Stiff Flags at Competitions

What would you guys recommend a team do when there are stiff flags at a competition? Recently we had very stiff flags at our recent competition that several teams would hit in the center and they wouldn’t move at all. Is this a common problem and is there any easy way to fix it?

There is no easy way to legally fix it besides use. As a shooter bot, you could make your shooter stronger. You could also mechanically increase the torque exerted on the flag by hitting it at an angle and at the outer edge of the flag. The latter is easier to implement, unless you have some computer targeting software that requires you to be perpendicular to the flag.

At one competition, our team lost a match (that they should have easily won) due to a stiff flag. Between our team and our alliance partner, they wasted no less than four shots trying to turn the flag. I advised them for future matches to note which flags are stiff on each field and not to waste any time trying to shoot those flags. Successfully shooting the flags you know you can get is much better than wasting time on flags you can’t.

Our practice field we have at our school has been in constant use, so our flags turn very easily. When we go to tournaments we do have a harder time toggling flags. We haven’t had any problems with flags that won’t toggle at all. The only real solutions I can think of are what @Got a Screw Loose suggested.

At a competition my team went to two weekends ago, the flag poles had some adhesive residue left over from the packaging they came in. A team complained about it and they cleaned the poles for us before the game could continue.

Identify the flags that are worth getting.

We’ve had some issues with some incredibly stiff flags and it was the difference in one of my teams winning the tournament.

Yup, we were right there with you!

This is why it helps to have match scouts. They can watch to see which flags don’t turn, and can tell the drivers.

Sadly, I’m on a one person team so I can’t do that.

We’ve lost a match or two to stiff flags as well. And we have a very powerful launcher…
Now, I check each and every flag on our field right before the match. If one doesn’t move or is stiff, I tell the driver to completely ignore it.

Do you have larger sister teams you can recruit to help you scout? Both teams would get the advantage of knowing which flags are stiff. And it’s a point in the metaphorical teamwork category.

I’m a private team so I don’t have any sister teams, but it doesn’t really matter that much because my catapult can usually toggle sticky flags if I use one ball.

If you wanted, I’m sure you could also partner with other teams to see if they can tell you which flags are easiest to turn.

would getting permission from whoever’s running the event to go and loosen up the flags by toggling them back and forth for a while be a viable fix?

ABSOLUTELY NOT! We had a pair of teams try that and damaged the detents by slapping them back and forth repeatedly and forcibly. There was discussion about removing both teams from the event.

To be clear, there was an issue with one set of flags in which the poles and flags were considerably difficult to move compared to most others. However, that does not grant permission modify the poles in any way that would make it easier for those teams vs those who competed with the preexisting situation. Leave the field alone, if it is difficult for you, it is difficult for all at that event.

The end result was not to remove the teams. We did replace the flags and poles with a set from the practice field. Teams up to that point really had not tried to toggle flags on that field for skills.

Again, NO, do not try to “fix” fields. Bring it to the attention of the EP and they will try to make it right. If not it is a pre-existing situation that impacts all teams in the same manner.

makes sense. thanks for the answer.

I felt bad for the teams - they really wanted to do their best … however, in this case it did damage the flag group… but we did realize that there was an issue and tried to make a better solution that “loosening up” …

As EPs we try to “get it”, and balance out to everyones needs … if that is possible.

My advice - talk to the EP when you find problems and problem solve together …

For EPs, listen to the teams concern - it is probably shared by other teams and needs to be addressed by including teams in figuring out an equitable solution for all.,

as an EP, are you legally allowed to label the flags that are more difficult to turn, saving teams the struggle of trying to find easier turning flags?

Wish there were a quantitative metric, but right now it seems qualitative …

The only guidance so far with regards to marking of flags is the detents, you can mark on the pole, not inside the detent, the peaks for easier/quicker scoring… ie “neutral”

alright thanks