The hood needs more support at the top. As it is right now it looks like the ball is pushing it back, then the hood springs forward and pushes the ball downwards as it exits the flywheel.
This has been said a lot, but the hood shouldn’t really be flexing that much. You’re losing energy in the hood when it moves around that much. Maybe just adding supports will help
I think that some sort of non-shattering plastic works better than the metal sheets, because they are flexible so when you bend them they create a nice curve, and will return back to the original curve. It’s really hard to bend a piece of metal gradually, and once it’s bent out of shape, its very difficult to get back to the way you liked it before. Personally, our team uses ABS from robosource instead of lexan because it is cheaper, slightly easier to cut, and less prone to scratches after long usage. If you do purchase this, make sure to buy an 11/64" drill bit so that you can drill holes in the ABS which fit the #8-32 vex screws (and axles).
Also, as others have said make sure that the entire hood from start to finish is held with a rigid support to maintain consistent compression on the ball. I suggest you take a look at some robots from Nothing But Net, and pay attention to how they have supported their hoods.
Note: ABS is on the list of allowed plastics if you look in the game manual.
(page 36 in the game manual)
Drilling works the best but if you are in a rush you can use a hole puncher. The hole is just a tiny bit smaller than the screw head, so make sure you put a washer on the screw before you put in through the hole.
I collected a bunch of videos for you. These should all help you a little bit:
Our team tried some of these options, and it helped a little bit, but the motors keep dying and it still won’t shoot it very far.