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Colorguard Crazy
Flag Moves

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ATTEN-HUT:
 
Normal Position: This is for the hands: this should be easy. Your hands are just that, "normal." No inversing or reversing or what. Both thumbs up, right hand on top.
Inverse: This is when you grab the pole with your palm up and the pole should go between your thumb and forefinger.
Reverse: This is the opposite of the "normal position." Instead of thumbs up, thumbs should be down.
Attention: Both hands should be on the flag at normal position. Left hand should be covering the tip and placed level to the belly button. Right hand should be just underneath the silk and high enough so that your elbow is parallel to the ground. Do NOT drop your elbow!
Right Shoulder: Hold the flag at "normal position" but bring it to the right. This is like attention except you do not hold the cap with your left hand. Again, make sure you don't drop your elbow!
Right Slam: When you bring your flag down from right shoulder. The flag should make a 45 degree angle with the ground; silkd to the right. Left hand should be covering the tip and right hand should be as close to or on the bottom part of the silk. Choice of whether it is palm up or down.
Left Slam: The same thing as Right Slam but the silk is on the left side.
 
SPINS:
 
Drop Spins: {2 Counts} Start at right shoulder. Count 1: Let go of the flag with your left hand. Spin the flag counterclockwise with your right hand until the silk is down, pole is up. Catch, or grab, the flag with your left hand. It should be underneath your right, and the thumbs on both hands should be facind down. Count 2: Let go of the flag with your right hand. Continue the counter-clockwise circle until the silk is upright again. You may return your hands to the normal position.
 
Speed Spins: (2 counts in all actuality) I've also heard these referred to as "double time." Start at right shoulder. Count 1: This is the same as count 1 in the drop spins; so the silk should be down, pole up. Be sure you catch the flag with both thumbs down. Count 2: Continue like a drop spin, continuing the counter clockwise circle so that the silk is up. The difference is in the catch; your right hand should be inverted (palm up and on the left side of the pole; the pole should go inbetween the thumb and the forefinger). Left hand should be normal: thumb up. Count 3: Continue the clockwise circle with the right hand until the silk is up; catch with the left hand underneath the right. Both thumbs should be down. Count 4: Again, continue the counterclockwise circle until the silk is down. Catch with the right hand under the left and the hand should be inverted. The rest is hard to explain, because it just keeps going on like this. So basically, you start off with a drop spin and invert your right hand everytime you catch the flag. The hands "take turns" catching the flag so it should be left, right, left, right and so on and the right hand should be propelling the flag while the left just holds it in place. :) If this is still confusing, email me (click the "contact me" button) and I'll be happy to try to explain again.
 
Peggy Spins: (4 or 8 counts) These were named after the woman who founded them, Peggy Twigs. Okay, start at right shoulder or just with the flag in front of you, hands in normal position. Count 1: This is the same as count 1 in the drop spins; so the silk should be down, pole up. Be sure you catch the flag with both thumbs down. Count 2: Continue like a drop spin, continuing the counter clockwise circle so that the silk is up. The difference is in the catch; your right hand should be inverted (palm up and on the left side of the pole; the pole should go inbetween the thumb and the forefinger). Left hand should be normal: thumb up. Count 3: Let go of the flag with your left hand. With your right, make a complete counterclockwise circle until the silk is up again. Grab the flag with your left hand underneat the right; both thumbs should be facing down. Count 4: Let go of the flag with your right hand. With your left, spin the flat counterclockwise *halfway* until the silk is down and the pole is up. I think this might be a little confusing at first (it was to me for somereason) but if you do the same technique another four times, the flag will end up being upright. So it's sort of like a speed spin. :)
 
Reverse Spin: (1 count) This spin goes in the opposite direction of a drop spin. You start off with the right hand just underneath the silk, thumb down (so you should be grabbing the left side of the flag). This is called the reverse position. The left hand should be normal. This is a one-and count move. Let go of the flag with your left hand and with the right hand make a complete clockwise circle until the silk is up again. The hand should end up being in a funky position (thumb down) with your arm all twisted. On the "and" count you should grab the flag with your left hand (underneath the right) which will hold the flag so you can untwist your arm and return to the starting position (right hand reversed and left hand normal) and be able to do the next one at two!
 
Helicopter spin: (2, 4, counts) This has a cool effect especially if you toss it after a couple. Basically it is a speed spin but above your head and parallel to the ground! Try doing the speed spin in front of you and then changing the angle until it's above your head if it is too confusing to just start out above your head.
 
