How to Plan Practices: The Drill Curriculum

Think every practice is for practicing formations? Wrong! If you get your formations right, then so what? Isn’t there this judging category called execution? Showmanship? Oh yeah…

When you’re planning practice, you have to leave room to practice everything–not just the formations part. And make sure you plan practices. Not five minutes before it starts, either. Plan ahead.

Planning is essential. At school, teachers have curriculums, and if you’ve noticed, the teachers that plan their year finish teaching whole curriculum and those not-so-great teachers will get to chapter two of your textbook. You want to finish the curriculum. This is the drill curriculum:

Formations:

These have to look as near to perfect as possible for maximum effect. Moves usually are influenced by formations; for instance, a kick formation likely has a line in it so people kick together. What if that line is more like a zigzag? Yuck… needs work.

Execution:

I would say this is one of the hardest things to do, especially when you’re tired. Those angles need to stay perfect, your toes have to stay pointed, and you have to trick your mind and make yourself not tired. But it’s not over yet. You have to keep going. Of course you can make a perfect T, but when you’re tired, that T looks more like a low V. Not good. Endurance is a part of execution also.

Showmanship:

You’re tired and you have to smile? That sucks. But it’s part of the art. Keeping that smile bright shows how happy you are and how much you love to dance. It shows the judges how dedicated you are, how much you love being on this team, and how badly you want to win. This is one way that you’re going to convince them that this team is best. Smile. It’s easy, isn’t it?

Entrance/Exit

So, in most states, you don’t get judged on this part of the routine. This means nothing. You get secretly judged and you should know this. These are the first and last impressions that you leave and they must be effective and energetic. Entering sloppily is an automatic impression that your team doesn’t want to win. Same with walking out sloppily. It shows how tired you are and incapable. Definitely not a good thing.

Posture:

Bad posture will make your judges wince. It’s hard to keep that back flat, but it’s only going to be for a few minutes. You need to have good posture to do well in competitions. It’s just part of the drill art.

This is currently the curriculum, which I may be adding to later.

Captains and coaches, this is your job. You’re teaching this team, and you want every student to complete the curriculum of your class. One of the hardest things about drill is the concept of teamwork–every individual member has to ace every part of this curriculum. These are all tests that they must pass. If one person doesn’t, the whole team suffers.

So, in order to successfully complete this curriculum, you need to be planning practices two weeks at a time. So for instance, on Monday from 2:30pm until 3:30 you will work on angles; then, you will have a short break and from 3:35 to 4 you will work on formations. Make these agendas specific, and stick with them. There is no use to making a schedule it you don’t use it. Make sure you plan practices and get things done. Incorporate every part of the drill curriculum to ensure that your performance goes well. Spend more time on areas that need improvement and less time on the areas that you’ve pretty much got down. Let team members know the agenda. They have a right to know everything. Leaders, don’t treat them like your minions. Just because you have a position means nothing about the level of your skills compared to theirs. I hated being treated like a “newbie”. Remember to not name your team members either. “First-year”, “new members”, “newbies”–these are all discouraging. It’s like a first-year member is automatically worse than a second-year one. Experience is important, but practice is more important. There are many “first-year” (I’m not a big fan of this term) members that are better than “third-years”. It’s all about how much each member practices.

Now it’s time to plan! Don’t wait. Do it now!

Comment and tell me how this works for you.

Remember to smile bright! )

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