WDA Adjudication System

DrillMaster Ask DrillMaster, Drill Teams, Honor Guard, Instructional 3 Comments

‘We won with 13 million points! Second place had a score of 12,000.”

I pose this question to you all: In all of the military drill competitions across the USA, and probably into other countries as well, what do the scores mean? What do the point gaps mean?

I have an answer: The scores and point spreads mean nothing.

Then why have a competition? Just to find a “winner”? Or could there be a better reason for having a competition? Granted, competitions bring people together and that is a great thing: socialization, learning from each other, etc.

But is there more? I think the answer to that is a resounding “yes, there is more!” But what is that more? Let’s briefly explore the World Drill Association (WDA) Adjudication System.

The WDA judging system is quite complex and yet easy to use. One must study to be a judge, and every Driller and drill team should obtain a copy of the manual and read it thoroughly. And here is why.

  • There are four captions in the WDA system (overall effect, composition analysis, movement, and equipment) each of these captions has a sub caption (for the “what” and the “how” of the performance).
  • The scoring is on a scale of 100, much like the grading system in a school (A, B, C etc.)
  • Scores are grouped into ranges called “Boxes.”

The WDA Boxes

To see exactly what a score means, all one has to do is look at the back of the score sheet and also look in the WDA Manual. Here you will find a brief description of what a performance should look like in each score range. Boxes are also broken down into thirds to increase the accuracy of the scoring system.

  • Scores spreads in each caption and overall are based on tenths of a point and those point spreads have great significance.

WDA Point Spread Significance

 The WDA also employs a classification system for Drillers, teams and honor guards:

  • Novice- beginning
  • Junior- limited
  • A-Class- intermediate
  • Open- advanced
  • Ceremonial Class- for honor guard units

When judging, stay in caption! There is a There is a natural tendency to react to the overall effect of the performance. That’s why judges must be trained in their caption. Judges must concentrate on only their specific caption.

This judging system was designed by experts in visual adjudication in sister pageantry arts of the military drill world. I developed it for use in the military drill world.

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