TOSSES:
Okay. So you want to toss, but the flag doesn't seem to be going anywhere? Well, let me tell you a trick on how to hold the flag (this is step one). Last year someone made this up to help people remember the hand positions a little easier. First, what helps me is if you grab the bottom part of the silk (not too high, though, or it will throw the balance off!), and then "taco." You know how you hold a taco? Making a little you? Well, that's how you should hold a flag-- in your fingertips, not your palm. I think I toss using the middle joints on my finger. Then, the number one problem that ALL beginners have: the wrist. It's all in the wrist! When you're tossing the flag, you should be TWISTING your wrist (counterclockwise) all the way until your palm is up again! This is not an option and will take some getting used to. I tell beginners that they need to twist their wrist just in the air for a few times until they get the hang of it, and then twist the wrist with the flag in hand-- but don't toss it. This is just for muscle memory. Then, when you catch the flag, most of the time it should be in normal position and make sure you catch with TWO hands. Do not get lazy and catch with one, especially in performance; it looks more uniform and you have a lesser chance to drop it no matter how confident you may be!
 
Regular single toss or half: This one was a little hard to get for one of my fellow guardies last year: You don't really need your wrist for this one! Start in right slam (right palm up, of course, and bring the left hand closer to the silk, palm down) and sort of push the flag up. You can easily push the flag up with an open palm, too, because the flag should make only one complete counter clockwise spin and return to it's starting position. The counts? Usually on one or one AND.
 
Regular one-and-a-half: You should start in right slam, same position as you started in for the half/single toss. What you do is push down with the left hand (not by much, this is just for balance and direction) and lift (and wrist twist!) with the right hand. Where the flag goes is all up to the release point. I don't have a set height for mine, but when I figure one out I'll come back and change this. Another problem beginners have is that: they're not extending their arm all the way up so they can release as high as possible. This is a VERY important concept, especially with rifles-- that helped me a lot when I was having problems! Also, if your flag is getting tossed to the left or right, you're "rainbowing." Another problem with your release point! Make sure you release above your head, and not to the left or right.
 
Regular two spin: Honestly, I couldn't do this until I weighted my flag, so if it's not weighted you might have one helluva time getting it up there and getting enough revolutions. Otherwise, this is just added push, wrist twisting, and higher release point than the one and a half.
 
Left handed toss: My instructor has us doing that a lot in this year's WG show. Instead of starting at left slam, try starting with the silk down, pole up and vertical (parallel to the body). The left hand should be inverted so it catched on the right side of the pole, palm up, flag pole inbetween the thumb and forefinger. Right hand is in normal position. Next, beging a clockwise spin with your left hand and twist your wrist. The right hand should be guiding it a little so it doesn't go all over the place. Basically, it's like a right handed toss except... with the left. It's a little difficult to get the hang of but keep trying. It's a neat looking toss and you can do a reverse spin to prep and get your momentum going. As for catching it? We give the toss a lot of air and catch it silk up. I think it's just a one and a half.
 
Speed Spin Toss: If you want to prep for this one, do a couple speed spins before you actually toss-- so, one, two, three, four--toss! Start off doing a speed spin, but on count 2 (or 4) when you catch the flag with your right hand inverted, toss it instead of spinning it again! This is a little difficult to get the hang of, but it's the same as tossing the flag in right slam with your palm up-- except the silk is on the opposite side and you might be pushing more with the area between your thumb and forefinger than your fingertips.
 
Reverse Spin Toss: This is like the speed spin toss, except you do it with a reverse spin. So when you catch the flag with your left hand inverted, toss instead of spinning again. This is a lot like the left handed toss.
 
Strip Toss: This is my favorite toss. It has a very cool effect. Strip the flag to about the middle when you first start; I always strip the flag completely. When you do that, however, you have to adjust for balance. Then, in right slam, toss the flag just like you regularly would. This might be a little more difficult at first because there's more pole on the other side which throws off your balance and you might hit the ground with the tip. Just be sure you lift a little higher to keep from hitting the ground!
 
Horizontal: Also referred to as parallel or lateral. Start off with the flag behind you, parallel to the ground, and kind of resting on your tail bone. The silk should be to the right.Your right hand should be on the right side of your body grabbing the silk or just beneath it, palm facing forward and thumb to the right. The left hand should be on the left should be on the left side of the body, palm facing backwards and thumb to the right. Make sure the flag does not slant to either side but stays parallel! This might throw off your toss. First you might want to start with a prep (everytime we do this toss, we also "prep"). Count 1: Spin the flag around your body, propelling it with your right hand, until it is in front of you and the silk is to the left. Keep the flag close to your body! Catch the flag with your left hand (palm backwards, thumb to the right). I catch to the left side of my right hand, but some people catch to the right side of their left hand. The latter might be easier for beginners. :) Count 2: Let go of the flag with your right hand. With the left, again spin the flag around your body until you're at the start position again except your left hand might be close to the silk now. Coutn 3: This, of course, is the most difficult part. ;) With the right hand, spin the flag in a counter clockwise circle while lifting it above your head (this spin should also include twisting your wrist!) and keeping the flag PARALLEL. If it isn't, either the toss won't look right or it might hit your head! When you let go of the flag, if you're having problems getting it "up there" try one last push upwards when you release. This is how I do it: by the time you're about to release, your palm should be facing downwards or to the left side. Try flicking the wrist upwards. Another way to increase elevation is a faster spin for more momentum when you toss. You should catch it parallel to the ground and in front of you, silk can be on either side. One way for beginners to try tossing it is by bringing your left hand up so you toss it with both hands; the left hand can help push it up. Or you can do a helicopter spin and then toss it the same way--with both hands. That way you can brave yourself up for the "real thing."
 
You can add a toss anywhere... reverse your hand or keep it normal. They aren't limited at all. Try experimenting and see what you come up with. :) One "dangerous" thing I'm doing in this year's WG show is doing a strip toss, getting it as high as possible, and spinning around underneath it. It's kind of dizzying, but one tip I've heard is to just imaging the flag spinning as you turn around. Takes a lot of practice but it's neat to see!
 
OTHERS:
 
Windmill: (3 counts) I've seen this also referred to as swing out and I'm just adding it because a lot of other people's explanations were confusing! Start at attention. Count 1:  Let go of the flag with your left hand. Make a wide counterclockwise circle with your right hand, so it looks like you're making an arc. The silk should be up and you should end up with it a little to the right and your arm fully extended. This is where they get the "swing out" because it's just like pushing the flag out to the right. Count 2: This is a little more difficult to explain. Spin the flag counterclockwise, but the silk should end up going behind your head and the pole should stay in front. Silk should be down. Count 3: Continue this circle by bringing the silk back in front of you and up. Your hand might go a little "funky" so loosen it up and don't give the pole a death grip. Also make sure the POLE never goes behind you! It should stay in front. If you want to do it to the left, start off with the left hand and do the same counts except... well, to the left side. :)
 
Backwards Windmill: (2 counts) Start off at right shoulder. Count 1: With your right hand, make a clockwise circle and bring the silk behind you and keep the pole in front. Complete the circle until you end up at the same position at the end of count one in the windmill: silk up and out to the right. Right hand should be just underneath the silk and thumb up. Count 2: Now continue the clockwise spin until the silk is up again, just like count 1 in the windmill except backwards! Make sure you don't cute your angles, Count 2 should be a smooth "beautiful" move. This can also be done with the left hand.
 
Backscratch: (2 counts) Start with your flag in front of you vertically, silk up, hands in normal position. Count 1: Kind of lift the flag up vertically and begin a counterclockwise spin, bringing the silk behind your head. Count 2: Keep the pole in FRONT of you as you continue this circle and bring the silk back to the front and up. This should be a return to the beginning position.
 
Neckroll: (3 counts) Start off at right shoulder, except with only the right hand. Count 1: Make a wide clockwise circle. The target is for the flag to end up, silk up, on the left side of your neck. Bend down so it is easier! Count 2: Release the flag with your right hand. The flag should roll over your neck. If it isn't getting all the way around, adjust your release farther to the right behind your neck. Count 3: Catch the flag with your left hand. The silk should be on the left side and the flag might be more like a forty five degree angle. This one takes a little work to get right!
 
Butterfly: (8 counts) This is VERY difficult to explain, but I'll try. Start off at right shoulder. Count 1: Turning your upper body to the left and with both hands, spin the flag counterclockwise until the silk is down and the flag is out to the left side of your body. Both thumbs should be down. Count 2: Complete the counterclockwise circle by bringing the silk behind you until the silk is up. Both thumbs should be up. Count 3: Bring the silk in front, making the flag do another counterclockwise circle. Silk is down or tilted to the right a bit and flag is in the center of your body. Count 4: Finish this circle infront of you until the silk is up again; both thumbs should be up also. This should be your starting position. Count 5: Swing out like you're doing a windmill but with both hands except stop when the silk is down. Count 6: This is like count 1 on a windmill, except with both hands. Silk is up, both thumbs are up. Count 7: This is the most difficult part for people to understand. I had problems myself, but it was mainly because the pole was going in the back and it shouldn't! Now bend your upper body to the right, making another counterclockwise circle except the silk goes behind you and the pole stays in FRONT! Silk down. Count 8: Bring the flag back to the front by completing the counterclockwise circle. You should return to normal position. Make sure you don't cut the curve and angle bringing the flag back to the front or else it won't have a pretty effect. This can also be done backwards but it's a little more difficult to get used to.
 
Carves: (2 counts) Also referred to as figure eights. Start with the silk facing down and your left hand inverted. Both thumbs should be facing down. Count 1: Act like you're drawing a clockwise circle on the ground. Count 2: When you finish the circle, lift the flag up until the silk is facing upwards and act like you're drawing a counterclockwise circle in the air abover your head. Then bring it down to repeat step one. If you do this after a couple times, it kind of resembles an hourglass if you need help invisioning.

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