actually turning a balanced number of times, and then you sprint out to the end. The last sprint is about 40m, it's about 100m to do the whole pattern.
Over summer I'd go out - if it was just me then I'd just run through that - I'd go through it 5 times in a row with a tiny breather in between, and then I'd have a five minute break until my heart calms down, then I'd run it five times again.
Now we're going to make it more frisbee-applicable. This thrower isn't necessarily throwing to each one of the cuts - they either throw or they fake realistically. When you're making your cut, you power out of the corner and then you get eyes with the thrower (who should be stood off from all the cones) and then they step out - they either throw it to you (if everything is totally fine about the throw and they want to throw it then they throw it), or more often than not they'll fake it. A nice believable fake, and that fake should trigger you to slow down, hit the cone, change direction, power out, look up and get eye contact with the thrower again, and then they're either going to throw it or fake it to you.
The key part of this drill is the connection and synchronisation between the thrower and the runner. As soon as the runner changes direction, they should get eye contact with the thrower and look like they want the disc. The more believable the cuts and fakes are, the more effective they will be at selling defenders. Each fake from the thrower should be well timed with the runner, and potentially be a throw right up until the moment of release, and each cut from the runner should look like it'll be thrown to, right up until the moment of the fake.
If you have more than 2-3 people in each group, you can experiment with having two runners as well as two throwers, though I'd recommend against having two discs involved, for safety reasons. It's also worth experimenting with changing where the throwers are, in order to mix up the angles involved. For the advanced, focus can be shifted to the runners throw'n'go technique, encouraging them to decelerate into their catches in order to accelerate out of their throws directly towards the next cone.
As well as practicing sprinting technique and change of direction technique, the Hex Sprint Pattern trains these things in the way you need them for ultimate - particularly for Hex Offence.