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Color Guard Vocabulary

Updated on December 25, 2012

Color Guard Vocabulary

Here I will teach you the main color guard vocabulary used by coaches and performers everywhere. Refer to this page whenever you do not understand a word or phrase that I used in a tutorial. If there is a term on a tutorial that is not explained here, leave a comment and I will fix it and make it clearer.

Flag parts
Flag parts

Vocab terms & meanings

Foot positions: how to set your feet

1st position: heels together, toes facing out

2nd position: heels shoulder length apart, toes facing out

*There are more positions, but these aren't commonly used in color guard. If I get any requests, I can add them for reference.

Flag positions: how to set up your flag at certain checkpoints during work

Right shoulder: flag straight up and down, flag in the middle of your body, right hand at tab, left hand at butt and in front of belly button

Left shoulder: flag straight up and down, left hand at tab, flag in the middle of your body, right hand at butt and in front of belly button

Right slam: flag crosses body at 45 degree angle, right hand at tab near hip, left hand at bottom cheater near shoulder

Left slam: flag crosses body at 45 degree angle, left hand at tab near hip, right hand at bottom cheater near shoulder

Flagwork: what to do with your flag

Checkpoints: certain positions that the flag has to be at a certain count, the way that a color guard stays together during work, says that the flag should be in X position at the Yth count

Drop spin: a basic exercise where the flag moves up and down in a circular motion

Carve/Cone: a basic exercise where the flag makes a sort of figure 8 in the air

Flourish: a basic exercise where the flag first spins in front of you, then behind you

Pull hit/Crackerjack/Flick: a semi-basic exercise where the flag starts out facing down, then you quickly spin it around a full revolution and catch it in the same position

Thumb flip: a simple rotation of the flag at the tab around the thumb

J-toss: the simplest of the tosses, grab with a money hand and pull up and out, letting the flag spin around in the air

Single: another simple toss, starts at right shoulder, spins in the air once, then catch at right shoulder

Double: a difficult toss, same as a single except spins in the air twice

Horizontal toss: a moderately difficult toss where you throw the flag up so that it spins above your head in a horizontal circle

45 toss: probably the hardest toss that can still be considered basic, similar to a horizontal toss, but it spins in a 45 degree plane instead of a horizontal one

Sail: when the silk of the flag gets caught on the tip, usually caused by sudden direction changes, SAIL=BAD

Money hand: a way to grab the flag, hand straight out, palm upwards, pole between thumb and pointer finger

Free hand: the hand not used during that particular work

Choreography: staging and dancing

Bolt: the weight that goes into the tip and/or butt of the flag in order to spin more easily

Dinosaur arm: a free hand that remains up at the chest instead of at the side, DINOSAUR ARM=BAD

Rifle: a piece of equipment that looks like a, well, rifle. Rifle work usually looks very clean because of how it's designed.

Sabre: a piece of equipment that looks like a sword, very light and easy to toss

Air blade: a fairly new prop introduced that combines the clean-ness of a rifle with the lightness of a sabre

Winter guard: a color guard that performs to recorded music

Buy your color guard gear here!


Some helpful links for your guard career.

If you have any other suggestions for color guard-related vocab words, leave me a comment and I'll do my best to include it.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Interesting article! Scratch Funds is a unique Marching Arts scratchcard fundraiser geared specifically for color guard, percussion, and bands to raise money for equipment like flags and percussion, and other expenses.

      The website is: