Tall flags are used in team competitions for high school and collegiate high school drill teams and color guard performers. Different categories are judged, including high flags and short flags, with specific rules for each. The use of flags enhances team performance and is judged on how they are handled.
Tall flags refer to a category of team competition between high school and possibly collegiate high school, drill teams, and color guard performers. Tall flags also refer to the flags themselves, being the longest style of flags used for competition. During competitions, the different categories are usually included in the judging and include high flags, short flags, pom, novelty, show, and others. Similar to high school and college sports, practice squads and color guard teams compete in different divisions based primarily on school size.
The high flags portion of the competition has teams perform a routine using flags of a specific length and following specific competition guidelines. For example, a high flag routine may apply the following rules: the use of flags with poles longer than 3 1/2 feet (1.07 meters), the use of flags must account for at least 75% of the routine, and a routine must they last a minimum of two minutes and a maximum of three. While these are an example of a partial set of competition guidelines for a high flag category, different state championships may vary the rules.
The short flag competition also has similar rules, but requires the use of short flags, or flags shorter than the minimum length allotted for tall flags. There may also be other categories involving high flags depending on the scale of the competition. Various categories where color guards or drill squads perform with flags, sabers, and rifles are all judged differently based on the skills the squad is showcasing competitively. Lyrical flag contests, for example, are usually judged on choreography and movement rather than the use of flags, although flags are still used.
As for the general rules of competition involving drill team or color guard competition, they vary from division to division and state to state. High flags can be incorporated into the team’s routine by twirling, throwing, raising and lowering, as well as incorporating them into the performance itself. In competition, a team is judged on the way they handle their flags. For routine displays, short and tall flags alike enhance team performance by making them more visually appealing to their audience.