What Is Flag Spinning?

Did you know that only one in five Americans actually get enough exercise? There are many reasons why it is difficult to get cardio in, including lack of interest or other responsibilities.

Have you ever thought about trying flag spinning as a fun way to burn some calories and learn a new hobby? Here is a handy guide to everything you need to know about flag spinning, also known as color guard.

What is Color Guard?

Color guard is a mix of sports and arts, combining elements such as dance with various types of equipment. The most popular piece of equipment used for color guard is the flag. Color guards train to do shows on their own and with marching bands.

Color guards are most popular in high school, but you can also do the activity at any age. There are independent winter guards and drum corps, which are designed for older professionals to participate in the sport.

Color Guard Equipment

When you participate in color guard, you will train on a variety of different types of equipment. Usually, you can start out with a flag, and move up to weapons such as rifles and sabres once you gain more experience.

In a typical show, the color guard instructor teaches choreography for multiple types of equipment. Color guard members line their equipment up on the sidelines and around the field or floor for easy access during the show.


When you think of a color guard, you think of flag spinning. Flags come in many different materials, but the most common types of flag poles are made of fiberglass and metal.

For a typical show, the color guard will have multiple flags, which all have different silks. The silk of the flag is the cloth that attaches to the pole. They will coordinate the silks to fit with the theme of the show.

A standard flag pole is about six feet tall. This is so that all of the flags appear uniform when the color guard spins them in competition.

Sometimes color guards will use larger flags as props to make a bigger statement in the show. They can also learn to spin double swing flags, which is where you hold a shorter flag in each hand for a dramatic effect.


Don’t worry if you are hesitant about spinning rifles. These rifles are non-operational and made of wood. The wood is painted white and has a gold, silver, or black bolt to imitate the appearance of a real rifle.

If you spin a rifle, you should tape the ends and the middle of the rifle so that it does not sustain as much damage. Your color guard instructor may recommend placing a piece of black tape in the center of the rifle as a spotter. This way, you can see the rifle when you toss it into the air.

With rifles, you will learn more advanced choreography for both marching band and winter guard shows. The more you train, the higher you will be able to toss your rifle.


You may train on sabres once you learn how to work with rifles or do it simultaneously. How you operate a sabre is very similar to the rifle. You need to tape it at both ends to make sure it does not cut you.

With sabres, you learn two types of tosses. A hilt toss is a traditional toss where you catch it with both hands. A blade toss is more complicated, and you will catch this type of toss with one hand.

With both rifles and sabres, you should always wear special weapon gloves when operating them. These are padded finger gloves that you put onto your hands to protect them from injuries, blisters, cuts, and bruises.


If you do not spin a rifle, a sabre, or a flag, chances are your equipment falls into the prop category. Props are anything that the color guard uses to enhance the show experience even further.

You may spin the prop or do dance work with it during the show. It can also be a box or a set of stairs that you use to elevate yourself to do tricks as well.

Marching Band

In the fall season, the color guard will take to the field and do a field show with the marching band. These are usually between seven and ten minutes long, and center around a theme or musical arrangement.

For field shows, the color guard uniforms usually have to go with the theme of the show. Since autumn can be colder in many parts of the United States, they should also ensure that the color guard members stay warm and comfortable while they perform at night.

After high school, color guard and marching band members have the opportunity to join drum corps. These are independent companies that put on even longer and more complex shows.

Winter Guard

After marching band season is over, the color guard is still as active as ever to go into winter guard season. Winter guard is a sport that takes place primarily indoors.

Rather than a field, the setting is a floor or a portable tarp that color guards paint or tape to work with their show theme.

With winter guard, the color guard choreographer has a lot more flexibility in deciding the show theme, costumes, and choreography. Winter guards compete at the high school level, as well as the independent level for adults.

Try Flag Spinning Today

If you are looking for a new hobby, then you should look no further than color guard. With this handy guide, you can get started with flag spinning today.

Would you like to learn more about creative ways that you can stay healthy and fit? Check out our site for more tips and tricks on keeping yourself active on a new and fun way.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button